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Longeing/lungeing the weak horse... side reins/etc.?

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  • Longeing/lungeing the weak horse... side reins/etc.?

    My poor TB gelding hasn't been in consistent work over the past two months thanks to the snow and lack of an indoor ring. Consequently, he has pretty much no muscle and every ride is mainly trying to keep a lid on his exuberance.

    I've been keeping up with *my* fitness with going to the gym, so I'm not out of shape, but he's a bear to ride when he's been out of work and has no topline.

    I'm trying to put together a training plan that will help increase his strength and also remind him that he's obligated to show some manners. He's been pretty good on the lunge line, so I'd like to incorporate that into our routine.

    However, I'm always stuck when it comes to what equipment to use. I have two pairs of side reins -- one with the rubber donuts, and the other are sliding side reins (shoulder-to-withers, not the between-the-legs-to-withers ones). I also use a bridle but really am not a fan of the over-the-poll method of attaching the lunge that we learned in Pony Club. :P I've heard using a rope halter under the bridle and attaching the longe to that helps without being too strong, but I haven't tried it.

    Any suggestions? Obviously I'm not going to make him canter around for 20 minutes with his nose glued to his chest, but I want to make sure I'm putting them on too loosely and therefore not doing any good. Thanks!
    Last edited by FrittSkritt; Feb. 14, 2011, 01:30 PM. Reason: spelling
    Road to the T3D
    Translation
    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

  • #2
    How about Long Lining?

    Hi!

    I am a huge advocate of LL and GD (ground driving), and have posted here before about it. Have you ever considered Long Lining? I use LL in my program with all of my horses. Some of them are LL prior to riding, or if I can't quite get to riding 6 or more horses almost every day (which is most days). I might LL half and ride the other half.

    Anyway, I secure my stirrups to the billets (I am short) or the girth, and run the lines through there. This way I don't have more equipment to deal with (surcingle over the saddle), and can quickly mount the horse and get with the program. What I love so much about LL is having the outside rein to straighten and HH on, just like riding! I really like using trot canter, trot canter transitions in LL and regular lungeing.

    As far as the regular lungeing that you initially inquired about, I also use Vienna or sliding side reins. They should be adjusted so that the horse will have it's nose slightly in front of the vertical while standing. You may have to readjust a few times to get the best results. Personally, I hook the line to the inside bit ring. If a horse doesn't lunge well and wants to pull, I use a lungeing cavesson. I have also used a rope halter, as you suggested.

    Given a choice with a horse like the one you mentioned, I would use LL over regular lungeing to establish obedience, straightness, and to simulate riding without the riders weight.

    Hope this helps!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
      Hi!

      I am a huge advocate of LL and GD (ground driving), and have posted here before about it. Have you ever considered Long Lining? I use LL in my program with all of my horses. Some of them are LL prior to riding, or if I can't quite get to riding 6 or more horses almost every day (which is most days). I might LL half and ride the other half.

      Anyway, I secure my stirrups to the billets (I am short) or the girth, and run the lines through there. This way I don't have more equipment to deal with (surcingle over the saddle), and can quickly mount the horse and get with the program. What I love so much about LL is having the outside rein to straighten and HH on, just like riding! I really like using trot canter, trot canter transitions in LL and regular lungeing.

      As far as the regular lungeing that you initially inquired about, I also use Vienna or sliding side reins. They should be adjusted so that the horse will have it's nose slightly in front of the vertical while standing. You may have to readjust a few times to get the best results. Personally, I hook the line to the inside bit ring. If a horse doesn't lunge well and wants to pull, I use a lungeing cavesson. I have also used a rope halter, as you suggested.

      Given a choice with a horse like the one you mentioned, I would use LL over regular lungeing to establish obedience, straightness, and to simulate riding without the riders weight.

      Hope this helps!
      I second this. I ground drive my 3 year old once a week at the walk, and then do a lunge workout. I haven't graduated to LL since I don't have long enough lines, but I plan to give it a shot at some point (psst Fantastic--do you have a line recommendation?) I use a cavason--much better than other methods, IMO, since you aren't pulling on the bit. It gives you better control and is good when asking a horse to canter, since they won't worry about being bopped in the mouth if they do a funny transition.

      Hilda Gurney in Dressage Today recommends starting the side reins higher and looser, then lowering them (to the billets/top of girth) and shortening them when the horse is more fit. At no point should the horse be behind the vertical. You should be able to watch the horse go and figure out where they'd be comfortable. I put the inside one a bit tighter which Gurney also recommends. You might also look at Klimke Basic Training for the Young horse for visuals of side rein placement. He/Ingrid like the Vienna reins.
      2007 Welsh Cob C X TB GG Eragon
      Our training journal.
      1989-2008 French TB Shamus Fancy
      I owned him for fifteen years, but he was his own horse.

      Comment


      • #4
        I prefer the sidereins with doughnuts, adjusted loosely at first, and then shortened and the attachment raised as the horse gains condition and fitness.

        I consider attaching the longe line to the single bit ring dangerous. Bridles were not designed to stand a lot of strain. If attached to both bit rings, either looping it around the inside,and then carrying the clip to the outaside, whether under the chin, over the nose, or over the poll, removes the strain from the bridle.

        Except for the case of the rowdy type that likes to playstrike at the line if its attached to a cavesson , a cavesson is preferable.
        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
          If a horse doesn't lunge well and wants to pull, I use a lungeing cavesson.
          Hope this helps!
          As stated. If horse is not a confirmed and skilled lunger, then see above. I prefer to LL all of my horses over lungeing any day. MUCH, much more effective!

          In the event that I do actually traditionally lunge, the reason that I prefer Vienna/sliding sidereins is that it allows the horse to lower his head and stretch his neck and back. I have all sorts of styles of traditional sidereins collecting dust simply because they are much more restrictive. The horse can just round his neck and not get the back up, and squirt the hind legs out the back end. (Not really, if the operator is doing his job of keeping the driving aids on, but you get the picture!).

          Comment


          • #6
            2nd LL

            Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
            As stated. If horse is not a confirmed and skilled lunger, then see above. I prefer to LL all of my horses over lungeing any day. MUCH, much more effective!

            In the event that I do actually traditionally lunge, the reason that I prefer Vienna/sliding sidereins is that it allows the horse to lower his head and stretch his neck and back. I have all sorts of styles of traditional sidereins collecting dust simply because they are much more restrictive. The horse can just round his neck and not get the back up, and squirt the hind legs out the back end. (Not really, if the operator is doing his job of keeping the driving aids on, but you get the picture!).
            I am going to second Fantastic's opinion on LL. My horse was making, um, bad decisions while longeing. We tried escalating the longeing connection, use of sidereins, etc. She still was acting really, really angry at times. I tried LL and she seems to be responding very well to this method. The outside rein gives her the feeling that I am in control. Good stuff.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks, guys! I'll consider the LLing. He can be absolutely superb on the longe (e.g., responding right away to voice commands) or absolutely ADD (takes a few "HELLO!" tugs on the line to get him to walk.)

              I've noticed with the sliding side reins that he can't seem to stretch his neck out -- he likes to suck back under saddle, and it shows on the longe. However, if I loosen the reins, he comes back above the bit.
              Road to the T3D
              Translation
              fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
              skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Alright, I longed him last night and he was OK. I used the donut side reins, but I think I'll actually go back to the sliding. Also, I do like the rope halter but I attached the line to the loop at the bottom -- is there another way that will give control over the top of the nose?

                Only problem is that he seems to have selective hearing -- sometimes I'll say, "walk," and he'll walk within two seconds. Other time I'll have to say it two, three times, and then it takes a good 3 tugs on the line to get him to walk. I don't think he's necessarily disobedient, just oblivious...
                Road to the T3D
                Translation
                fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
                skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm going to have to join the chorus of those recommending long-lining. I personally think that it is more effective than lunging - easier to maintain proper bend, easier to maintain control, and easier to make sure the hind end is also engaged.
                  If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                  Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As someone who has never long-lined, where is a good place to start? Where do you get your equipment? How did you figure out what you are doing?

                    TIA.
                    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FrittSkritt View Post
                      Alright, I longed him last night and he was OK. I used the donut side reins, but I think I'll actually go back to the sliding. Also, I do like the rope halter but I attached the line to the loop at the bottom -- is there another way that will give control over the top of the nose?
                      Forgive me, I'm on cold meds. Use 1 side rein on the outside, and on the inside run your line through the snaffle, and attach it to the side of your surcingle. now you have a way to adjust his bend, tease him to seek contact, and you have a consistent outside rein feel with that side rein.

                      It's sort of the middle ground between lunging and long lining. I'm a LL fan too, and when i'm lazy, the above is what I do.
                      www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                      chaque pas est fait ensemble

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm going through a similar situation, only my horse a year off due to a mystery lamess. In that year he lost so much muscle, especially over his topline. I have been lunging him the Pessoa rig(actually a cheaper knockoff <$50) on the lowest setting and it really has made a difference. I lunge him for about 30 minutes. I had been trying to work him every other day, riding only every third work. Now that his back is improving we've moved up to working two days in a row, then one off. Since your horse is surely in better shape than mine, I'm sure he could handle more than this.

                        Do consider the Pessoa rig though. All my other lunging stuff (side reins, neck stretcher, etc) is packed away because it was just collecting dust. He could find a way to lean or go around way above or behind the vertical with that other stuff. In the Pessoa, he goes long and low, can't lean, and uses his back well without the stress of a rider. Wish I had taken before pictures of his back...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I love both lunging and ground driving and do both at different times.

                          When lunging I generally only lunge with a chain over the nose after thoroughly introducing go and stop on a short line first. By lunging them without anything other than a halter, they are able to stretch to the ground. I encourage them to do this by trotting along side them keeping their head low. Eventually they learn to stretch. When I am happy with their ability to stretch and depending on where they are under saddle I may use a deGogue. This allows them to stretch to the ground if they want but limits how high they can go with their head. I think of it as a strong standing martingale. I do not use side reins but have used sliding side reins. They make more sense to me.

                          I never attach the lunge line to the bit. Instead I use the halter with the chain over the nose and the bridle over it. I take the caveson and reins off.

                          I have a very specialized way of teaching the horse to lunge and respond very well. I use lunging to improve their work and their gaits as opposed to just tiring them out.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Also, I do like the rope halter but I attached the line to the loop at the bottom -- is there another way that will give control over the top of the nose?
                            Pick up a cheap lunge cavesson - the nylon version has a fleece lined noseband & mostly runs 15$ - 30$.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by OnePerfectRide View Post
                              I'm going through a similar situation, only my horse a year off due to a mystery lamess. In that year he lost so much muscle, especially over his topline. I have been lunging him the Pessoa rig(actually a cheaper knockoff <$50) on the lowest setting and it really has made a difference. I lunge him for about 30 minutes. I had been trying to work him every other day, riding only every third work. Now that his back is improving we've moved up to working two days in a row, then one off. Since your horse is surely in better shape than mine, I'm sure he could handle more than this.

                              Do consider the Pessoa rig though. All my other lunging stuff (side reins, neck stretcher, etc) is packed away because it was just collecting dust. He could find a way to lean or go around way above or behind the vertical with that other stuff. In the Pessoa, he goes long and low, can't lean, and uses his back well without the stress of a rider. Wish I had taken before pictures of his back...
                              IMO, there is nothing you can do with a Pessoa rig that you can't do long-lining.
                              If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                              Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by FrittSkritt View Post
                                Alright, I longed him last night and he was OK. I used the donut side reins, but I think I'll actually go back to the sliding. Also, I do like the rope halter but I attached the line to the loop at the bottom -- is there another way that will give control over the top of the nose?

                                Only problem is that he seems to have selective hearing -- sometimes I'll say, "walk," and he'll walk within two seconds. Other time I'll have to say it two, three times, and then it takes a good 3 tugs on the line to get him to walk. I don't think he's necessarily disobedient, just oblivious...
                                My TB mare is the same exact way. selective hearing.

                                I use side reins adjusted so that they are not pulling on her mouth, but tight enough that she does feel a little bit and knows they are there. I am always afraid of the potential damage/psycological effects of having side reins too tight. I'd rather have them a little loose than a little tight, even if it does take a min for her to decide to pay attention to them. I also give her a few min each direction with the side reins disconnected to "play". Sounds like you are on the right track. Good luck!!
                                http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

                                http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

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