I am very passionate about the work on the long reins and as some of you might have seen Ive introduced Tiny to this work recently. It's a very exciting project and for me ALL the difference compared to how its traditionally is done is in how we will build it.
Of course this is also up to our personal preferences and many are the ways to Rome. For me however, this often means building from liberty and to explain to the horse via environment setups. Rather than how its traditionally done, via our riding aids.
I add those later. So here is us where we are at right now. Adding the reins to our liberty walk behaviour. We are just getting used to the reins here, he doesn’t know any steering yet. But he knows liberty walk really well alongside the track. In this context Ive just added the reins. I can turn him directing him with my hand (in a nose target fashion) and I can ask him to halt with my verbal halt cue (built from standing on a mat). For me this is a brilliant way of working if we want to create independent learners that knows their exercises inside out, instead of needing constant guidance from a rider. I love it.
The "harness" he is wearing is also a kind of fun experiment. Trying new ways of doing stuff is really something that is highly reinforcing for me as a trainer. With the long reining harness Im thinking I should work on the shoulder balance and the indirect reins before focusing on the direct reins and see where this thought lead. Tiny is right handed and Im intrigued to see how this will affect his balance compared to how i normally set this part up from this position. On this video from yestreday you dont actually see anything of that. This is merely showing our starting point. Liberty walk along side the arena fence and halt well in place and used as building blocks. Looking forward to work more on this and will keep you posted here :)
Here you see more of the harness.