Is there any way to get my horse to collect on the ground without side reins?

This topic contains 8 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by ClinicHorse ClinicHorse 3 years, 11 months ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • EquineMelody Original Poster
    Topics Started: 6Replies Posted: 29

    My 4 year old QH/TB gelding has been out of work (somewhat) since the middle of October. I got the vet out, and he said he had a very sore back and was very swollen in his leg because he was compensating for his back pain, and needed 2 weeks of solid rest and bute. So I did that, then I slowly started working him on the ground again, but there was no improvement in how he was moving. So I got the vet out again, and now that the swelling in his leg had gone down, my vet could tell what was really going on, and it turns out his pelvic was badly out of place. So the orders were to give him naproxen every day for two weeks and exercise him every day on the ground to build up his muscle in order to keep his hip in place. So I’ve been doing just that, last week was his last day of naproxen and he’s improving beautifully, and seems to be almost 100%. However, along with all this exercise and medicine, the vet said I should get a surcingle and side reins to lunge him in until I can ride him again (which will be sometime in January) in order to help him collect and use his hind end muscles. I haven’t been able to afford one until just a couple of days ago, so it’s on its way, but my question is, is there any way I can make him collect on the ground WITHOUT side reins? Side reins are just completely against my style of training. I use pressure to motivate, and release to teach, and with side reins, it’s all pressure, and no release. So I really don’t want to use the side reins and surcingle, and he’s improving really well without it, so I don’t know if I fully need them anymore, but I would like to help him collect on the ground and get that muscle built up better and faster, but is there any way I can do it without side reins?

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    I had the exact same question! I agree with your style of training, and I also want my horse to collect and frame without side reins. I asked my coach about this and she said there is absolutely a way to teach collection without side reins, draw reins, etc. Unfortunately, I have yet to find this out as my lesson isn’t until Sunday…but as soon as I know I will come back and share!

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 1

    Yes, long lines. You already have the surcingle on order, just add a pair of long lines (or you can use a couple of lunge lines like I do). It only takes a quick check in with a trainer to learn how to long line correctly and then you will have all the ability to collect your horse that you would have if you were on his back (except for weight aids). You can use long lines on a straight line (like driving) or put your horse on a circle. Just remember to keep the forward aids engaged as well so you are not just working with his neck, but also straightening and strengthening his hind end and shoulders. Good luck!!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Thanks for the question and guidance, I’m not a fan of side reins too!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by  SunnyLissy.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by  SunnyLissy.
    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    When long-lining on a circle, take care not to “longe” off the inside rein, drive around your circles. Do not underestimate transitions and when there is a connection, better strength and confidence, incorporate low, wide oxers. Hill work can be good, too, ‘specially when asked to back up a hill : )

    Walking. Walking is good. Under saddle or from the ground a good WORKING walk can do wonders without impact or stress.

    All of this can be achieved from long lines or a longe tape.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    EquineMelody Original Poster
    Topics Started: 6Replies Posted: 29

    Ahh, I always wondered want long lining was, but never bothered to look it up, but I guess I should have! I’ll definitely try that. He’s having some behavioral problems on the lunge line atm, (things that never showed up before because he was in pain) so it would be dangerous to long line him right now, but these problems should be fixed shortly.
    Funny thing is, I was talking to my dad and I was saying “hmm, I wonder if I could use two lunge lines, put them through the surcingle like side reins, and hold them so I could pull and release like I would when I’m on him”, but I didn’t know if it would work haha.
    Thanks so much guys!
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Instead of side reins, use long bungy cords. I connected them, with double-end snaps, to the 1) D-ring on the saddle or surcingle, 2) through snaffle bit ring, 3) clipped to a D-ring on the girth. You can put knots in the bungy to easily adjust the length.

    It’s a very forgiving approach and can serve as just a reminder while you transition to the long-lining. And, it certainly won’t cause any panic or stress/tension.

    PS: I would avoid doing circles and start with straight lines only until you have a few weeks of conditioning under your belt, and his girth. ;>)

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    Hi…When longing and am teaching my horse to collect , I apply the same principles as if in the saddle. I ask the horse to “give me his nose and do something different with his feet”. I add pressure to the longe line asking for the nose, while I am using the end to motivate the hind end to step to the outside, using the inside hind leg to step forward underneath himself more creating lift and balance. at first the amount of pressure will be greater, but as you are consistent in your release, the pressure will become less and less. This then transfers to your rein pressure in while riding. You will be amazed at how light your horse will be. I do this everytime my horse starts to get heavy on the forehand. or hollows his back. It takes a lot of practice to get the hand line co-ordination, so don’t get frustrated.

    ClinicHorse ClinicHorse
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    Yes!!!!! I do not use side reins EVER but I do Double lunge my horses consistently which is an extended application of long reins. I am actually putting a course out on getting started on double lunging in the next few months. I apprenticed under someone for 12 years and learned it and use it extensively. If you are interested, you can send me a DM: and I will let you know when I put out the course:)


Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.