Monday, June 29, 2009

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

Long Lining on a Summer Morning

Not too bad out again this morning, and that's after 9 AM. I headed out after breakfast--mine and the Boys'--to do something worthwhile.

I decided long lining would be a good option. That way, I could see how the Boys were going and also make some physical demands without the added stress of a rider in their backs.

Tucker started out quite erratically. I don't know if flies were bothering him, or if the turkey drinking from the puddles at the other end of the arena was too exciting, or if Toby and Chance's galloping off was the trigger, or whether it was just general nonsense about having to work when he'd rather be romping. At any rate, there was some bucking, galloping, and in general...I'm not on the bit.

I decided what I needed as a steady outside rein, so I brought him in and "veed" the outside line by running it through the top ring, through the bit and then to a lower ring. That gave it a lot of leverage, but also a good steady "feel" without my needing to hold it strongly. It worked a treat.

We had some absolutely lovely work on both reins. Tucker was forward, relaxed, and working into a good solid upper level frame without any fuss or bother. We had an exceptional session. I did give him several breaks on a long rein, of course, as staying up like that does require a lot of work for him at this point in his fitness level.

Chance, curiously enough, required the exact opposite rigging. I tried the outside vee on him and he fought it determinedly, threatening to rear up several times. I finally veed the rein on the inside and that solved the problem. It took quite a bit more effort on my part to get him to stretch down into the bit, still. It's pretty clear he still does not quite understand that giving to the rein is more comfortable than resisting.

But, once he settled into a working frame, giving to the bit, and working all the way through to his hind end, he looked gorgeous! He really is a nice mover and never hesitates to engage his hind end. When he stays forward as he was today, he looks as if he is going to develop some suspension in his trot when he learns to collect. At 15.3 h, he is not the big dramatic dressage horse we have come to expect seeing in the shows around here, but darn it, he certainly wants to move like one.

I may never show him, though, as I seem to have lost my ambition in that direction. I might consider a schooling show down the line, or I might not. Right now, it's just fun training him and watching him develop his potential.

So lunge, ride, long line...variety in training. Another good idea, I think.


  1. When training, we always do a variety of things too. It breaks up the boring ritual of pounding the same thing into them day after day. I feel that no matter what you do, even if it's a trail ride you're still working on something and they are always learning

    I'm with you too about showing, I have no plans to show anymore, but you never know, maybe a small schooling show once in a while might be fun just for the experience it gives the horses.

  2. Anonymous3:40 PM

    I like the way you mix things up - I agree that it's important to have some variety - it keeps the horses interested and alert, and makes us think of new ways to approach things. You've given me an idea of a way to work on Maisie's forward in turns - I'll do some ground driving using the poles I've already set up! Thanks!

  3. not sure i quite grasp what you did with the lines (I tend to need a picture...) ... but glad it worked!

  4. Jean,
    As I don't ride enough to do anything but damage to the young ones psyche, I've thought that long lining may be a good alternative to bring the young ones along until we get situated in upstate; especially Happy (understanding that as a yearling there will be very little work) as I envision utilizing him for about anything and everything a horse could be used for - problem is I don't have experience long-lining and would consider myself no better than an 'adequate' longer, however; they may have to suffer through my beginning long lining phase with me. I saw a great video showing Clay Maier working a Fresian that I thought was PHEE-NOM-EENAL!! Truly something to aspire to.
    I would focus mostly on the boys, 8yr old Danny who knows commands, has been under saddle, longed, long lined, etc (perhaps my guinea pig), 3yr olds who have had in hand work and some longeing experience, and Happy, as well as Happy's mama Chloeana, who supposedly has been ridden & driven, though I don't know that for sure.
    So a question . . I've got the tack for it, I've got some video examples (some that are instructional in nature) and I've got the ambition . . . without someone here to watch over my shoulder, any tips?????