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Sherlock's 3rd Driving Lesson

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

Some of you have written us wondering where Sherlock has been. Well, in spite of our best intentions, we got behind on posting Sherlock's training series. So many horses, so little time. And then life, family and work also got in the way of Sherlock's chronicle. Can you relate?

So while we were using our other horses, Sherlock mainly enjoyed pasture life. He hung around with our semi-retired gelding, his half-brother Dickens, the bright sorrel gelding that has appeared on and in many of my books.

All of our horses receive regular handling for hoof care, deworming, veterinary care grooming and any individual needs. So Sherlock has routinely been brought in from pasture and has retained his great manners.

But one important note. I took Sherlock up to and through his longeing training, saddling and bridling. But about that time, Richard needed a horse to ride and he also wanted the experience of training a horse, so from ground driving on, its all about the team of Richard and Sherlock.

We now continue, with me behind the camera and Richard and Sherlock center stage. We feel this will be of great value especially to those of you training your first horse.

Note: Prior to Sherlock's driving lessons he was sacked out thoroughly to ropes and to the driving lines so he wouldn't be afraid if he should get tangled up in them.

Akhal Teke driving lesson

Tacked Up at the Halt

Sherlock is outfitted with a rope halter underneath a standard leather browband bridle with a throatlatch and a D-ring snaffle bit. The halter is in place so that he can be led to and from the round pen and he can be tied at the hitch rail for tacking and untacking. Also Richard often does some in-hand warm up exercises with Sherlock to get him focused so having the halter in place is handy for that too.

The reins have been removed from the bridle and replaced with a pair of 10 foot driving lines. That is, each line is 10 feet long. This is a short length of driving line suitable for walking behind and next to a horse. When a horse is at a halt and when he is first started out at the walk, the outside line should be over the horse's back as shown here. Sherlock is also wearing a leather surcingle that has D rings on it for running the driving lines through. Richard is standing to the inside of Sherlock's off side, with slack in the driving lines so that Sherlock knows to relax and "whoa".

Akhal Teke driving lesson

Walk On

Richard uses a voice command "Walk on" to start Sherlock forward. Richard is holding an in-hand whip to use if necessary to reinforce the voice command.

The whip wasn't necessary but if he would have used it, it would be like this: Give the voice command (or cluck or kiss or whatever you want to use), if no response, then give the voice command again followed a fraction of a second later with a light tap on the top of the croup."

Sherlock moves forward into light contact on the bit.

Akhal Teke driving lesson

Moving the Outside Line to the Outside

As Sherlock moves forward, Richard moves the outside line to the outside position.

With short lines, the outside line touches the horse across the hindquarters, so that's why it is essential that the horse has been sacked out to ropes touching him all over. If not, moving the line here might startle the horse and cause him to kick out in a reflex action.

The outside line can be used to keep the horse on the rail or "up on the outside line" which will come in handy for riding later. It is important to introduce a young horse to the outside rein to establish an anchor point, a mind hook, a means to control over bending to the inside.

Akhal Teke driving lesson

Establishing Inside Bend

With Sherlock on the rail and on the outside rein, Richard adds a little inside bend so that now he is walking forward in a balanced form.

Akhal Teke driving lesson

Keeping Impulsion at the Walk

With the perfect bend for a beginning horse on the long lines at the walk, Sherlock is relaxed "between the lines" which is one of the purposes of long lining - to prepare the horse for use of the reins when being ridden.

In fact, Sherlock is so relaxed that he loses impulsion and Richard gives him a tap with the whip on the hindquarters and says, "Walk up !"

Akhal Teke driving lessonChange of Rein

Once Sherlock is comfortable circling in full circles to the right and to the left in our 66 foot diameter round pen, Richard begins doing figure 8 change of rein.

Here he had been doing a circle to the left, turned into the center of the round pen and is now initiating the bend to the right.

Akhal Teke driving lesson

Right Turn

After circling to the right for a few rounds, Richard turns Sherlock into the center where he will walk him straight for a few strides before initiating left bend.

And so it goes............Good job!




< Sherlock's Page 15, 3rd Longeing          Sherlock's Page 17, 2nd Ride >

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information


ground training program for horses including in hand work, free longeing, longeing with bosal, cavesson, side reins, long lining

longeing and long lining the English and Western horse

Longeing Set regularly $59.90 - buy both for $53.95

101 Longeing & Long Lining Exercises


Longeing & Long Lining, English & Western

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  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

2008 Cherry Hill

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