Notes from The Complete Training of Horse and Rider (Podhajsky)

Much use should be made of the voice; whereas it is a mistake to shout at the horse, both trainer and groom will give him confidence by speaking softly.

The side reins should be attached either to the longeing surcingle, which goes over the saddle, or to the front girth strap. To start with the side reins should be so long that they have no effect on the horse’s mouth.

The center of the circle which the horse describes must be the trainer’s inside leg – the left leg if the horse is on the left rein. The trainer must pivot around this leg in such a way that a line drawn through his shoulders will be parallel to the long.

The long whip is a pushing aid and should not be used on the hindquarters but applied to the same spot as the rider’s legs would be.

For the first few days on the longe, the side reins should be so long that there is practically no contact. The trainer should be content if the horse moves calmly around the circle. When this result has been obtained, the side reins should be shortened gradually until the horse can take light contact.

The side reins should be fastened into the rings of the snaffle above the reins.

The final length of the side reins should be such that the horse can adopt the position of head and neck required by a fully trained horse. This position may be obtained only after months of training on the long by gradually shortening the side reins.

The most careful attention should be paid to the fact that when the horse is on the long the contact must be light and elastic. The horse in his later training should take the same contact on the rein that he learned to take on the long. Therefore, if the longe is to play its proper part in training the contact must be correct, neither slack nor too tight. As the long whip acts as a substitute for the leg aids, so the longe should play the same part for the rein aids.

If the horse leans to the outside [of the longe] the trainer should try to keep him on the circle by repeated short actions of the hand and not by a  steady pull. If the horse falls into the circle he should be pushed out again by the trainer pointing the long whip in the direction of the horse’s nose.

When the horse has become used to the weight on his back the rider will take up the reins and ride for some time on the longe before going around the arena. Walk and a little trot with constant halts will accustom the horse to the rider’s weight and teach him to be obedient.

When the young horse has been prepared by work on the longe and has become familiar with his rider, it will be time to begin riding through the whole arena. In these first days the rider should be content to make the horse go willingly along the wall; there should be no turns and the corners should be very round. When changing rein the rider should change through the diagonal at a walk to begin with.

Throughout the whole training of the horse, including the first phase, the trot plays the most important role in the work. It is better qualified than any other pace to make the young horse flexible and supple, to teach obedience, and to make the paces more rhythmic and regular. In this [early] stage, a rising trot should be employed.

During the first lessons of riding around the arena the reins should be as long as possible without losing connection with the mouth. The term long rein should not be misunderstood. It does not mean that the horse is ridden on a loose rein of goes in an uncontrolled manner, as this could lead to a strained tendon, or have a bad influence on the carriage of the horse and his mental and physical development.

The importance of making a young horse walk out must never be lost sight of; he must never be allowed to walk in a lazy fashion even when being given a rest.

 

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