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Can someone explain the difference: Ground Driving vs Long Lining? And when to start?

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  • Can someone explain the difference: Ground Driving vs Long Lining? And when to start?

    Hey everyone,
    I've not posted in the "Driving" thread before but I've been lurking for a while.
    I have a baby who just turned 1 and I've been reading about what folks do at different ages with their babies.

    For the first year I just spent time with him and letting him experience things. We've done: brushing, picking up all his feet, standing at the trailer, tying to the trailer, self loading, walking over a tarp, wearing the tarp, flinging a lead rope all over him, etc etc. Lots of desesitizing.

    So that was the baby year.

    Moving into the yearling year I want to just introduce him to new things, go for hacks out in the woods, trailer to parks while friends school and just hang out. etc.

    So here are my questions for you guys:
    - can you explain to me the difference between "ground driving" and "long lining" - I see them both mentioned but don't know how they are different?
    - if they are indeed different, what one do you do first?
    - at what age can you start?
    - do you attach lines to a halter or do you use a bridle?
    - what is usually your first bit (a see a lot of folks talk about the HS loose ring duo)

    I appreciate your taking the time to provide feedback. .
    Really i'm just dreaming of the future with my adorable baby and wondering what to work on this coming spring/summer/fall.

    Also if you have any suggestions for good reading on this topic send them my way.

    And also any trainers in NJ would be great!

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Originally posted by KFC1177 View Post
    So here are my questions for you guys:
    - can you explain to me the difference between "ground driving" and "long lining" - I see them both mentioned but don't know how they are different?
    Ground driving is walking behind the horse "driving" it forward, a rein/line running on each side of the horse/pony to the bit. Long lining is using two lines, each on opposing sides of the bit, while lunging the horse in a circle around you. Ground driving you are following in the footsteps of the horse/pony; long lining you are standing in one spot and the horse/pony is moving around you.

    - if they are indeed different, what one do you do first?
    I do ground driving once the horse/pony is proficient at lunging on a simple lunge line. Once it understands to stop/stand, walk, trot, and do a simple reverse from a standstill (after I have switched the line to the other side and have turned the pony), then I consider the pony ready for ground driving.

    Personally, I don't long line.

    - at what age can you start?
    - do you attach lines to a halter or do you use a bridle?
    Always to the bridle.
    - what is usually your first bit (a see a lot of folks talk about the HS loose ring duo)
    Mullen mouth (unbroken, gently arched) snaffle.

    I appreciate your taking the time to provide feedback. .
    Really i'm just dreaming of the future with my adorable baby and wondering what to work on this coming spring/summer/fall.
    When mine were yearlings and 2 year olds, we would go out on "doggie walks" - just the youngster on a lead rope, and me. We would explore the world outside our farm through easy, fun, relaxed walks down the gravel roads and through the fields - we learned about streams, and ditches, and woods, and woodland creatures, and leaves under our feet, and yummy grass along the way, and all kinds of neat things that build a wonderful, solid education for a strong, capable mind. Those walks teach a pony so much in a really positive, happy, gentle way - and never fail to create a really solid, down to earth, relaxed driving pony.

    And also any trainers in NJ would be great!
    DriveNJ would probably have some good suggestions for you there.

    Thanks in advance.
    You're welcome...and good luck with your baby!


    • #3
      I use both ground driving and long lining when i work, to me they are very much the same, as i use them together... But i set up little courses with cones, walk/trot through, then circle them a few trot circles "long lining" then back to straight and back weaving through my cones, maybe over a piece of ply wood or over some ground poles, back into circles... I mean, my arena is only so big, and i can only run around so much. I dont know about you, but i have a hard time keeping up at a trot with my mini, much less my cob mare that can out trot a 17h warmblood with her stride... So i like to "long line" those circles so they get more trot work, and it helps a LOT with balance later on if you do under saddle work. It helped my cob finally get a balanced canter and helped her transitions, canter circle, trot straight, zig zag through cones, canter circle the other way, etc... A lot you can do there than if you were just running behind your horse ground driving! Really helps to be able to put your horse into that outside rein with your long lines on those circles, vs just having a longe line snapped to the bridle, nice to work figure eights too, working on getting a couple straight strides between them and then back into a circle, without all the running to keep up with them. The Clay Maier long lining DVDs are super and will give you a lot of ideas.

      Absolutely wait until 3 to really start lunging, even free lunging, if you want your horse to hold up for the long run, not a pasture puff by 20. But until then, lots of silly ground work can be done that helps a lot to build trust. I did the "dog walks" too, and liked to work them over tarps, walks in the woods, ponying off another horse for trail rides (if i had another safe horse to do so with at the time), hanging out at shows, etc... Just be sure that while you are treating him like a happy pampered puppy, that you dont start bad habits along the way. I've seen a lot of babies get much too spoiled and turn into monsters.

      I really like the mullen mouth snaffles as well.
      Your Horse's Home On The Road!


      • #4
        There is no differance. Long lining or long reining would be the more "correct" term, ground driving is more colloquial (and the term "double lungeing" makes me gag). You should be able to go in straight lines and circles no matter what you call it. Always use a bit. The horse should know how to lunge and lunge in side reins first. I would not start lungeing a horse until it is truly 18 months old and for long lining I would wait until the horse is 20-24 months.


        • #5
          And personally I prefer weanlings and yearlings be turned out in a pasture and only receive minimum handling. The two year that is just plain "wild" is easier to train than one that is spoiled or has been taught things incorrectly.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Renae View Post
            And personally I prefer weanlings and yearlings be turned out in a pasture and only receive minimum handling. The two year that is just plain "wild" is easier to train than one that is spoiled or has been taught things incorrectly.
            Ditto this really. I never let my babies get away with anything, they were required to behave from day one. No bad habits formed... BUT, i've worked in a few training barns and had to teach ground manners to those spoiled brats that would come in the door... MISERABLE. The training farms, unless a youngster is showing in halter or something, kick them out until 2, only touch them to trim feet and worm. Heck, sometimes not even that! But it's SO much easier to deal with those "wild" ones vs the spoiled rotten monsters!
            Your Horse's Home On The Road!


            • Original Poster

              Thank you for your feedback, its much appreciated.

              I'd like to mention that I'm not in any rush so I didn't want you to think that I was going to start ground driving/long lining this year . . My thought was in the 2 yr old year, and that seems to coincide with what all of you thought.

              My goal for yearling year is to just build off of what I started this weanling year with ground manners, ground work, desensitizing, but adding in the "doggy walks" (I am in love with that term) and also trailering out and coming home (learning that a day out is fun) and also going out with friends to local shows etc but just to hang and relax.

              Can i add one more question to the mix: most of you mentioned not doing cirlce work until they are older (totally agree) . . . but it was also mentioned not to do long lining until they learn to lunge in side reins. Why? Pros/Cons?

              I don't want to lunge yet (too young) but I would love to be able to upgrade from "doggie walks" to ground driving walks in the woods and on trails in the late two year old year, but at that time I wouldn't yet be lunging in side reins. . . so what do you suggest?

              Also - at what age do you tpyically introduce the bridle - it seems like you all do the ground driving and long lining in a bridle, so just wanted to ask that. .

              Oh and we've already ponied him off of his babysitter, that was a blast. . I very much believe that they gain confidence from being with the one that look up to and learning from that solid example of a good citizen.

              Thanks again!


              • #8
                Set your sights to start at age three. Age two is still too much a baby, with a baby brain and baby attention span.

                I do not lunge in side reins. Don't believe in them, and don't like the passive aggressive nature of that device. I prefer a giving hand that is connected to the human brain. I also see lunging as merely an exercise in obedience training, and a way to work off excess energy if necessary. This is just my humble opinion. Others may have a different thoughts - but that is the wonderful thing about this forum. Great ideas, and we all learn from each other.

                Anyway, back to facts -- too much lunging while young (or even for older equines) creates unnatural stresses on the bones from going in one circular direction too many times too often. That is why people are cautioned not to do it very often with growing youngsters.

                I introduce the bridle at age three. Bit smeared with applesauce for the first dozen times. Makes for a nice intro to a lifetime of wearing this accessory.

                Wait until your youngster is three before you start ground driving. They will have matured more in body and brain to deal with it capably. Up until then, just enjoy your walks together and keep in mind that it is STILL training, but at a gentle, measured baby pace.

                Personally, I like what you're doing with your baby right now. You seem to have a good plan for developing him into a good solid citizen by the time he's old enough to really start his full time career being a valued riding/driving partner.


                • #9
                  I dont feel, and i think you'll get a few others here that feel the same, you dont need side reins first before ground driving. I would almost go the opposite way. My hands have much more give and feel to help balance a horse than side reins. I do not like to force a horse into a frame, i like them to figure it out a bit by myself encouraging the back end to round up and move into my hands. I think you need a nice soft hand for that, and if you dont have good hands, or dont know, i would use a really stretchy side rein, but i still see that as an excuse not to work the back end.

                  I was going through the Clay Maier intro to long reining dvd yesterday, and he does use a single side rein to get them used to the feel of contact, though i still think this can be done with just your long reins and not have to use the side rein. Not that i'm against side reins totally, i just see them as a quick fix, not a long term one, and for the younger horse, something that can cause tension in the long term. I was trained to start with side reins, over the years, and changing riding disciplines, i've learned how to train without them with better results, but it takes good hands! That mullen mouth snaffle will be your friend, if you do make a bad move with your hands, you wont have center joint in the snaffle hitting the roof of the mouth. Some horses will like french links a lot too, but i'm sold on the mullen mouth, all of mine wear it now to ride and drive and go so much softer and happier than they ever did in their french links, and i was a HUGE french link fan!

                  I've introduced a bit at two, but you have to remember that the teeth are doing a lot of growing and changing in that 1-3yr old period and can cause some discomfort with a bit. So do keep up with your vet/equine dentist in regards to teeth.
                  Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                  • #10
                    I absolutely second what GTD says. Those dog walks are great training. Start on whoas and waiting now. You could also start him wearing a surcingle, and eventually the backstrap and crupper of the harness.

                    When you finally round pen him, I would add those tarps to his harness. You can;t desensitize for everything but anything you do will help.

                    If you have a tarp you can cut up into quarters, use one quarter to stick in his harness in various places, once he is wearing his harnss complete with breast collar, tugs, full britching. Of course you secure all parts so they don;t drag.

                    Anyway whether you free lunge or line lunge stick that tarp in every possible place it will stay and ask him to move off at a walk, trot, canter (as he learns to accept the tarp). Poor Zanzer had it on his head, his butt, between front legs, hanging off his back, you name it. Still work on the whoa with al this stuff.

                    I ground drove , not long lined, my horse for several months when he was coming 3. I lived in a subdivision with 15 miles of dirt roads. We covered all of them more than once I think!!!! But we encountered cars, trucks, dogs behind fences, other horses, people walking, people riding bikes, motorcycles, etc. More work on the whoa.

                    Everyone does it a little differently, all I can tell you is that I have a horse who has nailed the whoa twice in bad situations and it saved my dumb butt!!! But even as much as I have desensitized him, we have encountered things that just were too scarey-- cows loose in a show grounds and a bear on the trail. You can;t do enough.

                    So take what works for you, long lining or ground driving. Be careful of the sidereins. They are great tools but can cause a horse to flip if used incorrectly. So good luck and keep us informed of your progess.


                    • #11
                      I think GTD first post about the difference between the two to be very clear and my thoughts on the difference too.

                      I also want to add, a sidepull halter might be something to use. I have not used one, but a trainer mentioned it to me last fall. KV vet carries it.

                      Everyone added good input, and as far as books, dvd's etc.
                      I LOVE doris ganton and have both her book and video. I just got the video, and although quite old, man, that woman has very good tidbits on training, as well as a very methodical approach to breaking and training a driving horse(the name of book and dvd).
                      Clay Maier I also think is quite good too. I have his dvd on training a horse to drive.

                      Have fun, walks are great...we are doing lots of that with my coming 3 year old, as well as more serious long lining, and ground driving too. He is a pro at ground driving, and pretty good at long lining.

                      I hope to harness him up this week...probably let him clang around in his stall with the stuff on.
                      I think another good thing is to put on a crupper, as well as dangle ropes around his legs, etc. you know...all the desensitizing you can do, plus voice, voice, voice. Walking to turnout...lots of whoa's, stand, walk on, etc...teach them 'our language' so when in harness they know what whoa means.

                      Enjoy, I know I am really having lots of fun with my coming 3 year old.
                      save lives...spay/neuter/geld