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April 19, 2008

Tangled While Longeing

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

Hi Cherry,

I am 15 years old and I am doing a young horses ground work for the first time. I LOVE to work with the younger ones so a can watch as the improve through out the months :)

I have a 2, coming 3 yo Oldenburg filly and I have her lungeing inside the round pen, out side the pen, ground driving really well! I have just saddled her up and lunged her for the 2nd or 3rd time today (but she isn't getting backed for several more months) she had a couple of bucks at the canter but nothing huge anything.

So today I was lungeing her with her saddle on, and all was going fine and then this worker that was working next to my house turned on something that spooked my horse and she jumped causing the lunge line to get caught on her leg while she was trying to get away from the noise. I could have held on to her if the lunge line was not tangled. So she galloped back to the barn. I got her and pet her and she didn't seem very upset so I took her into a quieter area and lunged her walk trot for about 5 minutes, she actually did really good. So we ended on a positive note :)

What I wanted to ask you is do you think that I did the right thing? She really didn't seem shook up and neither was I. It wasn't a scary or bad experience for me I just wanted to make sure that I did the right thing for her :)

Sorry, I did not mean to write so much, but thank you for taking the time to read this :)

~Ashley~

Hi Ashley,

I just received your letter today because you sent it to our webmaster instead of to me at Ask Cherry. If you have questions in the future, please use the instructions on this page

Ask Cherry

which explains how to research your question on our site and then tells you how to ask a question. Then it will come directly to me. One more tip - Be sure to always put a subject on your email. The subject line of your email was blank, so I titled it "Tangled While Longeing".

Now !! On to your question.

To me, it sounds like you did exactly the right thing. It seems like you were longeing out in the open, so that is why she was able to get back to the barn. In some cases, it is best to let go rather than risk injuring the horse or you. Of course, if you had been longeing in a round pen or arena, and you had to let go because your horse was tangled, you would do the same thing as you did. Wait until your horse had settled and then go up to her, calm her, untangle her legs, and then resume the work.

Longeing and Long Lining the Western HorseIt is admirable that you are working her out in the open because you will have to ride her out in the open eventually. But when you longe or drive a horse out in the open, escape is the inherent risk. One tip that I have to give you is to teach your horse a strong connection with the voice command "Whoa." I emphasize this with all of the horses I am training because it really comes in handy, especially during tangles such as yours. If a horse startles and becomes tangled, you can no longer use the longe line to help you stop the horse and it is often the case that during the spook, the horse jetted out of position, making it difficult for you to use your body language to help stop him. So a firm, decisive "Whoa", provided the horse has leaned that lesson ahead of time, will often stop a horse and give them a few seconds to think about things.

101 Longeing and Long Lining ExeercisesWhile the horse is stopped to look and listen, you can often walk up and sort things out. That's why I advocate training your horse to respond to all of your aids while you are longeing, you mind, your body, your tack aids and your voice so that you can use any combination of them, as appropriate for the situation.

It sounds like you are off to a great start with your filly. I wish you best of luck and hope to hear from you again.

For reference on teaching "Whoa" and other ground training exercises, see

101 Longeing and Long Lining Exercises
Longeing and Long Lining the English and Western Horse
Making Not Breaking
101 Horsekeeping Tips DVD

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  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

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