A guide to long-reining

First things first, it's important that you don't rush straight into long-reining. You must first be able to lunge well from one rein, and then from two. Your horse needs to be happy with a second line around his quarters, and you must be competent doing this and holding the lines.

Long-reining should only be attempted by a confident handler

Long-reining should only be attempted by a confident handler

How to do it:
● Clip each line directly onto either side of the bit.

● To make sure your horse is happy with the line around his quarters, loop the line neatly and rest it on the saddle pad. Move to the side you plan to lunge him from – usually the left to begin – and take hold
of the looped line on his back. Your horse may find this unsettling if this is new to him so ask a competent person to stand at his head throughout.

● Holding the other line in your left hand, gradually let out the line on your horse’s back, so it comes across his back. You can lunge with the two lines like this, before bringing it round his quarters.

● When ready, bring the second line straight across your horse’s back and, as you ask him to walk on, let the line gently loop around his quarters. It should rest just above his hock – any lower than this and he could get caught up around his legs. Again, have a competent person standing at his head, if this is new to him or he’s very sensitive, as the sensation of the line around his quarters may startle him.

● Lunge on a 20m circle, making sure that you have a good hold on the second line. The contact shouldn’t be tight because it will put pressure on the offside and only confuse your horse, but it shouldn’t be so loose your horse could tangle his legs in it.

● The size of your circle depends on the amount of control you need. If your horse is a little sharp, bringing him on a smaller circle gives you more control. You will find you have more control lungeing with two reins rather than one because the outside line offers you more control over the quarters and an extra contact on the bit.

● When lungeing, remember to position yourself just behind your horse’s shoulder to drive him forwards. Too far in front will indicate you want your horse to either stop or turn the other way.

● You can also practise changing direction on the lunge before you long-rein.