Long and Low

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Long and Low

This is a discussion on Long and Low within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Trotting horse long and low
  • Acheiving the long and low frame

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    03-03-2011, 03:50 AM
Green Broke
Long and Low

So I've been told to do long and low and I really think Sam would benefit from it. I get what everyone means when the say long and low but I don't know how to get your horse to do it. The only thing I can think of is having the reins completely loose and ask the horse to move forward. But if I did that my horse would probably speed up and hold his head like he usually does. I have seen him collect himself up very nicely out in the paddock but I want to try doing long and low work with him to encourage him to stop carrying his head high when he goes faster then a walk but I think I might have the wrong idea. If that didn't confuse anyone I would love some advice thanks.
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    03-03-2011, 03:56 AM
Let the horse make the mistake of breaking gait before you slow him down. Otherwise the horse doesn't learn how to maintain gait, just learns how to be micromanaged.
    03-03-2011, 04:17 AM
Green Broke
Alright so I just do as I kind of described above then if he say go into a canter instead of maintaining the trot I bring him back to a trot and continue.
    03-03-2011, 04:28 AM
That would work. If I were trotting on a lose rein and the horse started to canter I would take them all the way to a backup then if theres time stand still and wait for a short while, but just taking them back to a trot will suffice. Though they won't learn it as fast as taking them to a walk, standstill or backup.
    03-03-2011, 04:32 AM
Green Broke
Ok thanks I'll try this with him when I ride next!
    03-03-2011, 04:38 AM
If it looks like a battle between you and the horse with the reins then somethings going wrong. If that's the case i'd work on just backing from a standstill using the same aid you use for downward transitions. Then walk backup transitions, then trot backup transitions, then canter backup transitions, then gallop backup transitions, and before you know it you'll just have to pick up the reins without making much contact at all and the horse will know exactly what to do. Same can be achieved if you ride english, just use the appropriate slowing/backing aid.
    03-03-2011, 04:44 AM
Green Broke
It can sometimes be like that so I'm not going t be suprised if it ends up like that. Today I just walked, stopped and backed. At first I was relying on the reins a lot but by the end simply saying woah was almost enough I barely had to use my reins, the challange with him will be the faster gaits. Because he gets all excited and braces against you and doesn't want to stop. He is slowly improving though I just have to work my way up through the paces.
    03-03-2011, 04:54 AM
I am going to tell you what worked with my mare though I don't know if it is the 'correct' way of achieving long and low.

So my mare loves to be a giraffe, she trots really quickly and sticks her head up in the air and generally goes around rather tense and unresponsive. So I decided that long and low (and relaxing) would be a great thing to teach her. My mare doesn't like to be slowed down with rein pressure and doesn't like someone trying to pull her into a false headset with the reins so I approached teaching her long and low like this:

I kept a very light contact with the reins but held my hands slightly wider apart and lower down than normal - to try and encourage her to drop her head and go forward to seek the contact. And then I just started trotting her. And trotting her and trotting her. I regulated her speed using my seat but asked that she kept trotting and trotting (she wasn't allowed to go faster than a standard trot but nor was she allowed to walk). Eventually, she got tired or just happened to drop her head (and I made sure my hands went with her to allow her to drop her head freely) and the moment she dropped her head, I asked to her to walk (thereby rewarding her by not making her work anymore).

For the beginning few rides, whenever she dropped her head (even if it was two strides in which she quickly learnt to do) I would bring her back to a walk and allow her to relax. Once she started dropping her head almost immediately once asked to trot, I asked her to maintain her head low for a quarter to half of a circle and then rewarded her with walking (but only if she kept her frame long and low for that half a circle). Now I'm progressing to full circles with her and she really has changed her entire way of going.

Its just important, in the beginning, to reward often so they understand what you want from them. But that's just how I approached it so hopefully you can get something useful out of it.
    03-03-2011, 05:00 AM
Green Broke
Thanks that's quite similar to what my boy does this will probably help a lot.
    03-03-2011, 12:17 PM

I have been doing the same thing as you with my mare and it seems to be working well. The only difference is that if my mare got speedy and broke into a canter, I would NOT slow her with the reins at all. I would slow my body and take the circles in smaller and smaller until she, herself, broke back into a trot. Then it was back to the whole arena. She would start slowing herself and lowering her head and using her body more.

Now I have started pushing her more as she relaxes and starts to go long and low. Slowly starting to take up contact and ask her to move into the bridle a little more while she is still using her body.

I have noticed that she does like to pull and try to brace on the bit sometimes still while I try to take up contact (probably because she is used to a looser rein for the long and low work). When she does this I just try and redirect her and get her flexing laterally so she cannot brace.

Seems to be working well for the time being but if anyone else has any suggestions for a "better" way of having her start to collect I would appreciate it!

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