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Spin-off: In starting young horses, how many folks think driving (long-lining) is...

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  • Spin-off: In starting young horses, how many folks think driving (long-lining) is...

    absolutely necessary? At my barn, we have some trainers that do believe in driving/long-lining before starting and others that don't do it. I'm curious to see what the opinions are AND the reasons behind those opinions....

  • #2
    I do! We train ours from the ground up. You build from a foundation and that gives the horse, and the rider/owner, from which to work from.

    My phrase for life is "you can't learn to skip until you learn to Step-hop".

    I find in the way we do it here we get a more responsive, supple horse-AND we don't ride the horses off their mouth! Sadly many horses don't have a good foundation training and they are ridden off their mouth, not really learning to engage their hind end etc.

    All of my own youngsters and those I train (and adult horses, like ones we have in now) start from the ground up.

    As we build their skills, even after they are under saddle, I take them back to the ground to teach them a new more advanced skill(s) and then we progress back to doing it under saddle.


    • #3
      I like driving because I can begin to get the youngster moving forward under saddle earlier - to voice commands and a touch of the whip (a touch). I can take them out in the world (my neighborhood is safe for this) and they are the "lead horse", moving in front of me as they will be when ridden. They become used to bridle and bit and used to being touched along their sides by the reins. One doesn't have to drive before backing but I really find it useful and generally fun!


      • #4
        I long line all of mine. I also pony them a lot.

        I longe a tiny bit just mostly to teach the words "trot" & "canter".

        Here's our colt I rode for the 1st time on Tuesday. He was great! Today will be our second ride. He understood steering and Whoa. He knew "walk on".

        I think the ponying combined with the long lining makes them very well prepped for the first ride. All of my young horses have been started the same way and I find it to be a fun, easy and happy experience for the both of us.
        Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


        • #5
          I don't do it myself and do not find it absolutely necessary. However I do believe it could be a very valuable and beneficial tool; just not absolutely necessary. That aside, all the horses I start get extensive groundwork first so that they are respectful, soft, supple, and relaxed u/s. Foundation first.
          ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
          ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


          • #6
            I don't think it's a requirement, but since I tend to board at driving barns (or multi-discipline barns that include driving) I've always done some long-lining and the trainers there always include long-lining in the young horses' training. I think it's certainly a useful skill and a useful way to introduce the bit and rein-related work without being stuck only lunging. Actually even my old mare who was started in a dressage/hunter/jumper barn knew how to long line (German trainer).


            • #7
              We always long line, and sometimes progress to driving before backing them. It's just so much easier to ride a horse who already understands word commands and bit cues and who is used to working in tack. Plus, they gain confidence from ground driving and going forward in front of a human instead of being led everywhere. Riding is just a natural progression from there.

              Personally, I long line alot even with finished horses. I don't have a ground man or mirrors. I take in a lot of info about how my horse is doing from being able to watch his reactions from the ground.
              Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


              • #8
                Necessary, no. Desirable, yes. I think it is a good intermediary step between lunging and riding. Teaches the young horse to be guided by the reins and to be "driven forward" which translates fairly easily to "ridden forward". When ever I can I try and use this step. I posted video earlier this year of a 4 yr old I was ground driving. The step to riding was very easy and just last weekend she went and was shown at all three gaits, winning two dressage suitability classes. She is also now jumping, and this is in just 4 months under saddle. So obviously it allowed her to progress faster, I believe, when being ridden than she may have otherwise.


                • #9
                  I like a horse to know Left, Right, and Stop before I get on their back.

                  It's so easy to teach, and the skills learned from long lining are necessary anyway, why not??


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dune View Post
                    absolutely necessary? At my barn, we have some trainers that do believe in driving/long-lining before starting and others that don't do it. I'm curious to see what the opinions are AND the reasons behind those opinions....
                    One of my favourite topics.

                    Written a book on it and regularly done clinics and demonstrations and I work with equestrian students at our local college to help them develop the skill of long reining.

                    I personally consider that if horses haven't been long reined and worked in hand that they've got some vital gaps missing from their training. I even get them to do the likes of jumping small ditches before they're asked to carry weight. I also long rein over trotting poles, cavelletti and do the majority of their training in hand: including up to passage either way.


                    • #11
                      Wouldn't get on one that hadn't been driven, but no it's not necessary. Still I think it's a shortcut when people don't teach their horses how to drive. FWIW, once mine know how to drive, they never go back to lunging. If they need to the spice taken out so to speak or are just starting back, I will drive. Why you wonder? They pay attention and listen better and know this is all about work. Not saying they can't lunge properly because they can, just that I like driving better.

                      COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                      "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


                      • #12
                        I can say that I have started some over the years without...

                        But I really like having brakes and steering BEFORE I get on. Oh, and forward too, but brakes, really, and steering are my big priorities...

                        Details, minor details...

                        It's also handy. The SillyFilly was a lovely help last winter hauling water.
                        InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                        Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                        • #13
                          We do it, for all the reasons already given. It teaches the horse to go forward, to be the 'lead horse', to steer and to whoa.
                          We have quite hilly property, so it is a lot of fun (and great exercise for both of us) to walk up and down the hills and around the property.

                          Jumping Thomas? that might be a bit too much exercise for me!!
                          A Fine Romance. April 1991 - June 2016. Loved forever.


                          • #14
                            We own draft horses (2) and 2 warmbloods. After a couple of clinics, we decided to extend the long-lining and a little bit of driving to the warmbloods (we raised 5 foals over the last 8 years).

                            Like the others said, we saw a big difference under saddle. Since we are the only ones to do driving at the barn, most owners didn't believe us when we told them about the "secret". Horses are used to stay still, to equipement, whip touch, voice command and it's nice way to work out! We drive all year round and we have kms of trails so we enjoy! I find it more relaxing that just working in the arena, and it changes the horse mind.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tidy rabbit View Post
                              I long line all of mine. I also pony them a lot.

                              I longe a tiny bit just mostly to teach the words "trot" & "canter"......

                              I think the ponying combined with the long lining makes them very well prepped for the first ride. All of my young horses have been started the same way and I find it to be a fun, easy and happy experience for the both of us.
                              This is what I do! Lots of ground driving, a bunch of ponying, and a bit of longeing. Loads of fun for all
                              Y'all ain't right!


                              • #16
                                While I don't think it's an absolute necessity, it sure is good for them to know. I don't climb on any babies anymore, but when I send them out, they at least know how to stop, steer, and go forward confidently. Being Saddlebreds, they all get broke to drive (not by me, I'm a chicken when it comes to driving!) so they're going to have to learn to work in lines anyway. If I start them at least a little, it saves me money because the trainer can move on a little faster.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Interesting responses! Now I'm thinking that I should've added one more question to the mix. I wonder if say, dressage folks are more apt to say driving/longlining is necessary versus say, jumper folks or other disciplines....hmmm...


                                  • #18
                                    Our D cob filly will be taught to drive next spring and then in the fall will be backed. It just seems like a great way to start her as she has talent in her pedigree for both. I think she will love it.
                                    Our trainer long lines every horse she trains and all the horses in her barn are trustworthy and well trained. Even her reining horse can drive and pull a cart. I think its pretty neat.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Dune View Post
                                      Interesting responses! Now I'm thinking that I should've added one more question to the mix. I wonder if say, dressage folks are more apt to say driving/longlining is necessary versus say, jumper folks or other disciplines....hmmm...
                                      We train for all disciplines and use ground driving as much as possible on youngsters. We do hunters, dressage horses, eventers etc.


                                      • #20
                                        Could anyone recommend a good book about long lining? I can definitely see where this would be handy in the brakes and steering department.