|This technique is used to
teach horses from a greater, and therefore safer, distance than the standard
lead rope. This is especially important and useful when dealing with
inexperienced, stubborn, or frightened horses. Longeing should be part of a
balanced training and exercise program for all horses, regardless of breed or
There are many reasons to longe. It helps to promote confidence and
familiarity with the trainer, teaches obedience to verbal commands and allows
the horse to learn and respond to the trainer’s body language, it allows the
horse to learn rhythm and gait extension without the interference of a rider. It
is also a good warm-up or cool-down exercise, is good for rehabilitation of an
previously injured or sick horse, and helps strengthen the horse’s back, loin,
tendons, and ligaments.
Owners are recommended to wait until a horse is at least two years of age
before beginning regular longe training. A yearling can benefit from a few
lessons to teach him to stop on command. However, make sure you only walk or
trot the young horse. This will avoid putting stress on its limbs before they
There are some good tips to keep in mind before starting longe training.
• Make sure the horse’s footing is not slippery. About four to six inches of
footing is ideal.
• If the horse is younger than two, only walk or trot it.
• Two year old horses should not canter for long periods of time.
• If longeing is overused, the horse will become bored and this training method
will become counterproductive
• While there are 25 foot longe lines available, 30 to 35 foot lines are
• Working small circles with a 25 foot line can damage your horse’s limbs.
Horses have excellent memories. Therefore, it is vital that longe training is
done correctly. The horse will remember everything it learns, good or bad. An
experienced longe trainer will build on the lessons of the previous longeing
session, while any mistakes must be “unlearned” before the horse can learn the
correct response and progress with its training.
Once your horse is familiar with longeing, it can be trained further by double
longeing. Training the horse with two lines is also called long lining or long
Purchasing a quality longe line will save money and inconvenience in the long
run. Polypropylene longe lines are soft, flexible, easy to grip, unlikely to
produce rope burn, and have ultraviolet protection to prevent fading and sun
damage. They come in many different colors that can match your horse’s existing
accessories. Polypropylene is water resistant and will not rot or mildew. Solid
brass swivel snaps are ideal to prevent damage from rust. A quality longe line
generally costs between $35 to $50 from your local tack store or catalog.