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Those talented at lunging/long lining

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  • Those talented at lunging/long lining

    For those very experienced and talented at lunging/long lining... how did you learn? Was it part of your riding instruction? Self taught through clinics/videos/etc?

    I was thinking about it today and the only "instruction" I have gotten in my life on lunging was at a summer camp when I was a child with an old schoolie (which isnt exactly comparable with teaching a greenie to lunge). I find I am rather uncoordinated at lunging and don't have much experience in troubleshooting issues while longing. I have never even seen someone long line but I have heard/read so many pros that use it at different stages in training.

  • #2
    I had formal lunging lessons in Pony Club as a child and teen, including testing of those skills at ratings. I took long-lining lessons as an adult, but the transition wasn't particularly hard with a good lunging foundation.

    I'd recommend you pick up the Pony Club lunging book. It's short, and straightforward. https://www.amazon.com/Longeing-Grou.../dp/0876056400

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm OK at it. I watched someone who was pretty proficient at it while I was in college. I think I have seen some video of Anders Lundgren who, IRC, was/is a guru who teaches clinics in the US. I'd go to one of those if they still exist!

      Otherwise, I just experimented myself with horses. Long-lining, line driving and double lunging are all slight variants on the same thing. If you can get someone to teach you a few times, you'll be well on your way. Otherwise, the keys are

      Start with the horse in a halter or lunging cavesson (since you can really rip on a horse's mouth by accident);

      Start with a slow, kind, sane horse (bonus points if he knows how to do it and/or he has been schooled to lunge with attention and precision so that he's used to taking detailed commands on the end of a rope rather than just cruising around out there);

      Used a small enclosure. You need the fence to help you control speed and also a bit of direction. A round pen is ideal, but a corner of a big ring can be OK, too;

      Know that you will get the horse tangled once or twice. So start slow, try to be nonchalant about it that tangle. See above about the mellow horse, the small enclosure and the halter;

      Wear gloves. Keep track of the rope. Getting that tangled in your feet is a real risk. You need to learn how to manage the bight end of your ropes. You need to pay constant attention to where your feet and the ropes are on the ground. It gets easier, but it's a lot to manage at first.

      I'd recommend starting with double lunging. After that, I can tell you how I'd start, but that would make this a long post!

      You can do it, just get help.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat

      Comment


      • #4
        Maj. Anders Lindgren was considered to be a master at long lining. I was 16 When I saw him give a demonstration at one of Violet Hopkin’s Dressage Instructor’s seminars. Even as a clueless teen, his work with the horse made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I know I was seeing art of the highest form.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mvp View Post
          I'm OK at it. I watched someone who was pretty proficient at it while I was in college. I think I have seen some video of Anders Lundgren who, IRC, was/is a guru who teaches clinics in the US. I'd go to one of those if they still exist!

          Otherwise, I just experimented myself with horses. Long-lining, line driving and double lunging are all slight variants on the same thing. If you can get someone to teach you a few times, you'll be well on your way. Otherwise, the keys are

          Start with the horse in a halter or lunging cavesson (since you can really rip on a horse's mouth by accident);

          Start with a slow, kind, sane horse (bonus points if he knows how to do it and/or he has been schooled to lunge with attention and precision so that he's used to taking detailed commands on the end of a rope rather than just cruising around out there);

          Used a small enclosure. You need the fence to help you control speed and also a bit of direction. A round pen is ideal, but a corner of a big ring can be OK, too;

          Know that you will get the horse tangled once or twice. So start slow, try to be nonchalant about it that tangle. See above about the mellow horse, the small enclosure and the halter;

          Wear gloves. Keep track of the rope. Getting that tangled in your feet is a real risk. You need to learn how to manage the bight end of your ropes. You need to pay constant attention to where your feet and the ropes are on the ground. It gets easier, but it's a lot to manage at first.

          I'd recommend starting with double lunging. After that, I can tell you how I'd start, but that would make this a long post!

          You can do it, just get help.
          Anders Lindgren was superb, I loved those instructor development clinics he conducted. I also honed my lunging skills at his clinics. My SRS instructor taught me the basics.

          Practicing bight management with a seasoned lung horse helps

          Comment


          • #6
            I have the same issue. Someone taught me a few pointers when I was 12 years old; the rest has been trial and error. I always wanted to learn how to long line. I found some good and helpful videos on YouTube recently!

            Comment


            • #7
              I had a mentor. A fella who was a superb horseman, trainer, with many decades of working successfully with a large number of horses, breaking and training to a high level of competition. I got to watch. I would suggest looking for someone like that. These days, videos can give you a cheap simulation of actually watching a master trainer, if you can't find a real live skilled horse trainer. As always, seek out many different methods and ideas, see what makes sense to you. Take what works for you. Then, give it a try, preferably under the watchful eye of someone who knows something about it.
              www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

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              • #8
                I was fortunate to have a German-educated Trainer when I became a re-rider in my 30s.
                Not only did he teach correct longeing, but had us Vaulting too.

                I consider myself quite good at longeing, since he stressed getting the horse to work through his back, long & low to start.
                NOT used to "get the bucks out".
                None of the fly-around-like-a-kite longeing I see so often.

                To work with a clueless horse on the longe, I make a triangle: horse is the base, I am the apex.
                Working on this mini-circle, start at the walk, and establish Whoa/Halt.
                Gradually widen the circle before asking for trot.

                And yes, be very mindful of where excess line is at all times.
                I have two permanently-bent fingertips from taking my eye off the pony I was longeing for a nanosecond.
                He bolted, flipped himself when he hit the end of the line.... That was carelessly looped around those fingers
                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                Comment


                • #9
                  I picked up some lunging tips by osmosis/trial-and-error, and then was trained by my employer on how she wanted me to lunge. Still don’t consider myself an expert - my green/naughty horse experience is lacking.

                  I consider longing and lining to have at least three different components - there is basic cueing/equipment handling/handler body language, there is safety (ideally no bombing around/excessive bucking/cross cantering), and there is advanced training and horse body carriage.

                  It’s always such a treat to lunge a well-mannered horse. I too need to advance my education in this area. Will be looking up the suggested resources!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I had a lesson, and then was given a talented 'stop and face you' horse to practice with. I rapidly learned to coordinate whip and longe line. He was educated but a talented tester.

                    My instructor also taught me how to point the whip , and set a rhythm with the whip.

                    It does take practice, and it is a very useful art.
                    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


                    • #11
                      My biggest piece of advice is to always, always, always go out to lunge with gloves and a whip. Much better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them. Anyone who has lunged much at all will have a tale of the time they had the skin ripped off their fingers by the horse who had been acting perfectly quiet, etc., etc.

                      I have to ask. What is double lunging? Maybe it is a different term for something I know by another name.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You can practice controlling your loops (e.g. lengthening and shortening the line) by clipping the lunge line around a post. Loops in one hand, line to the horse in the other. Thumb on top of your loops; and as with a lead rope, never coil the line around your hand. Later you will add a whip and practice with that. Practice in both directions. Way harder than it looks but with practice it becomes intuitive.

                        When actually lunging, wear gloves and keep your elbows close to your body. (If your arm is straight out, the horse could spook or play and pull you over). As you work in your triangle (spot on 2DogsFarm), keep your feet moving.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I learned lunging at summer camp as a kid as well. I learned long lining in college as part of our riding curriculum. I wasn't as effective with lunging until I had studied nat horsemanship and liberty training techniques and discovered how to use my presence and my body to get more out of the horse. Before that I'm sure I looked pretty uncoordinated. With long lining, you really need to practice, and ideally on a horse that isn't too high strung in an empty enclosed arena. I made some mistakes and learned a lot of lessons the hard way (like how long the lines should be, how to avoid getting the outside line to not get wedged under the horse's tail, how to avoid getting the lines tangled [yes, my horse bronked and got the lines wrapped around his legs once ]. There may be a fault in this, but I don't even try to keep the excess lines coiled/looped. I just let them drag out behind me. So far I nothing bad has resulted from this and I find it way easier to keep a nice even feel of the "reins" and get more out of the horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            USDF manual here; https://store.usdf.org/products/usdf-lungeing-manual

                            Philippe Karl, Long Reining THE Master;
                            https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...7.Long_Reining
                            ... _. ._ .._. .._

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thanks everyone! Its super interesting reading about other's experiences. I do have an older calmer horse to practice with... what would be your starter kit? Aka: What length/type of line, surcingle, etc. etc

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by evilc123 View Post
                                There may be a fault in this, but I don't even try to keep the excess lines coiled/looped. I just let them drag out behind me. So far I nothing bad has resulted from this and I find it way easier to keep a nice even feel of the "reins" and get more out of the horse.
                                No fault in this at all. Long lining (but not lunging) is often done with the lines trailing, not looped. One keeps the lines on one side, switching sides when changing direction.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I long lined the last 3 field hunters I started. I taught them to get used to the lines against/between their legs in a round pen. The natural horseman/round pen guy that helps me taught me to long line. He says the horse in your lines is the horse you will sit on, and I have found that accurate.

                                  When the horse is comfortable and responsive in the round pen, I just open the pen and drive on the trails around the house. I have introduced crossing water and having dogs around with the long lines.

                                  It's a great tool, lots of fun, and you can introduce lots of things to a young horse before he is strong enough to sit on.

                                  Do be sure to take off your spurs.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    We had longe lines as kids, don't remember using them that much though, as we had no arena. I had basic longeing lessons when I returned to riding, from a h/j coach. And I have had more sophisticated longeing lessons from my current dressage coach, who likes to also longe square and down the long side, moving her feet, and can get a horse to reach over the back and extend the neck in just a rope halter, no gadgets. I am not at her level, but am decent at longeing.

                                    I don't recall ever having major trouble sorting out the line and whip. I will say that it helps to have a longe line that feels comfortable in your hands. My coach loves an extralong cotton web longe line, but my hands are too small and a bit too weak (arthritis in the finger tips) to handle all that line. So I prefer my nylon web longe line that is on the short side, pretty much maxed out on a 20 metre circle. It is important to *always* wear gloves, and to have a longe whip that is comfortable in your hand. I once ended up using a buggy whip for a while, didn't realize that's what it was, and it was just that least bit too heavy and made my shoulder sore after a while.

                                    As far as longe technique, it is related to working on a rope halter/12 foot rope in groundwork or small circles. If you or your horse are having trouble with the concept, it's very useful to do small circles walk and trot around you, and progress to doing a 20 metre circle with you walking to the inside.

                                    Anyhow: get equipment that doesn't give you problems; wear gloves; and don't feel you need to keep your feet in the middle of the circle at all times.

                                    Now, your horse should not be pulling you around, and you should not be mindlessly moving the center of the circle. But there is no reason you can't trot your horse on a big square, or jog down the centerline of the arena with the horse on the rail. And no reason why you can't longe on a 12 foot rope, if you are happy running a smaller diameter circle to keep up.

                                    As far as why longe, I also agree that longeing is not the place to get out the bucks and wiggles. For that, I chase my horse around turnout and let her have a buck n run explosion. I know folks who worry that will cause injuries, but honestly the most chronic stress injuries at our barn develop in horses that never get buck n run turnout but fly around on the longe line, with their head being continually yanked, trying to gallop and buck on a small circle.

                                    Useful things in longeing include a lot of transitions. First, this gets the horse to the point of responding to voice and then hand/body cues. Second, it helps develop balance. No point just flying around in a big trot for 5 minutes.

                                    Another useful thing is teaching shoulder in on the ground, so you can send the horse around first on a small circle and then on a 20 metre circle in shoulder fore/shoulder in. This helps the horse carry himself correctly on the longe line and step under and reach for the (nonexistent!) bit. A horse should be longed in correct bend, not flying around counter bent and inverted. You *can* accomplish this with just a rope halter, though a longeing cavesson is best, because it tips the nose in (where a rope halter tend to tip it out). You can ask for little flexions to the inside with a longeing cavesson. You don't need a bitting rig of whatever type to get this done, you just need a few skills. My h/j trainer had me longe in a bit with the line run behind the ears (before our riding lessons, so that might have been for convenience or to teach me the standard format), but my dressage trainer never longes in a bit, just a cavesson (or rope halter if that's what there), and I think now I would not longe in a bit.

                                    Also watch your own posture and body language in longeing and in all ground work. When we finally got a 20 metre round pen here, I took my mare in at liberty and was impressed that she would go w t c and whoa on voice commands. Then I realized that I didn't even need voice commands on a good day. I could get her to transition up, down, and halt by mimicking the posture that I used longeing, that is leading arm out to transition up, retracting arm and standing square and up to transition down. Basically if I used my arms and body like I was longeing, but with no line.

                                    However I have never done long lining or ground driving. I can see where it would be useful starting a colt, but I haven't had that opportunity yet. My coach knows how and has done it, but it isn't currently a big part of her repetoire.

                                    My coach has taught me a lot of in-hand work, basically getting flexions and lateral work on the ground in a very precise way, in a snaffle bridle.

                                    I also do a lot of "ground work" in a rope halter, which is looser, more "natural horsemanship" based, and for my horse, has evolved into playing with liberty work. I can tell her to go stand on the circus box, and she will walk over and park herself on it. However I still have trouble locking her onto a 20 metre circle in a larger arena, sometimes we get it and sometimes she just wanders off. I've worked with other horses that hold a 20 metre circle around you with no line in an arena much more easily, one OTTB last winter that basically got it right away. Longeing with no longe line. I was only doing ground work/in hand with her for my coach, I wasn't riding her, so I was trying out all kinds of things on the ground with her as she was very green.

                                    Longeing for my own horse has ended up being only a small part of what we do on the ground. At the moment there isn't much that we need from longeing, other than a day when I don't ride and want to be sure she gets to move for ten minutes.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by ClassyJumper View Post
                                      what would be your starter kit? Aka: What length/type of line, surcingle, etc. etc
                                      It depends a bit on your circumstances. If you plan to lunge in a small space, it’s not helpful to have a super-long lunge line, since then you just have more coiled up line to handle. Personally, I always prefer a lunge line with a loop on the end. I find that type easier to hold onto in a pinch. I don’t care at all for the ones with the rubber donut on the end, but other people might have a different response.

                                      It is a good idea to have a chain, whether it is permanently attached to the lunge line, or a separate piece that you can add on when you need it. With a fresh horse on a cold, windy day, it can come in very handy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by ClassyJumper View Post
                                        Thanks everyone! Its super interesting reading about other's experiences. I do have an older calmer horse to practice with... what would be your starter kit? Aka: What length/type of line, surcingle, etc. etc
                                        I like a cotton line. Nylon can give you one helluva burn if it gets ripped from your hand.
                                        24' is a good length & I like the rubber donut at the end.
                                        You don't need a surcingle until you are ready to use side reins & then find someone who can show you how to correctly set those.
                                        I have longed in a halter & with horse wearing a bridle, but again, with the line attaching to a bit you need someone experienced to show you how to do that.
                                        A longe whip is a great aid, but you can get by using a dressage whip to point the horse out on the line or slow by getting ahead of the shoulder.
                                        Really, your voice and body position can do as much to control pace as cracking a whip.
                                        You will need to practice that crack too - should be more Whisper than Shout.
                                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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