By smoothly being able to do a change of hand in motion during longeing you get more flow in your training. Here are some tips on how to succeed and some examples of common mistakes.
Lovely, both the shoulder in and the quarter in is working in the longeing, which it of course should if it is working in the groundwork. Then you want to change the hand and try on the other hand. But how do you do that? How do you change the hand? It is perfectly fine to stop the horse and then lead it around, but to get more flow we can also do it in motion during the longeing. First however, we want to look at different positions in the longeing and how they are affecting the horse. If we are placed in our normal position, belly to belly, we are neutral but if we move more toward the head we place ourselves in a more stopping position and if we move toward the hind leg we are in a more driving position. These positions we can use if we have horse that is moving too fast or too slow. The positions are also used in the change of hand.
Did anyone ever experience the horse is suddenly stopping and/or coming into you in the middle during longeing? This easily happens if we take too big steps compared to the movement of the horse around us, because then we end up in a stopping position. This is however what we use in the change of hand!
To do a smooth change of hand we take a step in front of the horse, toward the head so we end up in a stopping position. Then we take some steps straight backwards and ask the horse to turn in towards us. When the horse has turned in towards us we move the whip and end of the longe line under the longe line and change hands. Then we ask the horse to walk around us and end up on the other hand. It is a change of hand through the circle, just like you do when riding. Two half circles are connected in the middle by some straight steps where stelling and bending to the new hand is made.
It is important to move the whip under the longe line since it is messy to move the whip over the longe line. A common mistake while learning to do the change of hand is to take a step towards the head, but then not moving straight back but continuing diagonally backwards in the same direction you were moving before the change. This means there is no room for the horse to turn in. It is also quite common the horse start leading you. You simply start running around the horse and you are performing a nice change of hands but the thought is the horse should move around you.
- Move a step towards the head to get into a stopping position.
- Move a few steps straight back to ask the horse to turn inwards to you.
- Change whip and longe line hand under the longe line.
- Do not run around the horse but let the horse move around you.