ROTH ~ Q&A On liberty and long-lining

Q: I have been working with a lot of Perrelli trained horses, some well trained some not so much.  Most of them have extensive experience with being lunged but not so much with liberty work in the round pen.   

Just curious about lunging in the Roth array of techniques.  

A by ROTH Instructor student Elaine Ackerly:

When getting into the question of lungeing it is a tricky one for some. While this tool has been in use for many moons, it has, also, been used incorrectly in most instances. I think it is more pressing to ask yourself, why we work at liberty and why we use two lines (long lining) verses the one (lungeing).

I think it may help you to answer a few questions:

1. Why would one line be better than two?

2. When we ride do we ride with one rein or two?

3. How much clear communication is given with one inside line verses an inside and outside line?

4. What are the goals we set when we lunge or long line, and how would the outcome be affected by our choice of one line verses two?

1. By using one line to exercise we are forced to put on a cavesson and side reins in order to get the horse to get into position and keep its head ‘in place.’ This is not training the horse, but forcing it into what we want. When we long line or drive from the ground, we have a way to communicate with both sides of the horse and our body language to teach them to carry themselves into the ideal position. By helping the horse to get there, rather than holding them there, we are, in fact, training.

2. If we think about the functions of the inside and outside reins we can begin to see the need for both, not only from the saddle, but the ground as well. Remember, the inside rein is for direction and the outside rein is for speed. It’s this combination that creates balance and collection in the gates.

3. The reasons to lunge or long line are many but the primary reasons are to exercise, rehabilitate, to train and to assess a horse (usually, training to ride or drive). If we take into account that we always ride with two reins and that the training we do is to get a horse to the point of this, than we should be helping the horse as best we can. The transition from ground driving to riding is one that is usually received by horses smoothly, because the message from hand to head is the same. Where as, with lungeing there is some figuring out on the horses part to be done when moving onto the two rein system of riding.

More importantly, I think you need to be addressing why liberty is not working for these horses. Is it your application of the methods or some previous training that they have had? Because the ROTH methods are derived from the horses themselves, there should be no struggle for them to understand it and to communicate with them successfully. If you can confidently say that you are applying the methods correctly, than we would move onto asking the horses what they have been taught. A horse that has been taught in the round pen to never do an outside turn or to always face (for two examples) up will be challenging for a beginner, learning themselves. Because, the responses we have taught you to expect (because they follow the natural language of horses) are not the responses the horse has been trained to give.

If it is the latter of these options than I encourage you to consider the horse as intelligent and aware. A horse that has been trained to go against their language and nature has not forgotten their nature, they have just adapted to work within the language of people. They are very capable of going back to their way, and once it is clear to them this is the direction sought they are more than happy with the change. We have had numerous horses come through the clinics over the years that have had different levels and quality of Parreli training. Every one of them has been successful in the Reach Out and long lining.

Getting your liberty work down is very important to long lining. When we introduce long lining to the horses it is always with the lines quietly in hand and directions given with body language as if the horse was at liberty. We build in the cues from the lines as we direct with the body language and eventually are able to fade out the body language and rely on the lines. This is the kindest and most effective way to teach a horse about reins and to follow direction from them, because the language begins in their own and is translated for them.

Here is an article Anna wrote about long lining. I could have sworn that I had read one in the past she had written about lungeing vs long lining, but my search came up blank.

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