Bending and balance
Q:I ride a 4-year-old gelding for a friend, and I always longe him before I work him under saddle. Lately I’ve noticed what I think is a balance issue, and it really stands out when I longe him. He moves on a circle nicely around me with a good bend, but as his speed increases he often leans against the longe line. At a canter, the line is taut between us and I’m straining to “hold him up.” Sometimes he leans so hard it feels like if I suddenly let go he would go flying off the circle and possibly off his feet. I’ve also noticed him speeding up under saddle to compensate when he feels unbalanced. I feel confident that I’m doing my job staying balanced myself, and I’ve been giving him as much support as I can. I hoped you might have some specific suggestions for how to strengthen him over time and help him support his own weight, especially at speed and around turns.
A:That’s a great question. And you’re right, balance is the key. If a horse doesn’t have good self-carriage at slow speeds, he will
Lauren came to Jonathan Field’s James Creek Ranch Horsemanship Camps with her 7-year-old Friesian, Dante. Jonathan will demonstrate exercises to help Dante bend and maintain balance while circling on the longe line.