Your Idea Of Long And Low...

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

  1. Brew

    Brew Well-known Member

    Came in while posting Agree 100%
  2. Troppo

    Troppo Well-known Member

    Interesting guys!

    I know I used to use L + L to work the back muscles and create strength, but like I said it has been a while since I rode with these things in mind and I never got to any great level - just helping to school/train green horses for people. Still looking for softness/responsiveness etc with my horses, but using it in a slightly different style to dressage.

    Thanks for your input! Great thread Arnie!
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  3. Heifer

    Heifer Gold Member

    Brew - i guess what i am cautious of is maintaining one outline throughout a 20min workout for a horse, resulting in pain/tired muscles and resistance etc. I certainly would not expect a young horse to travel L&L the entire workout either. Part of the training is being able to shorten and lengthen the frame happily and balanced.

    How would you work a horse say straight from breaking?
  4. Brew

    Brew Well-known Member

    I Vary lots and I place the head but don't hold it there - Fustration with a young horse is having the perfect outline and having to stop after only a minuite or often less !!
    From breaking I use a very light contact but still try to achieve a slight frame ( gullet very slightly closed ) For the very first rides I just want relaxed and I do whatever feels right and relaxes the horse and will often ride lots of short spells most in walk - That said hot horses often need to be busy and I do less walk with these and more trot. One of my favouite "systems" is Kyra Kirkland as it is really easy and makes sense to at least medium and I use her Squares a lot in training
    Shorten and lengthen the frame I think is as important as getting on the horse!

    HALF HALTS maketh the horse
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  5. Heifer

    Heifer Gold Member

    havent seen kyra kirkland - will do some (yet more) research :) thanks for your opinion.
  6. Cornflower

    Cornflower Well-known Member

    Hmm, i tend to agree. I think for young, green or unfit horses, just being ridden in a good working rhythm is enough. By that i mean, they are forward and not on the forehand. Have a normal contact and just get them going along. Encourage stretching. And i wouldn't be asking for any sort of 'frame', because they just wouldn't be able to do it due to being unfit or green and not having the correct muscle strenght.

    That is unless they are being held in or wiggled with or see sawed on. Then they won't want to stretch down, because any time they do, they get fiddled with. So even when asked, they won't want to for fear of being wiggled on to get them 'light' again. So they don't really want to go anywhere near a contact, and will usually suck back or not want to stretch down at all.
    Which is where you see riders with their hands at their knees, wiggling and see-sawing their horses down.
    Most of the time, these horses aren't truely forward, working from behind, so they don't have the balance to support themselves to stretch down or go long and low.
  7. I think my pony works long and low (Heifer= Can you confirm hahaha?? ) :) he stretches down and you can feel him lift his back and swing through . Feels awesomee :D i need to get some pics !
  8. Studentofthehorse

    Studentofthehorse New Member

    For those who beleive that behind the vertical is ok for long and low to get the horse lifting its back (which I prefer to describe as lifting the wither because the thorax sits within a sling of muscle), how do you think the head is sustained in that position?

    Either one of two things must be happening. The nose is held inward by rider hands, OR the horse is contracting underneck muscles to hold it there. So when we want open communication from back to front resulting in no blockages, we want half halts travelling right through to the back legs. We need relaxation, or oscillating muscles as occurs in a horse that uses its back. Not continuous tension.

    In a retracted underneck, there is usually one or two joints that are flexing more than the rest, this IS the blockage. You need the whole spine to be doing its part of carrying the load and arching. Hyper mobile joints overflexing is the horse copping out of it's work. How it got there depends on circumstances.
  9. SMR

    SMR Well-known Member

    I disagree with your comments Studentofthehorse. Perhaps your 2 situations describe the more common scenarios that you see, but certainly aren't the only 2 possibilities.

    Besides, my comment regarding being behind the vertical was in preference to the horse being strung out, which does nothing for the horse.
  10. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    i agree 100%
    the only horse in all photos in this thread that is working long and low, is the GREY !!!
    nose in front of the vertical, NEVER behind
  11. Troppo

    Troppo Well-known Member

    Yep this is what used to happen in the 'early days' (not that I am that old but was getting taught like this at around 15-16) Trying to 'wiggle down' and force the horses head down and in, would always result in the horse either trying to pop his head up, or sucking his head right in and behind the bit - and I was being taught that way!
  12. SMR

    SMR Well-known Member

    Yes, Smash, the grey is the ideal. How many horses have the muscle tone to be able to work like that? Certainly not the majority that I have seen.

    I hate to see horses jammed up and I hate to see hollow backed horses. Of course, behind the vertical is not a competition frame, but it gives access to the horse's back and allows the horse to stretch and build muscle. It's very easy to be idealistic and theoretical, but for most riders (including international riders lol) practical methods are those that the horse and rider are capable of at that point in time and help the horse. The conformation of the horse also has a huge bearing in what he is capable of.
  13. madcow

    madcow Guest

    agree totally with SMR**)

    Horses don't just get ridden in one or two different 'frames' ie a particular competition frame and a long and low. Ideally you should be stretching them down and bringing them back up and everything in between. There's nothing wrong with them dropping a tad behind the verticle and as SMR said sometimes they can stretch a bit better that way (certainly better than letting them poke their nose out and hollow).

    Horses are horses....they will occasionally drop behind the verticle regardless esp if they are young and green. The 'frame' shouldn't be the only thing focused on?
  14. Heifer

    Heifer Gold Member

    I agree SOTH. There are times when having them deep is advantageous i think, but that was not the question, so for L&L you want nose infront of vert so the undermuscles of the neck are loose. I usually see riders who dont give enough rein (fear plays a big part, esp if you have been taught that on the bit is be all and end all - its hard to trust sometimes!) and so the horse has his nose behind the vert. A little more rein and he will improve his L&L frame.

    And yes A&M - your pony does a great job of L&L! He continues to swing and push from behind, and lifts his back, looks great! He definately likes it too :)

    I agree MC - horses can and will and perhaps (arguably) should go behind the vert at times, but this question was what is your idea of L&L, not should the horse ever go behing the vert or how should i work my green horse per se.
  15. Brew

    Brew Well-known Member

    I Find myself in total agreement with the above and with M/C. Given the debate in all the previous posts it should be clear that l+l has some difficult points and as riders we need to take care that what we do is good for the horse and his training. It is my opinion that each horse should be trained on it's merits as every horse is different and even horses with the same conformation need a training program adapted to them.
    When training horses we have to get the body fit strong and supple but of equal or greater importance we have to train the mind .L+L is a huge subject and has been with us for ever and as we have seen it got hijacked to RK but is not even close to the same thing. Some horses require very little L+L to become fixed in a low frame which is difficult to raise and some can go for long periods no problem at all.
    It is my opinion that the trainer needs to keep a clear picture of the end result and train the horse slowly and methodically towards that end. For myself and most of my horses I find the open gullet argument of no benifit to me because I believe that flexion in the pole is vital as is a soft neck and back. In L+L I use a more rounded outline such that when the head and neck are raised into the grand prix outline the head would be nearly vertical. I use the exercise more to develop swing than anything else and concentrate more on softness in the whole body by control of front legs and rear legs to promote balance and I find most horses have difficulty staying L+L for more than a few moments at a time and without very regular half halts in the L+L position they fall on the fore. Perhaps the debate should be about "How low and how long ?"
  16. Ahh thought so :) its like his favourite thing to do LOL :D
  17. TB4Me

    TB4Me Well-known Member

    Mine too...if he's been working hard for a little while then he often hints that he'd like a stretch :) He didn't know how to do it when I first got him, then once he tried it he decided it was the bees knees!
    As for the BTV thing, are there any physiologists on here? Is it actually possible for a horse to be BTV and not contract the under neck muscles?
  18. SMR

    SMR Well-known Member

    ...but the OP is riding a green horse and so all comments are relevant Heifer ;)

    I agree with Brew and MC's comments too **)

    TB4ME, I assume your question is from my earler reply??
    If a rider is holding the horse's head behind the vertical in such a way that it is causing blockages to the detriment of his work, I consider this to be jamming up and I agree that it is not constructive. However, if a rider is holding the horse's head behind the vertical to assist in the horse using his back muscles (as opposed to being hollow), then I don't consider this to be blocking, but allowing the horse to use more of his muscles than previously (or different muscles to help gain strength).

    The same with the horse using muscles under the neck to hold his head behind the vertical - if it allows the horse to use other muscles correctly, then it is allowing development.

    If the horse is using either situation to evade work, then I agree that it is not constructive (however, there can be a fine line between a horse evading work that he is capable of and that which he can't do due to lack of muscle etc).

    There is nothing more damaging than a horse straining his muscles to work in a frame that he has not yet got the muscle to do so IMO. At the other end of the scale, riders often believe that they are achieving the correct frame, but have little understanding that their horse is not working properly within that frame (doing relatively little for their horse and then they wonder why they can't get the horse off the forehand etc).
  19. TB4Me

    TB4Me Well-known Member

    But then, how many people probably think they are doing the latter, but they're doing the former instead?
  20. SMR

    SMR Well-known Member

    Oh, I agree TB4ME...lessons with a good instructor is my only answer ;)

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