I'm new to long line/ground driving work and have a couple of questions about rein position/attachement. As and FYI, I am currently working with a qualified instructor be begin learning the basics but in doing additional research I've seen several different approaches and I'm curious as what others here prefer to use in their training programs.
Listed below are a couple of variations that I've come across--can anyone share pros or cons or theories why each is used?
1. Horse in surcingle with lines coming from bit through mid-height rings to hands (one rein on each side of the horse).
2. Horse in saddle (no surcingle) with lines from bit through dropped stirrups to hands (one rein on each side of the horse).
3. Horse in saddle that has a grab strap attached to pommel with both reins passing through a ring on the grap strap and coming to the hands (one rein passing over the saddle seat). This seems to be more double line lounging than driving to me but I'm not sure.
IMO the only difference between "double longeing" and ground driving is that in double longeing, the horse is going in a circle and does not have to think as much about where he is going. In driving, the horse goes on ahead of the handler and has to take some responsibility.
I "double longe" or ground drive with a surcingle. That's what they are made for.
On the occassions I have run lines through stirrups, whether western or english, I've found #1 the reins are too low unless you run your english stirrups up the leathers and fasten them there somehow and #2 the weight of the stirrups interfere with the feel of the reins.
Your option #3 is doable for ground driving without much change of direction, however, if you change direction while double longeing, you will be catching the reins on the saddle (or under it). And if you are doing anything like figure eights or serpentines this is going to be a hassle and in the worse case scenario could cause loss of control and a wreck.
"Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it."
There are many ways of long reining.
When I am mouthing I walk behind, when I am schooling I walk beside with reins set higher and over the back.
What I see with having the rein coming behind the bottom and being beside them is that the outside rein tends to grab the mouth with the movement of the hind leg.
I don't long rein from a saddle as there is no support for the rein so not a consistant contact.
Horses are for enjoying, so enjoy.
We are at the very beginning and our work right now is focused on a.) me being able to keep constant light contact with two reins (vs. one) and b.) horse accepting the double rein contact with no leg to back it up. Slow and steady at this point. I'm finding that using the sursingle over the saddle (I ride after) is effective at this stage.