From: Horse Training
This is where the trainer stands approximately 9 feet behind the horse and holds a lunge line in each hand which is attached to the bit in the horses mouth. By using voice commands the trainer is able to ask the horse to walk on and halt, from this the trainer is then able to integrate steering to the left and to the right by using the lunge lines as reins. Once the horse becomes confident in rein and voice commands work can begin in trot and when the horse is has matured in canter as well.
Long reining is a very useful way of ensuring that the young horse understands the aids for walk, halt, left, right and trot well before a rider is put aboard. It also gives the trainer the opportunity to take the horse out onto quiet lanes or fields for practice, which benefits the horses training and understanding.
When To Begin
The horse should only be long reined when it is already lunging successfully, this is so that the horse understands the voice commands that you are about to use. The horse should also be comfortable with wearing a bridle, saddle or lunge roller.
You will need a bridle with the reins either removed or secured out of the way by twisting them through the throatlash. Two lunge lines of equal length and your horse should really be wearing boots on all four legs. A well fitting saddle with stirrup leathers attached and pulled down to just below the saddle flap, should the horse put its head down this will prevent the lunge lines from dropping low to the floor and the horses legs.
The trainer must wear a hard hat and gloves and sensible footwear in order to keep up with the horse.
Where To Start Off
Begin in the arena that you already use for lunging as the horse will already be familiar and comfortable in their surroundings.
How To Long Rein
Start off by lunging the horse as normal on both reins, this ensures that the voice commands are fresh in the horses mind.
Then once warmed up take your lunge line through the stirrup and clip it onto the horses bit and do the same on the opposite side with your second lunge line. You may need to lunge like this for a few days or weeks until the horse gets accustomed to the feel of the second lunge line around its body.
Once the horse is settled you then ask the horse to halt, taking your time slowly walk keeping both lunge lines up off the floor and above the horses hocks until you are behind the horse or very slightly off to one side so that the horse can still see you. Then give the walk on command, you should have a light feel on both lunge lines and at first ask the horse to walk on and halt at regular intervals and then progress to steering to the left and to the right, and when confident with both steering, stopping and turning then progress to trotting.
Practice steering in and out of cones and stopping the horse at exact marker and then when you are confident in the arena you can progress to the outside world. Pick a quiet day and an enclosed field to begin with so that the horse will gain confidence in you and what you are asking them to do. Start off with 10 minutes of long reining at the very start and then progress up to 20 and 30 minutes and then increase the length of time according to your horses needs.