How Do I Long Rein/Drive My Horse?

As requested by you all,  read below all about how I long rein Dante, or as the majority of the world likes to call it “Driving your horse”.

You may have guessed that I am new to this, so what I have written below is a guide from what I have learned over the last few days, my perspective on how to do it.

I hope you enjoy, and take this as a warning, your arms will be like jelly afterwards! I am just about able to type. And yes incase you notice, the majority of the pictures you are correct I am wearing my pyjamas!! 

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Equipment Needed

2 x Lunge Ropes, a roller, padding under your roller if required, a bridle with a snaffle bit, & a saddle depending on your chosen lunging option & last but not least a lead rope. 

To long rein you horse, you can do it two different ways

Option 1 You can tack your horse up fully, bridle & saddle. Using your two lunge lines,Photo 16-08-2018, 22 56 40 thread them through your stirrups & attach them to the bit on either side.  To keep the stirrups secure,  tie your two stirrups together with a lead rope by threading it around one stirrup, put it under your horses stomach and looping it around the stirrup on the other side securing it with a knot. This stops your stirrups from flapping around or moving back & forward while you are long reining/driving. 

Photo 16-08-2018, 21 21 30Option 2 Just like above, except instead of tacking your horse up fully, put your horses bridle on, and instead of a saddle put your roller on. Using your two lunge lines again thread them through the bottom loop on either side of your roller (halfway between withers & your horses stomach) & attach them to the bit on either side.

Steps For Long Reining/Driving Your Horse

  1. Start of by tacking up with your chosen option as listed above.
  2. Hold the left lunge line in your left hand and your right lunge line in your right, start of by standing at least a horse & a half’s distance behind your horse. (Just incase he kicks!)
  3. As if you were lunging your horse, pick up a light but firm contact on the lunge lines & ask your horse to walk forward by telling them to “walk on” or a command that your horse is used to hearing. 
  4. Feed out the lunge lines as he moves forward still allowing a gentle but firm contact through both lunge lines.
  5. As you get the feel for your horse, don’t be afraid to start turning your horse getting them to bend and flex on both their left & right side. The more they do, the more flexible your horse will become.
  6. After mastering the walk, start to practice walk to Halt transitions. This will also keep your horse from anticipating their work. To do this, give your horse  a voice command he is used to, such as “whoa,”  & gently give a pull on both lunge lines at the same time, apply this pressure to the lines until he comes to a complete stop. Once he does, always make sure to Reward him by releasing the pressure and a voice command of “good boy”
  7. It is cruel to be kind sometimes, so don’t be afraid to give your horse a tap of one of the lines on the bum if they are hesitant to move forward! You want them working themselves not slumming around in a lazy walk.
  8. If you are feeling brave or should I say, if you trust your horse is capable of trotting try asking them to trot using the same technique as if you were asking your horse to walk on, be careful not to pull on their mouths too much as they take off. If you feel like running behind your horse is too much, you can use the lunge lines to circle your horse with you standing in the middle.
  9. Finishing up, direct your horse back to the yard or in my case the archway outside his stable. You should always make your horse stands still without him moving until he is untacked unless you instruct them to move otherwise. This is something that will benefit you massively with small things such as mounting & dismounting. 

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Additional Tips to go by:  

  • If your horse hasn’t done this before, I would recommend that you start with a quick lunge beforehand,  ease them into it. 
  •  Use your inside lunge line to give your horse directions & use the outside lunge line to push him forward
  •  Don’t be afraid to play around with the bit in your hands this will help soften their mouths
  • Keep an eye on your lunge lines, don’t let them drag behind you or loop too low, last thing you want is to trip over.  
  •  Use a snaffle bit ONLY. This exercise is all about softening your horses mouth, anything other than a snaffle will harden them
  •  If you are unsure have someone walk along side you on the ground, even better if it is someone with experience that can guide you through everything.

So there you have it, how you long rein or as most people like to call it drive your horse. It is a great basic exercise that can be done with any horse at any age, it is certainly not just for breakers.

Sometimes bringing your horse back a few steps or going back to basics will help fine tune them that bit more! The good thing about this exercise is that you can do it anywhere you wish, well within reason!

So go get out, walk around your yard, in your arena if you are allowed or out in the field, the benefits are massive, and don’t be to hard on yourself about technique either, always remember that practice makes perfect! I barely done this before and even at that I was helping or watching, so it is like a new learning curve even for myself.

I hope you enjoyed, if you have any tips or tricks you have of your own be sure to share them, I could do with them all! 


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