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Material for long lines?

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  • Material for long lines?

    I am putting my riding horse (who is only about 14.2 - 14.3) back in work after a several month layoff where she didnt get any exercise.

    She knows the basics of long lining, and fortunately, is quiet enuf to tolerate me making mistakes.

    Right now I am using pony driving lines - rolled fronts and thenweb - but as far as feel - ICK!

    Most of the rope lines I've seen are 1/2 inch or larger - and I have itty bitty hands, wasnt sure if they'd be too much to handle. I also wasnt sure if 3/8 rope was enuf to get a point across?

    I only need lines that are 20' max, our area to work isnt all that big.

    Also - we just walk. She is part walker and can get a BIG walk going, and my hip is too wonky to try anything faster.

    Opinions appreciated.

  • #2
    You are better off with flat cotton web reins. They do not stretch, are easier to grip and won't burn you.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._


    • Original Poster

      Can you just cut them off? The only ones I have seen are like 30 feet....And do they stand up to water? I just moved to the Seattle area - it's WET here!!!


      • #4
        Actually, you really should try finding an area that lets you use the entire length of the lines you have, 30ft. Horse is better off making LARGER circles, while you make a small one inside hers. She can go as fast as you let her, but you don't have to race around to keep up!

        For Driving, the long line should go around the outside of horse, using a surcingle or driving harness saddle, to support the lines midway along her barrel. Running the line around her, WILL use up some of that length of line.

        Just to get terms straight, long lining is doing things in a circle 99% of the time. Ground DRIVING, is letting horse move out ahead of you, with you off to one side so you can see her face and body position. Many folks walk directly behind the animal, but I don't know anyone who can ACTUALLY KEEP UP, so they are unknowingly "in the horse's face" with lines all the time. When you are directly behind horse, you can't see that horse IS VERTICAL, giving to your hands!! Another reason NOT to ground drive behind, you can't reward what you don't see horse giving you. Sometimes that vertical, or give-to-the-bit is only a stride or two, so the reward needs to be FAST for horse to connect his give and getting more rein for reward.

        For the Driving animal goal, the handler needs to be carrying a whip that can REACH out to animal at the end of the lines. Small hands or not, the whip is a tool the equine needs to be used to, and using it correctly, often, makes YOU a better whip handler. Whip is one of your three Aids while driving. I would suggest you shop in Driving supply places for a true Driving whip. You can get a long stick, thinner handle, add some cord for length, but not have the overweight lunge whip that never reaches anything, top-heavy twisting your wrist while carrying it.

        With your longer lines, the animal is allowed to ACTUALLY move out, stride freely, without needing a continued bend for a small circle. Those little circles are hard on a bigger animal, hard on joints doing the EXACT SAME SIZE all the time. Perhaps a field corner where you can move your long line circle in and out, let horse move out, would be more useful in teaching things to the animal. Our long line circles are about 60-70ft, with handler doing a 10ft circle on the inside. We can WTC, reverse on the lines, make circles bigger or smaller to keep it interesting.

        I wouldn't advise shortening your lines, they will be useless for horse learning more things as training advances. Lines will NEVER feel like riding reins. Any kind of rope or webbing, length of lines, is going to make them a bit dull and weighty. Just a fact of life. Horse can almost always be "sharpened up" later, with a lighter feel to the bit in other activities.


        • Original Poster

          We're kind of doing both. Since right now the only place I have to work is an indoor arena and the small circles aren't good for me (much less the horse) we're doing stuff like going down the sides, changing directions, and doing serpentines.

          I'm not actually directly behind her very often (I kinda feel nekkid back there right now!).


          • #6
            Yachting rope is what I prefer for long lines. They don't tangle and are light weight.
            Kanoe Godby
            See, I was raised by wolves and am really behind the 8-ball on diplomatic issue resolution.


            • Original Poster

              CDE driver - what size lines do you use? Is 1/2" too small?


              • #8
                These are my favorite http://www.sstack.com/english_traini...long-lines-30/

                These are my second favorite https://www.4showhorsetack.com/produ...07eni5d3k7huq0
                (and can be ordered without the pulleys if you do not long line in draw reins).


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Renae View Post
                  These are my second favorite https://www.4showhorsetack.com/produ...07eni5d3k7huq0
                  (and can be ordered without the pulleys if you do not long line in draw reins).
                  Those are the ones I use. Mine had pulleys and I never used them so I just broke them off. I like the rope bit ends because they slide through rings easier than flat lines. I did cut them to length after several years of using them (afraid to make a mistake). But until you are sure how much you want to cut off, just pick up the bight, fold in two and stick an inch or so through your belt loop. This will keep the tail off the ground but pull out easily if you have a problem.


                  • #10
                    I agree, don't cut your 30' lines. The flat web ones with rolled front are actually my favorites, very light weight for being so long and the rolled part slides through D's nicely. Since your mare has a large walk, you can take advantage of your long lines and send her in a figure when her walk is getting too much to keep up with, so you don't kill her forward and preserve her ground covering walk.

                    I have boy's hands though and I don't live in the PNW so I'm no real help there. And I do have to admit, holding the bight when I'm inside 20' is quite a bit to hold in the hand, especially as I refuse to do loops but do a 'tamale' instead.

                    I have also made my own long lines out of climbing rope. I use climbing rope because its durable and comes in a huge range of diameters, and its made in such a way that it has life to it.

                    I used 1/2" for a set of 25' lines and I think they are harder to manage than the flat web, if holding the bight in the hand. I also find them to be very heavy at that length and have a tendency to lean on my horse's mouth. Inside 20', they're lovely, but 20' and beyond I find they are heavy, and actually tend to have an irritating swing at a canter.

                    I don't think 3/8" is bad at all. I have a length of 1/4" I turned into poor-man's vienna reins, but ended up becoming my in-hand work reins. They are a little thin, but work out nicely for us doing stuff like this

                    Another nice thing about very thin rope lines is you can attach them to the snap of your choice with a knot. With larger diameter, I use zip ties and cover the hard bits with athletic tape.

                    The not-so-nice thing about thin rope lines is that they can be fussy and floppy and want to find their way around your wrist, your horse's leg, flop over your horse's neck, etc, and generally have a mind of their own. They can cinch themselves or knot themselves up very quickly too. Which is why I only use them for up close work where I am practically touch the horse anyhow.

                    Larger diameter lines stay put nicely and aren't nearly as troublesome.

                    I think you'd be good with 3/8". I would suggest climbing rope if you can as it has 'life' and 'feel'.

                    I would also suggest keeping your 30' web lines however, and when you get more confident experimenting with them. There are many ways to work a horse on the ground and certain reins come in handy certain times. You might discover you have so much fun with your mare you might want to try gymnastics, jumping, figures, etc. The light web 30' lines will come in very handy then, and after you've had some practice they won't seem nearly as ungainly as they do now.

                    Also, you don't always have to hold the bight in your hand. There is a very good clinician, Clay Maier, who has a series of DVDs and he allows the line to drag on the ground beside him. You can *just* see it in this photo here. He has both lines off to one side, but very often in his videos he has a line on either side of him. I thought it was nuts at first but gave it a shot and once I learned how to keep my hands in a position that kept the line out from under my feet, it was very natural and easy. I did have my horse bolt on me too and I was able to control the line safely and turn him on a circle smoothly and avoid getting all wrapped up.

                    I don't let the lines drag if I'm out on the trail or around the farm though, only in an enclosed arena.

                    If you're not doing so already, do consider learning to hold a whip too. A whip is handy to have, and managing lines plus a whip on the ground is a skill that is worthwhile learning.

                    Watch any and all DVDs you can and read as many books as you can, there is a whole world to working your horse in hand and a lot of different methods.
                    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                    • #11
                      Another note on trailing the bight. Even when long lining in a circle, you should really be walking forward at all times, in a smaller interior circle, not standing in one spot swiveling like you could with a single line. When you walk forward properly "driving" your horse forward, you are much less likely to get tangled in a trailing bight. The larger your own circle, the longer your bight can safely be.


                      • Original Poster

                        Buck22 that was very helpful! Thank you! (am off to watch some of your videos...)

                        I have seen pics and a vid clip of Mr. Maier trailing the lines, and all I could think was 'I'd be dead!'.

                        It might be something to try on a shorter line when I'm not having to share the arena with anybody....

                        I never stand in one place (leg wont let me), but I DO struggle with coordination at this point!


                        • #13
                          My lines always drag on the ground. You get used to it. I wouldn't be caught dead not having enough line to let out when a green colt gets a bug up his ass and decides to take off bucking


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tollertwins View Post
                            I never stand in one place (leg wont let me), but I DO struggle with coordination at this point!
                            Pratice makes perfect! I used to long line a lot. I could do figure eights, serpentines, shoulders in, haunches in... Nowadays I only do it now and then when I need to evaluate my horse from the ground, and it takes me a few minutes just to get things sorted out again. I feel like I'm all thumbs! But getting the right equipment that you are comfortable with will help tremendously. My long lining rig is the most cherished tack in my trunk.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tollertwins View Post
                              I never stand in one place (leg wont let me), but I DO struggle with coordination at this point!
                              Take heart, everyone struggles and bumbles and feels uncoordinated! Its a skill that comes with time and practice just like all things horse. Keep at it and slowly it'll get easier 'till one day you wake up and its no big deal.

                              As a side note, very best piece of advice I've been given in long reining is to keep your eyes and chin up and always look in the direction you want to be going. I used to fumble around and walk circles and nag my horse too much because I was focused on him and/or my hands/reins, etc. Once I started training myself to look in the direction of travel instead, the pieces and coordination came together much better.

                              Another great tip I think from Clay's dvd's is to anticipate your corners, realize that there are times you are going to have speed up your walk or cut the corner short sometimes so the horse can do the corner smoothly and not leave you behind.

                              All of this comes with practice and we all make a mess of it at first. Nice when you have a forgiving horse to help you through

                              Avoid being discouraged, this is a skill worth learning.
                              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.