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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been learning the basics of long reining on the older broke horses but it's left me wondering about the greenies. Would you ground drive a horse before you ride?
My thoughts are if you teach the horse the basics of bit pressure then start from the saddle you have a better feel for the horses mouth, and on the long line your further away and as the back legs move it harder to keep constant proper contact. But long reining allows for the horse to move with the bit before he has to learn to balance a rider.

So what would you do?
 

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I'm a big fan of long reining. HOWEVER, unless you can do it gently and properly, it's best avoided. I've used long reining to mouth a horse, and it works well. It's a way of knowing that your horse listens to the bit, particularly when it comes to the brakes, before you go getting on. Riding a horse that doesn't stop makes about as much sense as driving a car with no brakes.
 

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If you're really good at it then do it, I think it can be super useful, but if you're not think hard. It's easy to mess up and easy to achieve nothing. I usually do a little bit stuff which is just walking along the horse, holding the reins from the ground (one hand over the saddle) and teaching them halt with rein pressure. But only the basics and that's it. Then all in the saddle.
 

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I have been ground driving horses for more than 50 years. I think it is very important that horse knows how to go forward when asked, how to turn (follow its nose) and how to stop. I even ground drive over and through obstacles like large fallen trees, up and down steep hills and through water. I am more concerned about good forward impulsion than anything, closely followed by stopping and turning when lightly asked.

I also think technique is very important. When I first started ground driving, I saw huge problems with using the stirrups -- after all, your hands are never going to be using the reins from there and using a point that low pulls down on the horse's mouth and encourages it to bend its neck in the wrong place. It also teaches a horse to stop (and frequently turn) on its front end.

I experimented with a lot of different ways to keep the reins where I wanted them and settled on using big rings (2 or 3 inch) tied to the back rigging rings on a stock saddle. I found that this teaches proper head carriage and also teaches a horse to bend its entire body and not just its neck. We probably have 6 or 8 saddles around here with rings tied into the back rigging. They also come in handy for tying stuff on the saddle on trail rides.

Just like with riding, it is important to not let a horse 'over-bend' or 'rubber-neck'. It is important to not let a horse 'stall out' or refuse to go forward. All of the same rules apply as when riding only you have the advantage of having your feet on the ground so you cannot be carried where you don't want to go.

We go back to ground driving with every spoiled horse and I drive every new horse so I can get a feel for the horse before exposing myself to any problems.
 

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I long line all my horses, because they are being trained to drive. Teaching a new one to accept all this is challenging, to say the least. More athletic(younger) people may not find it as challenging, lol.

Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK I'm starting to get the idea (thank god the horses are patient with me). So one of my instructors first had me use a somewhat loose side rein on the outside and the lunge line run through the surcingle on the inside - both attached to the upper rings. Do you do this with a youngster before long lining or is this after he learns to deal with more bit contact?
 
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