Stay Safe While Longeing


Sometimes we become so relaxed around our horses and so nonchalant about our daily routines, that we forget safety issues. For example, when longeing a horse it’s easy to forget that we’re in a very vulnerable position when we first begin the process of putting our horse out on a circle. Most horses are fresh when they start off on the longe line, so it’s no wonder that they suddenly buck or kick up their heels. But if you’re bending over, looking down and standing too close to your horse’s hindquarters, you could be injured by a striking hoof.
First, make sure that your horse is schooled to quietly walk out onto his circular path, and that he awaits your cue to trot or canter. Next, do not reach down and pick up a longe whip while your horse is within striking distance. He might perceive the whip as the cue to bolt off and buck, leaving you as an inadvertent target. Finally, don’t “shush” your horse out onto his circle. That, too, encourages a fresh horse to leap forward and perhaps kick out. Instead, slowly uncoil your longe line. By making your longeing protocol consistent, you’ll teach your horse some manners and keep yourself safe from a potential accident.

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Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show barn, and was taught to harness and drive Welsh ponies. But once she’d taken her first lessons aboard American Saddlebreds she was hooked on English riding. Hunters and hunt seat equitation came next, and she spent decades competing in those divisions on the West Coast. Always seeking to improve her horsemanship, she rode in clinics conducted by world-class riders like George Morris, Kathy Kusner and Anne Kursinski. During that time, her family began raising Thoroughbred and warmblood sport horses, and Cindy experienced the thrills and challenges of training and showing the homebred greenies. Now retired from active competition, she’s a popular judge at local and county-rated open and hunter/jumper shows. She rides recreationally both English and western. Her Paint gelding, Wally, lives at home with her and her non-horsey husband, Ron.


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