Training ~ Longeing ("Printer Friendly" version of this page)
Longeing is used to teach a horse direction, posture, how to yield and move off pressure. We have all seen people who won't ride a horse until after they have longed in order to get the extra energy or "stink" out of the horse so that they can ride. Think about how absurd this is. You should be the one who directs the horses energy where you want it. If anything, you should be the one who has the relaxed posture so that you don't send the wrong message to the horse. If you have a horse that isn't safe to ride until it's tired, what the heck are you doing getting on? This is called "stealing a ride". Go back to the basics because something is wrong.
Longeing with a 22 or 45 foot line is used to teach a horse to yield from a greater distance than the standard lead rope. You can also work with difficult or scared horses from a safe distance. You will know that you've done your ground work correctly when you have your horse on the end of a 45 foot longe line and can get them to eye yield without "moving a muscle" or sending any energy down the rope. Once you've mastered this, it's time to get rid of the training aids and try free longeing.
The most effective way teach a horse to longe is with a 12 or 14 foot lead rope. Begin by asking the horse to back up. Ask the horse to move off in a direction by holding out your direction hand and putting pressure on the lead rope. If the horse hesitates or will not move off, raise your power hand. If they still don't move off, direct energy at the horses rear by twirling the rope overhand. When the horse begins to move, take the power hand completely off and down to your side. You want the horse to relate the power hand to movement and if you always keep it up, it loses its impact. After you have used the foot lead, then you can move up to the 22 or 45 foot lead. In some cases you may not want to start with the 12 or 14 foot rope, such as the above example of a scared or difficult horse.
IMPORTANT: Your power hand has to be held higher than the direction hand. Otherwise you look like a clothes line to the horse and you're just going to confuse him.
This is easier than it sounds. For example, if you want to longe your horse counter clockwise (to the left), use your left hand to ask for direction. Hold the lead rope with a little bit of pressure. Did your horse move into the direction that you asked? Twirl the rope overhand directed at the horses rear. Did the horse move off?
also need to be able to longe from above the horse. This will prepare
the horse for the time that you are sitting above him in the saddle. The
easiest way to do this is off of a wood fence or arena wall. Make sure
that your legs are anchored and you have unobstructed access to the horse.
Your goal should be to longe the horse up and down the rail. At first
you will find this difficult because the horse will drift out from you because
they are not comfortable with your new height. With some time, you will
find that you can bring the horse right up to you.
The splice is sewn so that it won't unravel.
There is some risk involved in horse training for both you and the horse. Horses can cause serious injury. Be sensible and dont attempt anything that is outside your comfort level. This information is intended to illustrate how we apply our training techniques, you are responsible for using this information wisely. If you dont feel comfortable with your abilities or an exercise, dont do it! Seek advice or assistance from a professional horse trainer. Stay on the "high side of trouble".
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Updated Sept. 2012