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Tuesday Tip – Long Lining & Ground Driving

Sometimes we use the terms long lining and ground driving interchangeably, but actually they are two different things.

Long Lining/Long Reining

Long lining is when we use two long lines attached to our horse’s bridle or halter to practice arena work. Long lining can be used to help our horses become more flexible as well as improving the different gaits.

Most of the time people will have a surcingle on their horse when practicing long lining. They will run the long lines through the rein turrets on the surcingle saddle. In some cases, it is highly recommended to do so, because it will create a line from the bit to the turret that is more correct for the horse to use it’s body correctly.

Other times it is recommended to run the line through the rings on the surcingle that are more along sides of the horse. This is a great technique for horses that are green and just learning to long line. By running the lines alongside them we have a bit more control of the hind end, which helps us keep the horse moving in a straight line, and also helps us to keep them from turning and facing us.

Andy Marcoux has some wonderful long lining online classes you can sign up for. Here is a link to a blog where he talks about his journey to learning how to long line: My Long, Long Lining Lining Story.

Books about long lining:

Long Reining with Double Dan Horsemanship

Long-Reining: From the Beginning Through the Levade

Horse Training In Hand: A Modern Guide to Working from the Ground

Chimacum Tack sells a nice long lining kit. This kit comes with an english bridle,  a surcingle with lots of ring options as well as rein turrets and a back strap with 3 straps which provides more stability. You also have a choice between a treed surcingle or a treeless. It comes with the elastic style girth. This kit also comes with a set of 1/4″ diameter yacht rope long lines. These long lines are 18′ long, a nice length for the miniature horse. They are lightweight and yet have a good feel to them, which allows you to communicate better with your pony. For the large horses/draft horses we can get a larger diameter long line in a 22′ long length.

Ground Driving

So what is ground driving then? Ground driving is when you take your horse or pony out into the world and direct them from behind. This is what Zorro and I do a TON of. I always revert to ground driving in between driving him in the cart. (We also do practice long lining. I do lots of that when I am helping him with a body issue.)

I love ground driving because you can do this when hiking on trails, walking on the road, out in your pasture and in the arena. I will set up obstacle courses and practice all kinds of things; manuever around cones, jump jumps, cross bridges, go over tarps, etc.

Ground driving is typically used when training driving horses. This is one of the first steps people do in preparation for pulling a cart.

You can do ground driving with a riding saddle, a surcingle or even without any tack on their back. I will often ground drive in a side pull bitless bridle, a halter or his driving bridle. Sometimes I ground drive with my 18′ long lines, sometimes I ground drive with my 11′ rope driving lines and sometimes I ground drive with ONE 10′ lead rope.

There is a wonderful group of people on Facebook that do both long lining and ground driving. If you are interested in doing more of either of these things and want a little encouragement and direction I highly suggest joining their group!

Long Line Horsemanship

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