yearling longe line and in hand trail preparation
I would guess most yearlings preparing for In Hand Trail are also being shown in the Longe Line. If not, longeing is still an essential skill for a well rounded horse to have and should be added to his training. Again, as my yearling learns these new skills, I am constantly doing several things in each lesson. I do not spend Mondays on Leading, Tuesdays, on Groundwork, etc. Some exercises by nature build on others and have to have a logical sequence, but in general, I go back and forth and do several things for a few minutes at a time during each lesson.
To begin longeline work, I again assume the yearling is familiar with the items learned in the Kasino Series. From the leading work, the yearling is following my hand quite well. This creates a nice logical next step. I use my hand to guide the colt around me. The circle will be small to start with, and he will almost always be better to the left first since that is the side you lead him from. As he gains confidence, you can send him a little further away from you.
After he's going forward successfully, I will work on stopping, giving to pressure, turning, and incorporating in the turns on the forehand that we learned from lesson one. These will all be integrated into a yearling with body control. This also helps me alleviate the boredom of circles that so many folks complain their longeliners suffer from.
But for now, back to the circles. After all, if he's going to show in the longeline, he does have to learn them, right? As time goes on, you can send the yearling further and further away. A round or square pen is excellent for those types of lessons so he can use that barrier for outside support as he gets stronger and learns to stand up in his circles instead of leaning on the longeline or falling to the outside. Remember that tactic of following your hand? I use that to ask for more "go" at any gait. I pick up my hand (which is holding the longeline-this is switched depending on the direction) and encourage the yearling to come forward into that space. At this point there's really no pressure to be taken off, but he has learned to follow your hand, so he comes forward more quickly. When he reaches the speed I like, I lower my hand. I do not use this as a cue to quit...I use "whoa" for that.
In the video below, I took a filly who was already relatively skilled in these and other excerises as well as a longeline and in hand trail point earner, but had had a month off in the pasture. This video should give a fairly good representation of what I am trying to illustrate as she is responsive but not perfect. I also tried to be exaggerated with my hands to make it easier for the camera to see.
Please note that I have had the opportunity to watch many people over the last 25 years of my horse career, and the methods described here are a compilation of things I've learned from multiple outside sources and my own personal experience with my yearlings.
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Starting body control with yearling in hand trail.
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