Moms tend to get strange, yet wonderful, Christmas gifts from their children. I’ve sat on Christmas morning as my children looked at me with those bright eyes of excitement, watching me open their gifts.
Many times, I had to weigh my expressions and seriously avoid the “what the heck is this????” look. I’ve received bright and shiny objects, strange things made out of toilet paper rolls, clay sculptures and pasta jewelry. I’ve saved them all.
At 21 years-old, my son the rider and trainer, still becomes that same small child on Christmas morning. This year was no different. He was pounding on our bedroom door at 6 am on Christmas morning. Not because Santa came, but he was just dying with excitement to see us open his gifts.
This year, he worked very hard on his gifts. He listened to each person, put amazing thought into his choices and surprised each of us. I received a very tightly wrapped envelope with a well-written note.
The boy has spent the last year and a half studying ‘the art” of long lining. And for my gift I received a coupon for long lining lessons as well as all the needed equipment.
Long lining is a technique of working a horse in hand, sometimes used to start a young horse or to introduce new steps in training. Unlike lungeing, you use 2 long reins or lines attached on either side of the bit or cavesson, which allows you to work the inside/outside contact and bend. It also allows you to release the contact, so you have a more elastic connection. Your horse gets to try new movements without having to focus on balancing the weight of a rider.
I have read books and seen videos on long lining. I have wanted to give this technique a try, for some time now. I am always excited to try anything that can improve my bond with the mare.
The lesson began with learning how to put on the surcingle and reins.
It took a while for the mare to understand what was being asked of her.
I was pleased to see how much patience my son had in introducing the mare to this.
I could see the mare thinking “This is not what mom does.”
It was a strange feeling to receive a lesson from my son, a kid I trained for over 18 years. By the time he was in his teens, many of those lessons ended in a fight between him and me. I will tell everyone NEVER teach you own child. For these long lining lessons, my son did an awesome job. He explained things very clearly and really made it a ton of fun. Sadly, no one thought to photograph me but I was able to walk, trot and canter my mare on the long lines. We changed directions, navigated circles and several patterns. In just the couple of lessons I’ve had so far, I can see this as valuable tool. I never get to see my mare move, I’m always riding. I was able to walk along the ground with her and watch. Once she understood what was going on, she seemed to really enjoy the new game.