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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 26, 2015
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    Question Best way to get horse fit w/ out rider/Training system? Side reins? Long-lining? etc.

    I just purchased a new horse whom has had approx. 60-65 rides. Shes been started very lightly w/t/c and small jumps. My plan is to focus, primarily, on dressage work, with some small gymnastics, poles, grids, etc. mixed in, every so often.

    However, IMO, she really needs to learn to balance and carry herself riderless, first, for a week or two. This way she can get fit enough to be able to properly start using her hind end, bending and doing lateral work.

    Unfortunately, we are located in Indiana, at a stable with NO hills, at all! Therefore, hill work is out of the question. (Though, I do still plan on gently hacking her out, to get her muscles used to varied terrain.) Anyway, This leaves me wondering what kind of ring work exercises I can do with her to get her fit for this.

    In the past I've just lunged horses in side reins and surcingle. I keep seeing these things in catalogues, tack shops etc.:

    -Pessoa training system. (Never used one but seems pretty cool)

    -Vienna Lunge Reins (Again, never used but the description seems to be what I'm aiming for, in her groundwork.)

    -Long-Lining/Ground Driving (Never done this, either. However, would be willing to learn if anyone seems to think this would be beneficial. I've always thought that was more for horses who've never been ridden or backed? )

    -Lunging in side reins (Something I HAVE always done, and have seen marked improvement, in out of shape horses, once under saddle. Just wondering if any of the above would be better or would produce good results, in conjunction to any of the above.)

    Any suggestions, advice, etc. on the above (or other things I haven't listed here) will be much appreciated! Thanks!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2011
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    180

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    I can't speak to the different training tools as I've only really used them on horses that were also undersaddle regularly. The only other ones I can think of that you might be interested in would be a chambon or an Equiband set - both of which are also usable once she's being ridden most of the time.

    I suspect that the specific gadget doesn't matter so much as long as you ask her for a lot of transitions; I think that sometimes with the young horses it's less important to teach them exactly where to put themselves vs. just letting them relax into working & start building economy of movement. I would definitely hack out at least 2-3 times a week as well so she starts building more muscle without putting too much strain on areas that she hasn't been using.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2004
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    I use vienna reins instead of standard side reins simply because they're a bit more self-correcting for my mare if she tries to hang on them.

    For the actual work... transitions, appropriately sized spirals in and out for her level of fitness, poles etc all work wonders.
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


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  4. #4
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    Feb. 26, 2015
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    [QUOTE=RockstarPony;8063179]I can't speak to the different training tools as I've only really used them on horses that were also undersaddle regularly. The only other ones I can think of that you might be interested in would be a chambon or an Equiband set - both of which are also usable once she's being ridden most of the time.

    Rockstarpony,

    I was reading about the Chambon. However, I thought that that gadget could only be used while riding, and not while lunging, too?
    Also, I've never used one. Are they easy to figure out? I have really soft hands, and though, I am experienced and have worked with greenies, I still don't trust myself using draw reins. Is there not as much of a risk of using them improperly with a Chambon, like there is with draw reins?



  5. #5
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    Feb. 26, 2015
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    46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ibex View Post
    I use vienna reins instead of standard side reins simply because they're a bit more self-correcting for my mare if she tries to hang on them.

    For the actual work... transitions, appropriately sized spirals in and out for her level of fitness, poles etc all work wonders.
    Ibex,

    Can Vienna reins be used both in the saddle and while lunging?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Boston Area
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    8,684

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    Learn to long line. Great way to start lateral work, establish a good, working connection. Absolutely not just for horses just started under saddle. You can do SO much work in hand!
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


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  7. #7
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    Apr. 8, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lunatuna View Post
    Ibex,

    Can Vienna reins be used both in the saddle and while lunging?
    I wouldn't - I can see where they'd be easy to get tangled in, and there's no way to quickly release them. They're essentially draw reins, with the key different that while lunging the ends are (obviously) fixed instead of being at the mercy of the rider's hands. If you adjust them correctly they remind the horse to move into a gentle contact, but they can't lean, and it doesn't lock them up the way a standard side rein does. I run mine from the wither loop on a surcingle, through the bit, and back to the girth at the bottom of the saddle pad as opposed to between the front legs.

    Think this: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...d7cadd0db1.jpg
    NOT this: http://www.compassionatehorsetrainin...ur-364x210.png

    If they're too short it kills the point....

    Closest thing under saddle without going to draw reins would be a german martingale.
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2011
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    this is a very nice video, (sorry its german but I think you can see whats important) which shows different ways to train a horse on the lunge for overall strenghtening
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFiRwfz6ATo


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  9. #9
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    Dec. 10, 2011
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    Rockstarpony,

    I was reading about the Chambon. However, I thought that that gadget could only be used while riding, and not while lunging, too?
    Also, I've never used one. Are they easy to figure out? I have really soft hands, and though, I am experienced and have worked with greenies, I still don't trust myself using draw reins. Is there not as much of a risk of using them improperly with a Chambon, like there is with draw reins?
    You can definitely use them for lunging! There's a loop that goes around either the girth or the surcingle. You might need a diagram or something the first few times, but they're pretty simple to use. I like them because they ask the horse to lower the poll without bringing their nose in, so you don't really risk teaching them to hollow like with too-tight draw reins etc. There's also no rider influence on them, which can be good or bad - you can't really change the setting once you're in the saddle, but you also don't run the risk of tightening it too much when you don't have a person on the ground. That's something that always makes me a little bit nervous with draw reins so I personally appreciate that they're just set-and-done.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2013
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    None of the above. I would use in hand work. You stand at the horse's shoulder, hold the reins as you would if in the saddle, and can do many different exercises at the walk and build up some serious topline while teaching the horse to stretch into inviting contact. Just as when in the saddle, your shoulder direction controls the front legs and your hips down control the back end. It's really cool to turn your torso while standing next to the horse and achieving shoulder-fore.



  11. #11
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    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Boston Area
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbchick84 View Post
    None of the above. I would use in hand work. You stand at the horse's shoulder, hold the reins as you would if in the saddle, and can do many different exercises at the walk and build up some serious topline while teaching the horse to stretch into inviting contact. Just as when in the saddle, your shoulder direction controls the front legs and your hips down control the back end. It's really cool to turn your torso while standing next to the horse and achieving shoulder-fore.
    I see this as an extension of long-lining and agree. When I was pregnant I did a lot of long lining and work-in-hand. The hardest part is finding someone who teaches it.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2014
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    Sunshine State. Down Under.
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    In Australia the only thing you are allowed to lunge in at an official dressage competition is side reins.

    I have only used a chambon during lunging.
    It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.



  13. #13
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    Apr. 27, 2008
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    Straightness Training. I am so excited about this program!

    If you'd like to follow along, I'm posting our progress on my horse's blog.
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden



  14. #14
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    Jan. 6, 2008
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    Love the Pessoa set up but it is a hassle to store and manage. Otherwise, I am a big proponent of the vienna reins! And in conjunction with these aides, you really need to focus on what you are doing at the end of the lunge line - standing, facing, and focusing on hind end activation and using the whip to assist with that... and there is much more... of course. I love search the internet and youtube for ideas, so I would start moseying around those venues.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2014
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    Ohio
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    The equipment is not what will get the horse fit. The movement will. My suggestion, as a trainer that specialized in reclaiming problem horses, is to stick with what you know. My advice is based on years of observations of the actions of people that caused their horses to become problems, and subsequently to be sent to me for retraining.

    If you don't know how to do something, don't.

    If you don't know how to use a piece of equipment, or why you are using it, don't.

    You know how to longe, and you know how to use side-reins. Use them. That is all the vast majority of horses needs anyway. Those other specialized tools are for special horses (except the pessoa system which IMO should be burned) so unless you have a special horse, AND you know how to use the equipment, don't.

    Longe her in good balance with lots of transitions and she will be ready to ride in no time.


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  16. #16
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    Aug. 25, 2005
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    Usually hacking out, especially without hills doesn't require a lot of fitness, and just the uneven ground with a well balanced rider will help her balance.

    Fitness is a matter or progression of time and difficulty. Since you are starting with a basically green horse, getting it rideable in the educated sense is enough fitting out work.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  17. #17
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    Jun. 1, 2002
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    The best gadget ive ever used is called a HO lunging aid, it goes from the bit, between the frong legs, and knots behind the withers. Amazingly simple but produces amazing lasting results where the horse works long and low and over the back.

    However, i will add that i am also in central indiana and im only an hour away from extensive hills.



  18. #18
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    Feb. 26, 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogie View Post
    I see this as an extension of long-lining and agree. When I was pregnant I did a lot of long lining and work-in-hand. The hardest part is finding someone who teaches it.
    Exactly!! I'm having a hard enough time finding a trainer (that I don't have to haul in to...which I can, but would rather not, every week!), in general, let alone one who knows how to long line!

    Lots of different opinions, here. To no.stirrups, point I think I will stick w/ the lunging in side reins, for now. In the mean time, I will explore the other options and try to educate myself the best I can.

    Enjoytheride, would you mind if I PM you?? Hoosier to hoosier. I'm very new to the horse scene here and could use some advice on places to school, trainer recommendations, etc.



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