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  1. #1
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    Default Lunging from the top ring of a cavesson vs. under the chin

    I am reading a book on traditional in-hand work (like in the Spanish Riding School). The author emphasizes the importance of using a proper lunging cavesson with a center ring.

    I get why you want a cavesson over a halter: because it won't slide around on the head.

    I get when you use the side rings: to lunge a young horse who doesn't yet know how to change directions.

    I get when you use the center ring: to lunge a trained horse who does know how to change directions.

    Here's my question: Coming from an NH background, we circle our horses with the leadrope attached to the loop at the BOTTOM of the halter. Why is the top ring position better for the horse than the bottom loop position? Is it to help put the nose on the vertical?
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden



  2. #2
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    Its to put steady pressure on the nose without hauling the head to the side (if you used the side rings) so the horse learns to bend, but stay straight with his shoulders. There is alot of subtle signaling you can give the horse which he feels on his nose and not under the chin, regarding slowing down - you want the horse to find its rhythm, say, at the trot - the rhythm he has which he can carry all day long, and a tug or lever action with the other hand on the longe line can signal a 'come down' or with your click, click, slow down (you don't want the horse running frantically, etc). If your cavesson has a good brass plate on the nose, he will receive a sharp tug and feel it when you ask for "halt" or "walk". You don't want to haul or pull forever to get him to respond. Just one signal and he should change gait. Longeing gives your horse a chance to develop rhythm, muscling and conditioning without you on his back. He gets to learn balance and having the longe line on his nose in the center helps with that balance.

    Another use for the longe line is to spiral the horse in to a 10 meter circle and then out again to a 15 meter or 20 meter. As you pull him in, you don't want to bend his neck in towards you - his bend is through his whole body and describes the circle size and this helps you keep from bending his head towards you. When you bend his head/neck more than the bed of his whole body, he bulges his outside shoulder. This makes his inside shoulder drop, and he loses the chance to develop good inside shoulder strength to hold himself up on the bend, plus, he loses his balance, and an unbalanced horse 'runs' and is frantic and falls on his forehand. If he can delvelope the correct muscles in the bend, and slow and find good rhythm, he will begin to use his topline, and haunches and get off his forehand, and he won't develope lameness later in life.

    Another use for the top ring in the cavesson is to quickly change direction. There is a shoulder loosening up exercise asking the horse to step under from behind around you in a tight circle, then stretching your arm out at his head and changing his direction. A trainer needs to show it to you.

    It also is really helpful for channging direction without stopping, unclipping and reclipping on the other side.

    a horse who is not listening can get a brass rattle from the ring at the nose and respond better than a yank and pull under his chin which he will not care to listen to.
    Trainer's website - photos of my horse Airborne under About and Francesca Edwards also in media page 1

    http://www.patricianorciadressage.com/


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  3. #3
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    You want to use side reins to put the nose at the verticle. side reins while longeing (not riding) are very very useful to develop balance and muscling for the horse's correct carriage while you are not on his back. Without side reins, a horse naturally carries himself with his head elevated and his back and neck inverted. It takes time and exercise, like yoga, to get a horse to carry himself well, as I described above, from behind, using his back and off his forehand, and he can't carry his head at the vertical unless he has the strength in his back end and his back to do it. Side reins are a tool to give him some 'yoga' time without you on his back to learn this.

    A good book is "Classical Horsemanship for Our Time" by Lily Foissard, it goes through the classical flexion and longeing exercises and why and how the equipment is used best.
    Trainer's website - photos of my horse Airborne under About and Francesca Edwards also in media page 1

    http://www.patricianorciadressage.com/


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyg View Post
    I am reading a book on traditional in-hand work (like in the Spanish Riding School). The author emphasizes the importance of using a proper lunging cavesson with a center ring.

    I get why you want a cavesson over a halter: because it won't slide around on the head.

    I get when you use the side rings: to lunge a young horse who doesn't yet know how to change directions.

    I get when you use the center ring: to lunge a trained horse who does know how to change directions.

    Here's my question: Coming from an NH background, we circle our horses with the leadrope attached to the loop at the BOTTOM of the halter. Why is the top ring position better for the horse than the bottom loop position? Is it to help put the nose on the vertical?
    If NH is all you know, you need to first learn why we longe horses and it is not to chase them mindlessly around you, but to see how they move and adjust our training to the specific needs of that horse.

    Proper longing as a training tool is a specific technique, is intense and should be used knowing how to do it and keep it short, it is hard on horses.

    For much of what you do, the ring in the front of the nose is what works best, as already described.
    For other, you use different rings and/or settings on the side reins.

    Longing is hard on a horse and even more so like NH does, in those little circles, horses discombobulated and scooting around here and there.
    That is very hard on the horse's body, especially joints and they get sore easily and cranky and resistant if not done right.

    Learn how to longe properly and why from someone that can show you how and why to do it is best.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    If NH is all you know, you need to first learn why we longe horses and it is not to chase them mindlessly around you, ...
    Longing is hard on a horse and even more so like NH does, in those little circles, horses discombobulated and scooting around here and there.
    Bluey, I know you meant to enlighten me, and I do appreciate that; but I asked an open-minded question -- which was specifically about the effect of the line on top of the nose vs. under the chin.

    Why not visit my blog, which is referenced in my signature line, to see what I'm doing before assuming I plan to chase my horse mindlessly in little circles wearing a lunging cavesson?
    Last edited by Cindyg; Jan. 18, 2013 at 11:21 AM.
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyg View Post
    Bluey, I know you meant to enlighten me, and I do appreciate that; but I asked an open-minded question -- which was specifically about the effect of the line on top of the nose vs. under the chin.

    Why not visit my blog, which is in my signature line, to see what I'm doing before assuming I plan to chase my horse mindlessly in little circles wearing a lunging cavesson?
    Ok, I will make it short then.
    Learning how to longe and why from someone that is very good at that is best.

    I was taught how to longe, I taught apprentice horse trainers how to.
    I just think it is the best way for all, horse and human.
    Hard to just give pointers over the internet without being there and seeing what is going on and acting and reacting to each specific situation.

    Others may think differently and that is fine.


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  7. #7
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    Thank you so much, Bluey and Kate (and anyone else who cares to comment), for your input. It is helpful.

    Hard to just give pointers over the internet without being there
    While I know that is true -- I question, in that case, why we are participating in this conversation at all? And I did provide ample videos of my work so you could see what is going on. And at any rate, the answer to my actual question isn't affected by what is going on in my specific situation.

    There is alot of subtle signaling you can give the horse which he feels on his nose and not under the chin...[snip...a horse who is not listening can get a brass rattle from the ring at the nose and respond better than a yank and pull under his chin which he will not care to listen to.
    That was very helpful. Thank you.

    Its to put steady pressure on the nose without hauling the head to the side...[snip]...having the longe line on his nose in the center helps with that balance.
    If one had tension in the line, would the center position displace the head any less than a side position or a chin position?

    As you pull him in, you don't want to bend his neck in towards you - his bend is through his whole body and describes the circle size and this helps you keep from bending his head towards you.
    That is very helpful. Thank you.
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden



  8. #8
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    AK, helpful explanations. Thanks.
    I had the same question, about how the attachment position (top vs chin) would keep the horse straighter. I'd guess it's not the position itself, it's the resulting amount of tension on the line required to get his attention. If a quick clink on the nose corrects the horse, compared to tugging at the chin, then you're never pulling his head in.
    In theory, yes, but the difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality but, in reality, there is a difference.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HungarianHippo View Post
    AK, helpful explanations. Thanks.
    I had the same question, about how the attachment position (top vs chin) would keep the horse straighter. I'd guess it's not the position itself, it's the resulting amount of tension on the line required to get his attention. If a quick clink on the nose corrects the horse, compared to tugging at the chin, then you're never pulling his head in.
    OK, I found this video. He is contrasting the top ring to the side ring, but still useful.
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden



  10. #10
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    Cindyg,

    In NH, the goal of lunging the horse is to train the mind, to teach him how to circle you with "loose" reins while maintaining the distance you set. It is to teach him respect (for you), and for this to work, you strive to have a droopy lunge line .That is how eventually you teach the horse to circle around you free without a lunge line between you.

    With the English style lunging, the goal is to teach the hose self carriage while "you" remain on the ground. It is to mimic and familiarize the horse, from the ground, what will happen once the rider is in the saddle. For this to be effective, you "must" have straight line between your hand and the horse, like when you are riding. That way, you can half halt with minimum aid. You cannot have loopy rein in this scenario.

    Now just think about the different purposes of two different styles, and you should see that you do not want to attach the line to the bottom of chin if you want straight line between your hand and the horse, and you do not want to attach the line to the top of the halter if you want droopy line.

    I have used both extensively on all my horses. The young ones (babies) I play with the NH style, because that is the simplest setup and I don't want to complicate things. Mature horses I might use the NH style, when I just want to see where their minds stand on any given days; and when I get serious about teaching horses self-carriage and collection, I use the traditional style, either lunge or long lining.


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  11. #11
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    Gloria's comment is excellent, I think. I can keep a very soft contact with the line attached to the top of the nose, but a droopy one would annoy the horse by hitting its muzzle.

    For english-type lunging where you are actively working and influencing the horse's body, having contact is desirable. And of course, a position below the nose would not be safe with side reins on.

    I always use a cavesson (except with our small pony; they don't come that small); I prefer the control it gives on the off chance the horse starts to pull or be goofy. I've had a horse who was normally fine get away from me when I longed in a halter. (This would be less of a concern if you're working in a round pen.)
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


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  12. #12
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    Thank you so much Gloria and Poltroon. That was very helpful! I appreciate your contrasting the two methods, two goals, and two line placements.

    A follow up question: So how do you you create the straight line (as opposed to the droopy line) on a horse who is not inclined to burn any more calories than absolutely mandatory?
    Last edited by Cindyg; Jan. 18, 2013 at 02:33 PM.
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden



  13. #13

    Default Excellent video of classical in hand work...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyg View Post
    OK, I found this video. He is contrasting the top ring to the side ring, but still useful.
    That is a great video from a master that attended more than one classical school in Europe. If you are doing ground work on the horse, like leading it just on a lead rope you can carry a small crop or just use the end of the rope to touch and communicate with the horse.

    I do not particularly agree that using anything but the center ring is optimal for horse development. If you do a search on Dr. Deb Bennett you will understand that torquing the head in any way that is incorrect or even just the weight of the line and snap, is not particularly good for them. Some horses may still thrive, but the most sensitive ones will still experience blockages and muscle tightness at the poll and in the neck because of the improper placement of the line.

    Lead line work can be done with a lead rope (walking the horse to and from pasture, to the wash stall, etc... and longe line work should be done as Bluey drescribes in the moment with careful attention to how the horse is moving and what the desired result is and with the proper equipment. Everything else does damage really because it interrupts the way the horse is supposed to move in order to not have soreness and chiropractic lesions form over time.

    The center ring is the correct ring for line attachment (always). The rings on either side of that are for side reins that get attached to a surcingle.


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  14. #14
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    Interesting conversation.

    So what so you guys think of putting the line through the bit's ring, over the poll, and attaching on the other side?

    I do have a cavesson but my horse and I prefer the above method. My cavesson is heavy, sturdy leather that I have to tighten considerably on her nose, otherwise it droops and drives her crazy. The lighter ones all droop and turn.

    Attaching the line to the bit (horse being already well trained and responsive to longeing) gives me control and subtlety, pretty much the same feeling as riding. Only drawback is, I have to undo-redo to switch directions. I don't use longeing for "letting off steam", either. If I'm going to do that, I let the horse loose in the arena.
    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!



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