After my lesson, I took the heathen (Neuf has earned heathen status for now) for his walk, then I was able to turn them both out for a couple of hours.
While I was turning them out, I saw JJ’s husband coming in, and walked over as he likes Neuf’s sire, Quite Easy, so I let him know that Neuf was there if he wanted to see him as a 3 year old. Richard had liked Neuf as a yearling, before I bought him.
Richard was getting ready to long line/ground drive a mare, and since I am always trying to learn more of this art, I asked if I could come watch and ask questions. He said yes, so I followed him over to the covered arena.
First off, the surcingle is nice, way better than the $30 Dover Saddlery special that I’ve borrowed. The rings for the reins are nicer and stand out, like harness rings do. Next, they also have leather driving lines. I could see the feel was significantly better than my cotton web with rolled nylon ends driving lines (another Dover Saddlery special).
Once I made a mental note of the better equipment, I started noting how it was used.
He ran the inside rein through the bit, to one of the surcingle reins, so it looked a bit like a Vienna rein. Then, he had the outside rein though one of the upper rings.
I noticed that he positions his shoulders almost the same direction as the horse is going, not facing the horse, as someone lunging might do. He kept a super, consistent and steady contact on the outside rein, and this is where the leather reins helped a fair amount. The weight of the leather rein helps.
He walked the mare around, then trotted, then a bit of canter, always walking forward with the mare, changed directions, which means switching the reins. Then, after she’d done both directions, he started using the corners of the arena, in trot, to set her up to step under herself and then started asking her to collect. Then he went down the long side in a collected trot, and at the end, had her stretch down and out and go more forward as a reward.
He switched directions several times, adjusting the reins back and forth, and got quite a bit of exercise, as lengthening down the long side of the ring and some of the canter, meant he was going quite quickly.
I am now inspired to go back and do more long lining with Neuf. I did a fair amount of it before I started riding him, but I’d like to get better at it and watching Richard was inspiration to do it better.
He’s going to work the mare again tomorrow, I intend to watch again.