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If you have been around a barn, or attended a horse show you have probably seen a horse being longed. Longeing is when the handles stands in the center of a ring or work area, and asks the horse to move out around him/her. The handler can then ask the horse to perform tasks like changing gaits, turning, stopping etc.. Longeing a horse has many purposes in the equestrian world:
- Training young horses to understand cues.
- Teaching a young horse to carry tack.
- To exercising a horse who cannot be ridden.
- Exercising a horse instead of riding.
- Exercising a horse that has been in confinement.
- Warming a horse up before riding.
- Cooling a horse down after riding.
- Teaching riders better position without controlling the horse.
- Teaching a horse to cross obstacles.
- Allowing vaulters to perform on a longing horse’s back.
How to Longe Your horse
It is best to learn how to longe a horse using an experienced horse who understands the cues.1Outfit the horse in a well-fitted halter or lunging cavesson and a longe line. If your horse is wearing tack, make sure the stirrups will not be banging his sides. Take a lunge whip with you and lead your horse to a safe area for longing. 2Ask your horse to back away from you while you position yourself in the center of the working space with your belly button facing your horses hips. Point in either direction and tap the ground with the whip behind your horse. This will tell him to move in that direction. 3To speed your horse up, give a verbal cue, point, and tap the ground with the whip. Remember as soon as the horse does what you want, release the pressure. 4To ask your horse to slow down, say slowww, or whoaaa for a complete stop. Face your belly button in front of your horse and apply a little pressure to the line until your horse slows down or stops. 5To turn your horse, ask him to stop, point in the opposite direction and repeat all steps.
6As you and your horse get more comfortable with longing start to make it more fun, add obstacles like trot poles or small jumps. You can even try free longing in a round pen without a longe line.
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