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Scottie has been in a lot more this winter than he would be usually. This combined with the fact that he is currently out of work means he has a bit too much energy he isn’t channelling into the right places. So I have been trying to long-rein him a few times a week to give him something else to think about.
There are two main benefits to long-reining Scottie, the first being taking the edge off the energy what keeps bubbling over. But he is also quite weak and wonky from being out of work, so I am hoping that long-reining will help him build up some strength and straighten up before returning to ridden work.
Scottie is pretty good about being long-reined. Even if he hasn’t done it in over a year, we can just crack straight on with it without a problem. I don’t think he’s a huge fan of it. He can get a bit jig joggy and isn’t great at standing still. But I think this will improve the more we do.
My long-reining skills are very average. I can steer, stop and go. But that is about it. I really struggle with getting him straight, getting him to bend or asking for anything more complicated like shoulder in, which is a big part of why I want to be long-reining.
I understand the theory, I know how to ask, I do ask and nothing really happens. I think a big part of this is we are both a bit rusty. So instead I have decided to cheat, until we both get a bit better at it.
At the weekend I built a mini obstacle course in the arena. We had a narrow tunnel of poles to encourage Scottie to straighten up. We had cones in the corners to go around to help stop him falling in. We had cones to weave in and out of to help with bending and a couple of poles on the diagonal just for fun.
We did have one iffy moment early on where there was quite a bit going on on the yard. Scottie got a bit uptight, decided to jump a pole with his front legs and stand on it with his back legs… this resulted in a minute of cantering around the school wondering why the lines were chasing him. But other than that he was really good and for the first time I felt like we were really getting somewhere.