Long Lining - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By churumbeque
  • 1 Post By PunksTank
  • 1 Post By Army wife
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-28-2012, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Long Lining

I feel like I'm missing something obvious. I've taught a number of horses to lunge/long line, I drive on a regular basis - ground and in a carriage. BUT...

I just started getting my mare to ground drive. Our first 'session' went incredibly well, it took her about 5 minutes to figure it all out. She knew how to give to her bridle before - and had been made accustomed to the surcingle, so she really only needed to connect all the dots.
The first time I didn't have any good long-line so I connected two of my reins, which both had quite heavy clips that pulled on her bridle (indian hackamore) - which she tolerated quite well until I tripped and yanked on her face >.< I was so focused where her feet were I forgot where mine were. After that she started tossing her head when I asked her to woah. So I practiced some woah goes (with as tiny cues as possible) and when she stopped head tossing at the woah I stopped.

Sooo... then we moved the very next day, and a week went by of getting used to our new world, then a week where she's been sick. She's still getting over being sick, but she does need some exercise so I decided to try again. It went Horrifically!
She just would not walk out straight, she would turn both directions but only with a hissy fit, she would halt and walk again but would NOT walk straight! she kept zig-zagging and wiggling and turning back around to face me, despite me pulling the opposite rein. Then I realized it was a problem with walking through one corner of her field, she's apparently scared of that area now, there was a ground hog there the other day, so now it's horrifying. So I hand walked her through it a number of times. Once she was over That issue I tried again, she would drive through it but only while jigging and dancing around and trying to turn back toward me and just plain old fussing. The only tack difference is that I got a lunge line and put light weight clips on it, so there was no more heavy clips pulling on her face.

I feel like I'm missing some obvious reason for this- but this has never happened before, they all walk out straight, it's the turning that typically stumps them (at least the horses I've worked with). I appreciate any ideas - I think I just need too look at it from another angle.

P.S. she was very upset about bugs and not feeling great, so it could have been she was just Not in the mood. But that's not really a good enough excuse to throw hissy fits about me asking her to walk quietly around her paddock - to me at least. I wasn't asking her to work at all more than what she was doing anyway.
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-28-2012, 07:50 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
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You are line driving. Long lining is when you have 2 reins and the horse goes in a circle around you like lunging.

Not sure if you are using a bit but it is important to have even contact on both reins. Also the riens should be low in a surcingle and the reins along her body help keep her straight.

When I loose contact on 1 side, say I am turning left and pulling left the horse doesn't really turn left unless I have contact on the right rein also. If I pick up contact on the right she gracefully turns left. So she is seeking contact on the other side. I use a mullen mouth for my work.
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-28-2012, 07:51 PM
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I'd guess that being upset about bugs, frightened of a ground monster(what exactly is a ground hog anyway??) & feeling off colour, she was probably too distracted to concentrate & be motivated to listen to you. I'd just go back to basics first when you next try.

Possibly stating the obvious to you as an experienced driver, or telling you something you know better about, because I've only made it up as I go along teaching horses to drive, but I have had a couple of horses who seemed to have big problems going straight & not turning.

How I've handled it is to first ensure they're desensitised to the feel of a rope around/over their rump(but they've also already learned well how to yield to pressure on wherever, rump included) and when I ground drive I have the 'reins' run through on the sides of the surcingle rather than up near wither and allow them to droop down around their hindquarters, keeping my hands low, so there's pressure on the rump as well as at their head when I ask for a turn/straighten. Kind of trying to have the effect of training shafts, that would 'block' the horse from turning.

It's worked for me, but if you reckon there's some reason not to do that kind of thing & you have a better suggestion, I'm all ears, because as I said, self taught without a mentor on the subject of driving.

....& OMG! I just googled 'ground hog' in another window - how utterly CUTE!
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-28-2012, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
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You know what that IS what I'm missing. I feel so dumb. I had gotten her desensitized to the surcingle, but the first time I line drove her (thanks for that correction, I don't know all the formal words :) I didn't have a surcingle! I just used her bridle and two reins connected, so the reins were resting along her sides. So when I steered her there WAS contact on her sides too, which she knows very well how to yield to pressure. The surcingle I put her in today holds the reins real high up over her back, so there was no real communication on her body, just her face!

Ugh thank you!

You're right Loosie, I think next time we'll just practice yielding and some easy lunging. I got quite frustrated with her (I haven't been feeling well either) and I think she's pretty upset with me know. :( I think we need to spend some time focusing and reinforcing the things we do well.

thank you both this makes so much more sense xD

ETA: yes! aren't they adorable? Tank thinks they're pretty horrifying, but he looks like a giant guinea pig xD I like him, I don't like his wholes though, all over my property just waiting to twist my pony's ankles. I've been going around covering the ones in paddocks with big rocks.
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-31-2012, 06:29 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
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First time I "line drove" my filly (I call it long lining too,) she did awesome. Second time, just like you said...she zig zagged and was all kinds of confused for about 10 mins. I've learned that that's when they're learning. Not when they get it correct right off the bat, but when they try the wrong thing and you show them the right thing. It can be very confusing for a horse. They really have no direction, like you leading them. Don't give up. keep trying. but make sure she can follow her nose before you get behind her. I do that first thing! Helps them, gives them a better chance at succeeding.
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