The Language of Longing
While many people understand the basic concept of longing, it is amazing how often the basic language of longing is lost Longing a horse is not simply having it run around in circlesWhile many people understand the basic concept of longing, it is amazing how often the basic language of longing is lost. Longing a horse is not simply having it run around in circles. Instead, it is a fine-tuned training process where your horse listens to your aids as carefully as though you were riding.
When longing, you should stand so that you are facing your horse?s shoulder. The hand towards the horse?s mouth should hold the line, while the other hand should hold the whip. Between the line and the whip, you are forming the two long sides of a triangle, where the short side is your horse.
The angle you face is a large part of the body language involved in longing a horse. If your hip and shoulder face the horse directly so that you are parallel to the horse, you are neither asking the horse to move forward, nor to back off.
If you angle your hip and shoulder so that you are facing the horse?s quarters, you are in fact interfering with the horse?s forward movement. You are effectively blocking him from moving forward, much as if you were standing directly in front of him.
If you angle your hip and shoulder so that you are facing the horse?s head, you are pushing your horse forward. You are now in a position where you are constantly asking you horse to move on, as though you were chasing behind him.
This is very important to keep in mind. If you have a horse who is very forward, you will want to keep your body parallel to him, or even slightly against his movement. With a slow horse, or a green horse, you will want to keep yourself angled so that you are pushing him forward.
The longe line is the equivalent of your hand when you are riding. If you hold your line level, you are not applying any aid to your horse beyond a basic contact. If you raise the line, you are acting as though you were pulling on the rein, asking the horse to slow down, or stop. If you drop the line, you are taking away the contact, and allowing the horse to run forward.
The whip acts as your leg. If the whip is level, it is the equivalent of riding with your leg on the horse. If you raise the whip, it is the equivalent of putting your leg on him. If you drop the whip, it is as though you have taken off your leg.
With this in mind, you can now give your horse aids without using your voice. For an upward transition, you only need to raise the whip and maintain a level hand. For a downward transition, you need to raise your hand and maintain your whip. Green horses benefit if you reinforce the aids by lowering your hand for an upward transition, or lowering your whip for a downward transition.
You can go further than that. If you raise your hand while raising your whip, you are in fact asking your horse to push forward from behind while not moving forward more quickly, thus creating collection. Another useful technique is to wave your whip low to the ground along with the movement of the quarters to ask your horse to step further beneath himself.
With practice, your horse can learn to lengthen and shorten his stride on the longe line. He can make transitions with minimal aids and no voice at all. Well controlled body language makes a huge difference in training a horse on the longe, and works just as well on green horses as on trained horses.
Lydia K Kelly is a writer for HorseClicks, classifieds of horses for sale South Dakota, horses for sale Tennessee, horses for sale Texas and other states. Lydia is also a featured author at www.ArticleKing.com