I long lined tonight.
Chance was first, and it's evident he is very anxious about the whole affair. He definitely does not like the rein contact when he first starts out and spends a good deal of the time tossing hie head and trying to escape it.
This is one advantage and disadvantage to the lines as compared to riding. Long lines create a bit of a "remote control" situation with a solid grounding for the handler. It allows me to keep a good hold without getting pulled about by the horse's shenanigans so that I can keep a steady contact. On the other hand, it also limits how quickly I can give the horse a release for a correct response as my hands are farther away from his mouth than if I were in the saddle.
It is a tricky balance to keep the contact enough to make the horse work into the bit without being so strong that it either shuts him off or yanks him around if he starts to fight.
Chance is currently either running into the reins or over bending to escape taking the proper contact. He tends now to go too fast when he loses his balance because he is resisting the bit. But, in between, when he accepts the contact, he is really quite lovely. I was pleased that he managed to take the right lead more often than not with three correct departures in a row the signal that we needed to change rein. Still, his canter on the right lead is fast and he is not at all well balanced yet. But, there is a significant improvement over the last time, so that is a big plus.
Again, when I switched him from right to left I had to start all over again as if he had forgotten how to carry himself on that rein. But in the end he was better on the left and settled into some pretty good work. I will be keeping him on the lines until he steadies up and settles in on both sides before I do much more riding.
Tucker was not the most cooperative on the lines either, but his problems started by his not going forward. It is nearly impossible to get the correct contact when the horse is not forward, so I had to work on that first. I did a long series of canter/trot/canter transistions to get him working well.
That seemed to fix things on both reins until, on the right, he bolted around me at a mad gallop. Something was rustling in the woods by the ring gate to set him off.
Well, I must say whatever the mysterious noisy critter was, it did get Tucker to elevate himself so that we ended on a nice forward, up, and engaged trot. Not exactly the best way to get him to carry himself, but whatever works.....
All and all it wasn't the best training days I've ever had, but I did accomplish something with each horse, and each little step is one more on the road to success.