Long reining today

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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Surrey Hills
I am bringing Ziggy and myself back into work. Long reining seems ideal to build up both our fitnesses and he is good at it, so why not.

Today we went out for an hour with his boots on. Along our lane, past the millionaire's house project with its huge cranes and pile drivers - not a blink. Up the lane as good as gold. Onto the heath and we have a few little disagreements about eating heather and turning off the path where you think there might be a shortcut that leads home - but generally very good, coping well with being asked to stand while I stop & chat to a lady leading her retired chestnut Arab mare, dealing with spookiness like new grit bins and wheelie bins left all over the road because it is bin day. A bit hurried once we get past the half way mark but nothing serious, and a nice easy walk home along Green Lane - roads are much easier for the long reining po than bridlepaths.

What I really like about the long reins are:
  • I can watch his feet and see that his boots are ok and whether he is tracking up;
  • I can see his way of going really well, generally it was good today with head low and working well from behind up the hills;
  • he doesn't seem to find it even a little bit tiring (unlike me);
  • I love people's reactions, from "loose horse! oh - sorry" to "Goodness me, is he a circus pony?"

On the down side:

  • it's hard to prevent him napping by swinging to the side, as I have the reins through the top rings on his roller so applying an aid to turn him back onto the track I want seems to stop him completely (which is what he wants, of course);
  • my steering is pretty crap generally.

Any suggestions for improving steering gratefully received!

He does seem quite to enjoy it, head low and ears pricked throughout. Whee!
 

Wally

Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2000
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Practice, practice, practice! :D

The most important thing with a driving horse is make him go forwards at all times. reinback is something you need to be careful with in driving horses. A horse that gets in the habit of avoiding things by backing up is no use in shafts.

If you can keep him going forwards when he's thinking of napping you be able to keep him straighter. A forward thinking horse for driving makes the job so much easier.
 

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
19,271
7,239
113
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Surrey Hills
Thanks Wally. It's very difficult to get Ziggy to do anything other than forwards. He even naps forwards, just in the direction he wants to go rather than me...:redface:

Thank you for the warning about backing up though, I will be careful. And carry on practising!
 
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