Long reining

Ample Prosecco

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I’ve been long reining Lottie as part of her rehab plan but I really don’t like it! Communication seems so difficult. I’ve got crude contact through long, cumbersome reins, and voice and that’s about it. No body language, no energy, no touch, no leg. I got into a bit of bother yesterday long reining. I’ve started trotting which was fine away from home but turning back I wanted her to walk and she wanted to jog/trot. Same issue as under saddle but I had far more options under saddle to explain what she needed to do. On the long reins all I had was the rein which she was resistant to.

If I came up to her head she connected beautifully to me and stayed calmly in walk matching me stride for stride and slowing/stopping if I did. But when I encourage her to move on past me (as I do when loading for example) as soon I was behind her the connection disappeared and I became this annoying irrelevance behind her trying to slow her through the reins while she ignored me or got cross with me. she did listen to the reins but it was not exactly harmonious!

I know some people communicate to a very high level from the ground or when driving. But how? I felt all my tools for letting her know what I wanted were redundant. Tips welcome please!
 

Birker2020

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I’ve been long reining Lottie as part of her rehab plan but I really don’t like it! Communication seems so difficult. I’ve got crude contact through long, cumbersome reins, and voice and that’s about it. No body language, no energy, no touch, no leg. I got into a bit of bother yesterday long reining. I’ve started trotting which was fine away from home but turning back I wanted her to walk and she wanted to jog/trot. Same issue as under saddle but I had far more options under saddle to explain what she needed to do. On the long reins all I had was the rein which she was resistant to.

If I came up to her head she connected beautifully to me and stayed calmly in walk matching me stride for stride and slowing/stopping if I did. But when I encourage her to move on past me (as I do when loading for example) as soon I was behind her the connection disappeared and I became this annoying irrelevance behind her trying to slow her through the reins while she ignored me or got cross with me. she did listen to the reins but it was not exactly harmonious!

I know some people communicate to a very high level from the ground or when driving. But how? I felt all my tools for letting her know what I wanted were redundant. Tips welcome please!
I've been rehabbing my new horse (long story) in draw reins but with the aid of a pessoa which I find easier to use. I also use a lunge whip to send him forward if he is going to slow.

I also use the pessoa of flat/raised trotting poles and raised walk poles. I have just bought some 50ft long reins but find communication is lost if they are too long so I am literally a horses length behind him now. We walk around the outside of the buildings so it takes us probably 80 seconds per lap.

Obviously on the lunge I try and make the circle as big as possible but again I find sending him forward (he struggles partly to due to his condition) is hard work if the circle is too big. I am alternating long reining with lunging every day to try and build up strength.
 

Goldenstar

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I would try what I call walking lunging you train the horse to walk six to eight feet away from you with you opposite the shoulder .
I do this a lot and do all rehabbing like this you quickly get an eye for keeping the horse straight and steering it onto a curve I do lots of pole work like this as well .
I can’t trot like this but someone fit could .
 

meleeka

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Driving horses are very well trained to the voice, more so than a lot of ridden horses. My old mare is an ex driving horse and responds far better to my voice than any aids I give her. She also has the most responsive mouth I’ve ever known, which surprised me somewhat as her previous owner was the type of person who lives in a caravan. I’m not that good at long reining so it doesn’t go particularly well. Keeping her in a straight line is difficult when any miniscule difference in contact on one rein sends her that way! She starts and stops and changes speed/pace solely on voice which is amazing In conclusion, I’d say it’s mainly down to voice commands rather than anything else.
 

scats

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I find long reining boring but I’m oddly good at it. I was taught very well with a horse I was backing when I was a teenager and it just clicked with me.
It does require some amount of training of the horse though, to get them to recognise the various pressures. They do not instantly recognise what the aids are for things, and it does differ a lot from being on board.

Polly can do a variety of lateral work on the lunge lines. She is a serial jogger, but I can get her to walk with my voice and mild resistance down the line. We switch to lunging throughout the session, and back again, which is why I find it such a valuable tool.
 

rara007

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Take it back a step, she should be responsive to your energy and body language. I do long rein with a whip so touch isn’t lost but admit that takes time to get useful. If she’s not listening she’s either over faced by the environment or rude! You can set the reins up as running reins if she’s really running through you or needs a lot of holding together but that doesn’t sound sensible at this point as you do then have a lot of leverage. Gradually work back from the point she’s still listening. That may be holding ridden reins over her withers at this point and that’ll make teaching lateral steps easier too and you can carry a schooling whip in your outside hand. I wouldn’t particularly focus on her keeping in step unless you’re a very quick Walker!
 

Littlebear

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I have done it a lot and would recommend buying a proper set of long reins (if you haven't already), part of the kerfuffle can be holding all the knitting while you are trying to concentrate. I also try to do the bare minimum possible, say what you need to only, try and guide the direction changes, reward with your voice when it goes well.
The same as when you are riding but more importantly as you don't have your seat and legs, you need to remain calm and soft down the rein so they don't pick up your tension.
I also put side reins on (quite loose) if there is a possibility of head going down, snatching or any of that, it really makes a difference rather than having a tiff over anything. As rara007 said above you could also set up as running reins if your hands are good x
 

tristar

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i long rein only unbroken ones, i stay quite close to them, use shortish long reins, when i turn i mirror exactly the horses hips, ie keep directly behind the quarters and keep the same angle, but i always teach them all the voice aids first on the lunge, and always lunge before long reining, to assess mood and set the horse up by warming it up and getting its brain in gear, i also do lots of turning around obstacles and do teach halt and standing before trying to trot
 

Ample Prosecco

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Thanks for all the replies:
I think the problem is we were given a rehab plan to start immediately and she is not meant to lunge yet so I have sort of just got on with it. She is fine in the arena. I did make sure we had start/stop/steer indoors before venturing out. But it was when she wanted to go home that she stopped listening and I realised I was out of options in managing it.

I like the walking lunging suggestion by GS assuming I can keep her straight. She is very very good in hand if I am next to her. And then rara's suggestion of getting further and further back gradually. I just found it a bit awkward trying to manage her with one ropoe over the wither and keep her straight enough without being either right next to her - ie leading her - her diretly behind. Maybe I'll have someone at her head?
 

Alibear

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CAn you put her in shoulder-fore in the long reins so you make her work when she's trying to trot? Do you have enough room to turn and head back away from home when she starts up? Or circle? but I imagine that could be hard on a road.
 

Ample Prosecco

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CAn you put her in shoulder-fore in the long reins so you make her work when she's trying to trot? Do you have enough room to turn and head back away from home when she starts up? Or circle? but I imagine that could be hard on a road.
Yes that is exactly what I tried to do - the turning that is, not the shoulder fore - and is what I did under saddle. That's where the lack of communication came in. Under saddle, when she was walking nicely lots of different cues from me signaled 'right answer'. So quite quickly she understood. ON the long reins I spent a while circling and she just never came close to making the links between walk = well done you get to go home; trot = sorry you need to turn away from home!

The priority is her rehab plan and so in the end I stopped and just led her home instead of seeing it through. Though I am not sure she would ever really have got it. I just seemed not to be able to communicate what I wanted. I am not sure I will go out again on the long reins until she is fully recovered but will try and find another way.
 

I'm Dun

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Driving horses are very well trained to the voice, more so than a lot of ridden horses. My old mare is an ex driving horse and responds far better to my voice than any aids I give her. She also has the most responsive mouth I’ve ever known, which surprised me somewhat as her previous owner was the type of person who lives in a caravan. I’m not that good at long reining so it doesn’t go particularly well. Keeping her in a straight line is difficult when any miniscule difference in contact on one rein sends her that way! She starts and stops and changes speed/pace solely on voice which is amazing In conclusion, I’d say it’s mainly down to voice commands rather than anything else.
Yup as someone who used to drive it teaches you so much about things like long reining. Voice commands are important. Mine all new all sorts of words including left and right. They all had really soft mouths as well.

I find long reining easy and so useful. Its a constant conversation with the horse but with a still contact. I'm sitting here working out how to explain it and I cant.
 

ester

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I think I've mostly had the opportunity to watch people who are very good at it which helps - rara being one of them!

I found it more useful for rehabing than leading because I could influence his whole body (led he is a lazy beggar and won't use himself properly)
 

paddy555

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I love long reining, adore it. We long rein for miles. I think the thing that is lacking is voice communication. Before I put the long reins on they know how to walk in hand on a loose rein with voice commands to walk on, walk at a funeral march pace and speed up and down, go back, stand, trot and most important the emergency stop command.
I use short long reins which is far easier than the washing line collection of long lines.

lots of stops, starts, backs to get the horse listening. Lots of bending around barrels etc.

I think the situation you are at is a horse that is not trained to LR and you now want to LR her as part of the rehab. ie usefully LR her but she is still at the stage of learning to LR which is a skill for a horse to learn and one that does take time.
 

D66

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Get someone who is good and confident at long reining to do a few sessions so the horse knows what you are trying to achieve.
I had the same issue, that neither the horse nor I knew what to do. A trainer soon sorted that.
 

Skib

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A note to say that of all my riding lessons, the lessons in long reining (Serpentines in the school) were the hardest. And harder than a lesson in driving. I felt to have lost all contact with the mare.
 

Cob Life

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I love long reining. And have done a lot of it with one of the ponies, we used to go for miles! I was lucky that he had a very sensible head and never batted an eyelid at emergency vehicles, tractors, lorries etc.

I did used to carry a driving whip as the pony was fairly lazy, I did a lot of change of pace within the gait and lots of transitions to keep him focused on me like I would do when riding, he was also small enough that I could run fast enough to keep up with his canter when we hit grass (the neighbours must have thought I was mad)
 

Sprig

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If you are only really having problems once you turn for home can you set aside a decent amount of time for your session and if once you turn for home she isn't listening then head away from home again until she is listening to you. Rinse and repeat for as long as required. She should get the message pretty quickly that if she isn't going home politely then she isn't going home at all.
 

jhoward

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Yup as someone who used to drive it teaches you so much about things like long reining. Voice commands are important. Mine all new all sorts of words including left and right. They all had really soft mouths as well.

I find long reining easy and so useful. Its a constant conversation with the horse but with a still contact. I'm sitting here working out how to explain it and I cant.
Op have you considered a driving saddle to use.
It puts your reins in a totally different position, offering a different type of contact, you can then either walk beside a lot easier ( no reins round quarters) or walk behind.

If you horse is very sensitive it could also be the reins on her sides making her a bit more joggy as of course they will be making contact.

The driving saddle will remove this element, and your also find you have less flappy reins around the horse.

If your doing turns etc it can take a while to get to grips with your own body movements but it's well worth it.

If lunge reins are to long for you then go for driving reins which will be thinner and shorter.
 
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