Posted by: shannonc | March 27, 2009

I hate longe work

Some people say we dislike certain activities because we are no good at them.  How oversimplistic.  How presumptive and trite.  How completely true for me.

I want to get out of this longe work with the Pippermint for two major reasons: one, I really am not that great at it and the horse is figuring that out.  Bad when his learning pace outstrips mine :)  Two, I spend 100% of the time he’s on the longe – 200% if  you measure it in intensity when he’s playing acrobat – having an internal stress fit that he’s on the longe.  Too much longe work isn’t physically good for any horse, much less one coming back from a serious injury.  And if they’re naughty…you get stuck having to keep at it.  And if you’re standing on the ground watching the aerials, you (definitely you, not me) are thinking, “you know what, maybe I really don’t want to get on this horse today.” 

I need to continue a little bit, and it would be good to revisit here and there over time for specific reasons, but I have a new plan to try.  One, Dave is going to take over the initial 3-5 min in each direction until (1) horse becomes more reliable and (2) I get more reliable.  Next ~3 each direction I’ll handle and he’ll coach.  I only want a couple of circles of my own, just enough to successfully make a correction or two and end on that note.  Then I’ll get on.

Circumstances willing, the bulk of the work time will then transition to under saddle and we can leave the longe – in all its stringy, loopy, hairballish glory – more or less behind.  Maybe at that point I can practice with some other, more confirmed horses so I can keep growing at something I will very likely still despise on the other end (but more usefully).

Yesterday when I got on, there were two other horses in the ring – only the second time I’ve ridden with other horses, and the first time outside.  I’ve been planning for this and two days ago tested a hand-walking version by putting Pip on the rail a length or so behind a rider on a pony.  I wanted to see if it agitated him – I thought he might grow a few inches and jig, anxious to catch up or excited to have company.  Nope, nothing.  He was a little high-headed and proppy when something happened right behind him.  So today, the other riders were kind enough to walk while I got situated, and then they went back to work, and Pip kept on using his brain and steering!  One little SIP at a canter transition over his shoulder someplace.  Good boy!

Obviously, what he is really saying is “I hate the longe too.”






  1. Wow I’m famous! :-)

    The last paragraph says it all.

  2. Wow I’m famous!

    I think the last paragraph says it all. :-)

  3. :) Good progress. The video in the last post was MUCH better…looks like playing alpha mare helped quite a bit….don’t forget to bring her out on occassion so he remember she’s there still!!!!

  4. PS. I have two VERY confirmed easy lungers – and one is a FANTASTIC long liner (NOT GROUND DRIVING) if you ever want to practice ;)

  5. Sarah what would you say the difference is? I have done no driving work. I did long line Blue some, but that was eons ago.

    I would love to practice with one of yours sometime! Dave’s given me some very good tips and it would be great to incorporate someone else’s successful habits too.

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