Your Idea Of Long And Low...

Discussion in 'Training Horses' started by Arnie, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. Arnie

    Arnie Gold Member

    I was riding Cobber this morning (its still early for me to bare with me :p). And trying to achieve long and low.

    Today was the best ever and he responded however was much too low for what my idea of long and low is and certainly no where near how I want him to be working in that frame (he's green!) and often in threads I've seen people explain long and low differently and it seems people certainly have different idea's when it comes to it.

    So whats your idea of long and low? How would you like to see it achieved?
  2. Seahorse

    Seahorse Well-known Member

    I think people have a lot of different ideas! And I'm sure you'll hear many.
    IMHO, most green horses aren't strong enough to maintain a very low frame (even if it's quite a relaxed one) without falling onto the forehand.
    So I usually focus on getting them forward, straight, balanced and light, and keeping them in a more "conventional" frame, with the poll as the highest point, but with them nice, open and relaxed through the gullet. Then every 5 minutes or so, you can give them a stretch on a longer rein if they'll take it.
    Just my thoughts...
  3. Heifer

    Heifer Gold Member

    I think this pic shows it well, The horse is still forward, tracking up properly and engaged, not hocks trailing. He is actively seeking the bit - not being fiddled with to get him to stretch, his back is lifted and round, head is verticle, nose level with knees and gullet is open. Rider's hands are still where they should be, not wide and around his shoulders.

    Actually the website i found this pic (just googled L&L) is very good reading.
    ::: Sustainable Dressage - - Welcome to my Site about Sustainable Dressage! :::

    is too deep for your young horse, gullet is not open either. He also looks to have fallen onto the forehand (hard to tell as i dont know horse's conf. or the terrain etc)

    is too deep, you want the horse's nose more out - i think the rider needs to let more rein through her hands as he looks like he wants to stretch... At least he still appears to be tracking up and has his back up.

    Horse looks to be on the forehand, and possibly not tracking up -the hocks look to be trailing a bit? You can see that he doesnt have the lovely rounded back, it dips from the hip to where teh saddle is. I think he needs to be lifted up, put shorter, get more forward, some bending and then let him stretch again whilst maintaining forward.

    PSO or Smash or someone help me out :)
  4. Heifer

    Heifer Gold Member

    Very good point SH - i wouldnt expect them to work like this for 10min! Rather i would work them in a shorter frame, bending and forward work, and then let them have a stretch for a few circles, then pick them up again etc. Its important for acceptance of bit that they learn to respect the length of rein (not right wording, but i guess i mean they cant stretch when they want to, but when you allow them to, and must shorten on request too). As the horse becomes more balanced (and this depends on teh horse! Some horses feel very balanced from first ride and are more capable of maintaining balance with rider than others) you can expect more. Basically feel the horse, and dont let him become unbalanced before you shorten again. I also wouldnt start off expecting them to be able to stretch to their knees, but its what you sort of aim for eventually.
  5. Arnie

    Arnie Gold Member

    Excellent input and even better with photo's!!!

    Seahorse I agree with you there too! Working my bloke this morning realising I was asking too much too soon even if its as simple as long and low and worked on just about everything you explained there (that and keeping four feet on the ground :p)! :D Long and low will come once he's developed more muscle :).

    Heifer - I love that first picture, now thats my idea of long and low :).
  6. Heifer

    Heifer Gold Member

    yes and no arnie - i ask for stretch from day 1 in teh saddle. It helps them strengthen their backs, stretching is good for muscles etc. I would not ask for a novice frame in a young horse (3yr old) or one that has had alot of time off. but a longer frame, i guess somewhere between prelim and L&L (ie where prelim frame should be but isnt in reality). But never keep him in the same frame for long, this will make his muscles ache and can result in contact/resistance issues. I find horses generally like to stretch and L&L, and it can be a great reward for good work. ie, in a prelim frame ask for something, maybe making circle smaller and bigger, and when he does it right, pat, reward and let him stretch. Means that you can use the stretch as reward all the way through their schooling, and its good for them physically.

    Isnt it hard to sit down and put into words things you just do by habit in teh saddle? Riding is so much about feel and timing, and those things are impossible to write about!
  7. TB4Me

    TB4Me Well-known Member

    That first pic of the grey is great, just what L+L should be I think. It's a shame that L+L is often used to describe any situation where the horses head is lowered, whereas in reality he might be behind the bit, have his head cranked in/forced down or be trundling along happily with no engagement (not that that's always bad if you're not actually asking for any I suppose) or curling in, my horses' favourite method -


    The pic is from the Sustainable Dressage blog, it was just the first place where I found a good pic of what I wanted. If he's not going forward and being ridden into a contact, any offer of extra rein results in this, he just tucks his nose in, drops the reins and has his head way BTV, not good.
    L+L should feel like the horse is relaxed, really loose and swinging through the back but still going forward, working and listening, not like you're suddenly riding a headless horse :)
  8. CDA

    CDA Well-known Member

    I recommend you read the Book 'TWISTED TRUTHS OF MODERN DRESSAGE' by Philippe Karl. There are some very good techniques in there to get the who horse working properly, not just framing the neck :)
  9. Freestyle

    Freestyle Well-known Member

    The head should be lowered, but face should be vertical. The horse should be active behind and using his back. You should feel it straight away as your horse should suddenly feel taller!
  10. buggalugs

    buggalugs Well-known Member

    aaaaand you get the most incredible swinging feeling :D
  11. Arnie

    Arnie Gold Member

    Excellent input guys ;).

    I agree with you all. I have noticed alot of posts where people think low and low is just with the head down low ;), maybe this thread has enlightend some people as to what it truely is ;).
    Much like some peoples concept of 'on the bit' :p.
  12. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    Brilliant response Heifer, totally agree. The pics are great. Unfortunetly, we see too much of the 2nd last pic (chestnut), and not enough of the first. Infact, i can't remember the last time i saw the 1st example, because that's a beauty!
    Most people drop their hands around their knees and wiggle their horse's down. And then forget to give more rein.
  13. Lexie

    Lexie Well-known Member

    This is Codas idea of long and low

    I think head set is good, just needs some more impulsion from behind..
  14. Heifer

    Heifer Gold Member

    Lexie - the problem with the way Coda is doing L&L is that she hasnt lifted her back, it still dips from the rump to the wither. Needs to be more forward and yes engaged - she is on the forehand.
  15. Troppo

    Troppo Well-known Member

    Way back when, when I was doing funny things like dressage :p I was actually taught by several instructors to ride L + L like that chestnut. I think it was when L + L was first starting around Perth, and a lot of people were trying it and not actually understanding the fundamentals of it. I found I seemed to be always 'fighting' the horse to maintain this frame for longer than a few strides - the horse kept wanting to pop his head up, hollow even further and so began the process of trying to get him down again.

    Although once starting to ride better and asking the horse to stretch down, rather than down and in, it seemed to come a lot more naturally.
  16. Heifer

    Heifer Gold Member

    i find horses usually LIKE to stretch down given half the chance and if they are accepting the contact.
  17. Troppo

    Troppo Well-known Member

    Yea? Hmmmmm its been a while, but I remember having issues with various TB's that I would ride. They were often green and I wouldn't get them to maintain the frame for a long time, longer as they got fitter - but with any misstep/stride or change up the head would pop. PLus when you pick up the contact they are hollow through the back and not lifting. I seemed to be able to maintain L + L a lot easier and without the whole 'drop hands around the knees and wiggle' technique, not often on the same horses I started with (I get around a bit :p)

    Although my point was that I find when techniques are poorly understood and then trained, it tends to spark a whole generation of riders who think they are doing the right thing, but may not necessarily be. Its so apparent in the horse world with so many things (like the whole 'on-the-bit debate we so often see).
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  18. Heifer

    Heifer Gold Member

    yep thats why GOOD quality instruction is so important. Everyone needs eyes on the ground :) And benefit of dressage tests is you get some independent feedback from variety of people.

    Its alot of a balance thing, and a horse cant stay in frame if the transitions are unbalanced. They need to develop the muscles to hold the position too, cant just get on and expect them to go into a frame.

    Wigglewiggle technique is just going to create, as you mentioned, false outlines (neck is bending, but nothing happening behind).
  19. SMR

    SMR Well-known Member

    Long and Low is all about stretching the muscles over the back. If a horse is engaged and stretching, it is achieving the purpose.

    The funny thing is that most horses use their backs and find it easier to engage their quarters when they are behind the vertical in a contact (overbent lol) and so, IMO, a horse being slightly overbent in long and low is better than a horse sprawled out (which is most people's idea of long and low). It makes a horse lift its back and so stretches the muscles. Engagement of the quarters is the main factor that most people miss in stretching.
  20. Brew

    Brew Well-known Member


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