• Kathy Troxler

The Long Lining "Slow Step" with Gavin and Reggie


While recently chatting with Gavin's mom and grand-mom (that would be Mary Susan and Kea) and telling them (one more time!) how much I love this series of pictures, I mentioned a couple of things that made these very special for me. One was that while there are plenty of pictures of me long lining (or "ground driving", I'll get into what I think the difference is later) I've never had pictures of me trying to explain how to do it! More importantly, I was pretty sure that the number of words I'd use to describe each picture was going to be a lot more text than I usually use in a blog post!

The fact is that the adage (I looked up "adage" to make sure I'm using it properly) "a picture is worth a thousand words" is true! And in this case, "still pictures'" are worth more than video. One reason that these pictures may not be as crystal clear as my usual photos, is that they aren't photos at all! These images are made from screen captures that I did from video that Sharon shot for me with a cell phone. The video itself is primarily for Team Reggie's reference. These 13 particular pictures come from approximately 45 seconds (out of 2 minutes) of footage. Sharon also shot video of what I had done earlier, showing how I prepare to long line a horse I've never done before. Basically, even if I'm pretty sure the horse has long lined before, I DO NOT SKIP the routine I go through to make sure that (if the lines get around their legs) they know how to handle it! Because, believe it or not, I've had people tell me that "yes, their horse had been "long lined lots", but then in the next breath tell me "but, no, he's never had the lines go around his back legs and he'll probably freak". My take on this apparently contradictory statement goes back to the terms, "long lining" and "ground driving" and how they are interchanged...at least by me.

Suffice it to say, I would never proceed to ride any horse that would "freak out" over the lines going behind it's legs. Period. End of discussion. Not open for debate. That horse is not ready to be a riding horse...at least not one of mine! Reggie answered every question of my "interview phase" correctly. As a matter of fact, Reggie looked slightly embarrassed that I felt compelled to ask him such "baby stuff" but, that's not open for debate...gotta check out the simple stuff first!

But back to how to "caption" these pictures.

I'm going with my new motto of, "the first thing that comes to mind is probably the right thing".

While I was talking to Mary Susan (or it could have been Kea!) (regarding these pictures) the following words flew out of my mouth...

"If I have to explain why these are so cool, they're not going to get it"....

So, that's what I'm going with.

There will be other posts that have text pointing out the significance of various positions and moves, but this isn't that post. I might post pics or video of how well G did when he took those lines over and made them his own!

But this post is just me, Gavin and Reggie, with me cast in the role that Glenn Evans filled for me. Who is Glenn Evans? Well, there is a bit more text below that will explain. For now, I'm wrapping this one up and getting ready to go work a horse!

When I set Reggie up in my long lines, I was initially intending it to just be a demonstration of ground driving theory. I had forgotten my very nifty "snap rings" that I usually use to run my long lines through. Which is why, what you'll see in these pictures is more "authentic" and a homage to the way I was originally taught to long line. That would be wayyy back, when I was not too much older than Gavin...maybe 13 years old, when Glenn Evans tied my first bosal for me and taught me to tie my stirrups together under the horses belly, to run my long lines through.

Really. That's how I learned one of the most important skills in my horse training "tool kit". Another horseman taught me..... when I was a kid. I can't actually remember Glenn demonstrating this for me, but he probably did. He for sure showed me how to set up the equipment. That would have been in the early 1970's when he managed a boarding stable just east of Coloardo Springs. If anyone reading this blog can tell me how to get in touch with any of Glenn's family, I'd love to contact them!

It quickly became apparent that Gavin was not only interested in what I was doing, he wanted to give it a try. To start out, I had him walk in front of me while I managed the lines. People have told me that I make long lining look easier than it is, and I've never really tried to break down the different moves. From these pictures, it's apparent that it's equally important what you do with your feet as much as your hands!