View Full Version : Long Reining
11th Feb 2004, 01:16 PM
I am trying to bring on my 3 year old gelding using Natural Horsemanship principles. Although I'm not using any single method (ie Parelli) I use some of their ideas, along with those of Michael Peace and Kelly Marks etc.
So far he is able to go backwards, forwards and sideways quite smoothly and we've done a fair bit of rope circling. The next step I thought should be long reining. Here is where our big problems start. He goes into a panic if he feels a rope around the back of his hocks. For the last 2 months, I have been trying nearly every day to get him used to this, but although he is now calm about being rubbed with ropes and having ropes dangled all over him he just can't seem to accept the idea of a rope round his hocks. He is quite happy to be touched and groomed there, and doesn't have a problem with the leg straps on his rugs.
Do you think that long reining is an essential part of his training? Most of the books I've read think it is. This is really holding up our progress. How about long reining with the lines going over his back rather than behind him? Or should I just carry on trying to desensitise him? Does anyone have any ideas that might help us?
11th Feb 2004, 01:24 PM
Perhaps if you teach him long reining with the reins over his back first and continue with the desensitization around his hocks. Pablo our big cob was very stick and rope shy but after a while doing the Parelli friendly game is so much improved. You do need to take things very slowly and steadily and build it up gradually, however I would imagine you will get there in the end as he is ok with leg straps etc. I would keep at the friendly game around his back end until he is completely unpreturbed even if you flap it at his hocks. We have found this to work really well with Pablo, he was very frightened of the saddle but after ages with the friendly game using it we can now throw it on, slap it around, bounce about beside it etc etc and he is totally unbothered.
I would use longreining as it gets them used to the reins and the 'rider' being behind them. However I don't see that the reins over his back rather than behind him will hurt at all for a while. I have driving ponies and mine learn to long rein both ways.
11th Feb 2004, 01:37 PM
Have you done the stuff where you take the rope around their feet, pull to have them lift their legs and then gradually work your way up the leg - moving to the pastern, hock, flank?
I do this working in a round pen (medium sized enclosed area), have the horse haltered with a lead attached, and use another longer heavy lead to wrap it around his hind legs. I stand by his front shoulder so he can see what Im doing. As always with desensitizing, slow and steady wins the race. I'd say keep working with the desensitization. If he's worried about the ropes more than he's worrying about the long line lesson, not too much will get through to him anyway.
Long lining is an extremely important step in training young horses, IMO. It helps them learn to sort out rein and voice aids wihtout the added weight and stress of a rider on their back.
Remember, as they say, as many tiny steps you can take to get to the final goal will get you there faster in the long run ;)
11th Feb 2004, 03:00 PM
Originally posted by Esther.D
Perhaps if you teach him long reining with the reins over his back first and continue with the desensitization around his hocks.
It's handy to have a surcingle that you can slip the reins through. If you don't have one then you can use a saddle with english-type stirrups. Run the stirrups up and tie them in place, then slide the long lines through the stirrups.
Good luck with both the long lining and getting him desensitised about his hocks :)
11th Feb 2004, 03:22 PM
Good point Galadriel - I was assuming Cobby was using a surcingle/saddle already (I always use one, I forget that not everyone else does!), if not then it certainly helps when you are long reining with the reins over their back.
12th Feb 2004, 01:26 PM
Thanks for all your replies - I had a secret hope that you'd all say "ah well, forget long lining, it's not important" but I knew that wasn't going to happen!
I have got a training surcingle with loops for the lines to go through. I'll have to press on with the desensitising work. It gets really frustrating when I've spent so much time on this, and I see other people who just put the lines on their horse and away they go with no hysterical behaviour - my boy is a bit of a drama queen to say the least. I'm sure he'll be worth all the effort in the long run - the very long run at this rate:rolleyes:
I think I'll try what you said, Esther, and start with the reins over his back and see what he thinks of that. I'm worried about frightening him and setting him back.
Tootsie - I've never heard of that thing about putting the rope around their feet and working up. That seems an excellent idea, and I'm going to start work on it tomorrow morning.
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