Lesson Recap: Longeing

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Our new longe.

So I learned how to longe a few lessons ago.

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Longeing a baby Rob. She was three here!

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.

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No reason to keep the side-reins so low! Robbye’s a big girl now – she can learn how to work with them at rein position.

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.

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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!

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8 thoughts on “Lesson Recap: Longeing

  1. i don’t think there’s ever a bad time to go back to some basics – as there’s always new and important lessons to be gleaned. Robbye looks great in those photos – it’ll be excited to see it all translate under saddle!

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  2. Basics are so important! I’m planning on spending an hour today primarily at the walk to fix some of our own holes. Robbye looks absolutely gorgeous, all shiny and muscled and dapply 🙂

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  3. I recently had to fix a bunch of holes in my lunging too! I had developed naughty habits like not making Murray stop on the lunge! Robbye is definitely looking quite beautiful. 🙂

    I personally like to keep side reins down lower, as I prefer the stretching topline that gets. But that’s what I have to work on!

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    1. I had the same thoughts about keeping the side reins low to build muscle. But at this point, Robbye has enough muscle to do what I need her to do – it’s a training issue now (she doesn’t want to give her jaw to the reins). And moving the side reins up has helped that issue immensely.

      I love trainers. And useful tools. And training. Amazing how such a simple thing can accomplish different tasks for different people and horses 🙂

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  4. Over the winter I had a groundwork/lunging lesson and it was SO helpful! No shame in going back and learning or reminding yourself of the basics.

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