A horse being exercised on a longe line is a common sight at most stables.? Longeing can be done as exercise for a horse that is recovering from injury and cannot be ridden, or for a young horse who has not yet been thoroughly trained.? Longeing is also useful for teaching a horse how to transition between gaits, and to listen more closely to verbal commands.? It can be beneficial for strengthening the bond between horse and trainer, can be used as a warm up or cool down exercise, and allows you to work your horse at a safe distance.
However, longeing can be damaging to your horse if done incorrectly.? Horses need to be trained for this technique in order to perform properly and safely.? Longeing horses on a short line can cause damage to their muscles and limbs, so you should always use a line that is at least thirty feet.? Also, be cautious of longeing in the same direction, as this will put undue stress on one side of the horse?s body.? This training tool can quickly become boring for your horse if used too often, so be sure to mix it up with other exercises.
Avoid longeing horses under the age of two, at least at the canter.? Cantering for long periods of time in a small circle can create too much stress for their young joints.? Young horses should only be walked or trotted.? Additionally, it is important to ensure the footing is secure, and not slippery.? A horse traveling at speed in a small circle can quickly find their feet sliding out from underneath them.
Once your horse has learned how to longe confidently, you might wish to move things up a notch by double-longeing or long lining.