Originally published in July 2017, this relates many of the recent photos of the behind the scene training of Bond and Hero!
A lot of people come to us with horse training "issues". Some times these are "show horse" people. Some times it's "trail riding" people. The answer to their problems is almost always the same. We go backwards to fix "stuff". It's not currently fashionable to call oneself a "traditional" horse trainer. But, I've decided that's exactly what we are. Working a horse in long lines is actually, very "old school".
I learned to long line in the 1970's. I was 13 years old and we had bought a young grade gelding of undetermined age. Probably a 2 year old. The gentleman that managed the boarding stable we were at had worked ranches in Wyoming and he taught me to long line. His name was Glenn Evans and just a little bit of his story, along with that of another great horseman, Dan Bruce is told in another blog post. Mr. Evans tied my first bosal for me and taught me to tie my western stirrups under the belly of my horse and to run my lines through the stirrups. With this simple sharing of knowledge he set me on the road to being the type of trainer I am today. One that doesn't skip steps. One that actually teaches the horse how to respond to cues, long before you get on their back. Can it be done differently? Certainly. And on occasion, we've experimented with doing less long lining. We always regretted that decision.
To be clear, let me state that when I say long lining, I don't mean round and round the round pen. Of course, that's where we start. But after those round pen lessons, it's out to the "big outside". Out and about. Up and down. Away from the barn. Back to the barn. Stop and Pause. Up the hill. Down the Hill. Through the creek. Around the trees. Past the trash cans. Again past the trash cans, slowly this time. Stop and breath. Many, many miles though the years. And every step has been worth it. I've always know it's been worth it, but yesterday I received a couple of messages that Mike and I "high five" each other.
Earlier in the spring I featured photos of Evelyn and Jeff and their group of endurance horses. In April they were just back from their first trail ride of the season. A friend was riding the black gelding Dart aka GJR Obsidian (green seems to be his color!). Evelyn is on her bay mare, GJR Miss Amadeus(Miss Dee for short). Jeff is on their most recent addition, GJR Bella Cinderalla, aka Rella.
She and her husband have several horses that we've trained. The really cool thing is that, in this case, I could actually find the long lining photos from 2 out of the 3! While there aren't pictures of Miss Dee in long lines, you can bet that she had logged extensive long lining miles. How can you tell? Here's a hint! Do you see me on top of her?
I won't ride 'em til I give them a passing grade in "the Troxler School of Long Lining!"