Horse Longeing (Lunging) with Side Reins

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How To Think
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Trailering Your Horse
101 Longeing and
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Longeing and Long Lining
the English and Western Horse
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Making Not Breaking by Cherry Hill
101 Longeing and Long Lining Exeercises
Longeing and Long Lining the Western Horse
Horse Handling and Grooming by Cherry Hill

Should I Use Side Reins?

Hello: 

I have an AQHA 8 years old. I have always heard that it is good to lunge your horse with side reins. My question is, is it something to do always or just at the beginning when they are first being trained? How often? Is once a week enough. If you could please give me some suggestion, I would appreciate it. Y


Dear Y:  

     Whether you use side reins at all depends on your experience in training.  If you have not used them before, have someone experienced help you.  You can cause your horse to form bad habits or you or your horse could get hurt if you use side reins improperly.

    How often you use side reins depends on your horse's level of training and your goals. Side reins help balance a moving horse and should invite the horse to reach for the bit. Side reins should never be so short that the horse overflexes. If your purpose for using side reins is a warm up before you ride, to encourage your horse to carry himself in a balanced, somewhat collected form, then you can use side reins with your older horse.  

     I suggest that you pay attention to quality movement and a natural head and neck carriage and be careful not to shorten the reins so much that is causes the horse to overflex or get behind the bit.  

     Also, I think its best to use side reins for short periods of time, such as during a ten minute warm-up before riding, rather than for long periods of time longeing round and round.  

     Use good judgement - if your horse needs an occasional tune up, such as once a week as you suggest, that should be your guide. Don't use side reins just to be using them. One of the hardest habits to break is a horse that has backed away from the bit and is "behind the bit". Avoid this at all costs.   Good luck!

 

  2006 Cherry Hill 

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