Long-lining: A forgotten art!

I often hear people talk about lunging their horse but hardly ever hear about long-lining. People often associate long-lining with starting young horses or to re-train horses, which it is a very useful tool for such a job. However does this mean it is something that should be put back in the closet when the horse is older? In my opinion definitely not.

I have to admit I am not a great fan of lunging for several reasons. I find it immensely boring, my horses look bored and I also don’t think I have met a horse that looks like they are enjoying themselves and some that are quite anxious. Circles, you can only do circles lunging, which sometimes just isn’t appropriate for all horses especially those being rehabbed. I will admit gadgets can be added to help the horse work better but often these can be misused. So I would much prefer to long-line a horse than lunge it and here is why.

  • Long-lining is more versatile– You can work in straight lines, add curves, circles, halts, half halts and lateral work. You can use poles, cavalettis and jumps. Work in all gaits and you are not restricted to working in a school or lunge pen. You can go on a long-lining hack or build a course that works on what your horse needs
  • Improves biomechanics and performance– You can use the rein contact to steer and balance your horse creating more symmetry while working
  • Identify movement dysfunction or imbalances– You can see and feel how your horse is moving, unlike when ridden (you can only feel). You can look at pelvic rotation, hoof placement from behind and back movement and tracking from both sides. This allows you to work on areas that your horse is finding harder such as left bend and see how they progress.
  • Builds a stronger relationship with your horse– Using the aids and your voice allows you to develop a better understanding of each other. The use of pressure release also develops a way of praising and rewarding your horse
  • Great rehabilitation tool- The versatility allows you to work at the correct pace for your horse with the gradual addition of more complex and demanding tasks, while also creating more mental stimulation for your horse. Which is why it is also useful when bringing a horse back into work.

There are probably other advantages to long-lining but these are the main ones. Long-lining might not be for everyone but if you don’t know how I would highly recommend you learn. It will give you more options when working with your horse and its quite good fun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: