So I learned how to longe a few lessons ago.
Like I mentioned in my last journal post, I feel like I’ve been going back to basics recently – learning a bunch of silly little things I feel like I should have learned in Pony Club. I wish I had been in Pony Club!
(For example – at the clinic on Sunday Adriene mentioned that I shouldn’t keep my hand in my crop’s loop, as a safety precaution. Which makes total sense.)
My main takeaway from the longe lesson is that I need to longe as a way to teach her how to move. Longeing is not just for getting the sillies out, or even for building muscle (the two uses I’ve always thought it had). I can do training on the longe!
I feel like an idiot again now – because of course you can train on the longe. But it simply hadn’t occurred to me.
So, my notes:
- Forward, forward, forward. And then more forward. At the walk, trot, and canter. FORWARD.
- Forward comes before rhythm. For now, as long as she’s moving her feet she’s good.
- I need to be insistent about my transitions asks. Like the forward thing, for now I shouldn’t worry about quiet cues. I need her to be submissive before I can perfect cues. If this means pulling her off balance to stop her, so be it. That’s part of the hole in our training.
- I don’t need to baby her any longer. She’s strong, fit, and grown. The side-reins can be tightened, they can be attached up at her withers, and she can work in them for longer than 15 minutes. I’m treating her like she’s green, but she’s passing that stage now!
- At all gaits, I need to start asking her to lift her front end and push with her hind. When she dives forward at the walk, I can physically lift the longe to ask her to lift her head, neck, and shoulders. At the trot, I can ask for more forward and then tug upwards to insist that she lift her shoulders. And it actually works! Her poll raises, her shoulder frees, and her weight moves to her hind. Amazing.
The day after our lesson, I took Robbye out for a short longe just to emphasize what we had learned the day before. Holy cow, did the lesson stick! Robbye was instantly forward, and she began to give to the bit after just a few minutes. She even maintained her new uphill trot for half a circle, which I’m delighted with.
Though it seems silly and I’m embarrassed to admit it, I’m really pleased that I took this lesson. I think it’s going to make a huge difference in our training.
Once we get the submission and attention down, it’ll be time to start working on lifting her front end under saddle. I can’t wait!