Experiments, Comfort Zones, and No More Longe Lines

Final Call makes me somewhat. . . experimental.

Possibly not the best word choice, but work with me.

You get into a pattern with a horse, and sometimes you stick with it. It’s a safety thing. It’s your comfort zone. And stepping out of your comfort zone can be the scariest thing in the world, but also, of course, the most liberating. Doors don’t open until you rap very hard on them – or perhaps knock them down.

If it hadn’t been a rainy wet winter, and my round pen wouldn’t have been flooded into Lake Okeechobee, I wouldn’t have been so experimental with Final Call from the very start. I was forced straight out of my comfort zone and to ride him in a large paddock – I don’t have a riding ring, as this is a small breeding farm and just set up for that.

If I hadn’t decided to write about Final Call, instead of keeping to myself in case someone made fun of my training techniques – and yes, that was my initial fear, and I can’t believe no one has called me out for something yet – I wouldn’t have connected my instincts with the actual riding I was doing. I’ve been riding by the seat of my pants for years. Putting it into words has been fascinating.

Final Call jumping

Take a shot, have some fun!

And of course, there’s a whole domino pattern here with Final Call, and the blog, and the opportunity to go to New York and work with racehorses first-hand, so that this blog can involve into something that I think no one else is doing, which is explaining the life and times of racehorses so that all you happy OTTB adopters and owners can apply that to your training at home.

But more immediately, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone with Final Call yet again, and done something I think everyone aspires to – I’ve stopped longing.

I think most of us longe our horses as a safety measure, so the horse can blow of steam (real or imagined) and get their bucks out. There are other good reasons, of course – if you want to see how they’re moving, or use side reins for a little bit. I had reached a point where I was longing with side reins to flex his body and blow off steam. But no one wants to longe forever. Don’t we all want to reach a point where we can just hop on the horse in the stall and go off for a ride without the preliminaries? (Only mount up in the stall if you have a nice high ceiling like I do!)

And of course, the only way you can find out if your horse is up for the challenge is to just, well, do it.

It can end one of two ways: well, or badly. Whether or not you believe it will end well is probably a good indication of whether or not you should give it a shot…

Ours ended well, and I’m happy to say it’s now our new routine. Instead of schlepping out to the round pen and running in a circle, I swing on board in the stall and go out to the paddock for a nice long warm-up walk. Yes, it’s a big, head-swinging, pricked-ears walk, maybe with a few steps of jog mixed in. He’s happy, he’s having fun – which is more than I can say for the longe line warm-up. So far, I love life without longe lines. I’ll let you know how it works out.

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6 Comments

Filed under Final Call, Training Diary, Training Theory

6 responses to “Experiments, Comfort Zones, and No More Longe Lines

  1. This brought a smile to my face! He’s a Good Boy!!

  2. Laurie Bochner

    I have a love/hate relationship with the longe line. Trooper is horrible to longe so I tend to avoid it but somedays I am hesitant to get on his back without getting the stink off him first. This weekend we were able to go straight to work with no drama!

    • Natalie Keller Reinert

      “Get the stink off” -LMAO. Yeah they definitely come in handy for that, and let’s face it, with some horses you can never trash the longe line…

  3. Holy cow, left much?
    😉
    There, do you feel better? May I take another shot, pleez?

    Still astonished. Kudos, and jolly good show!
    Your aspirations are spot-on. Hang up the longe line when you’re done with it. Who likes spinning in circles, besides my Blaze puppy?

    Sorry, I’ve been busy (no, the horse is STILL there), but you know I can NeveR resist a shot. It’s in me blood. Especially when given permission to take said shot!
    I think the best attitude any one can reach in training/riding/anything, is utter confidence in oneself.
    As long as you feel “right”, and the horse is doing what you want, or an approximation towards what you want, you’re in the good zone. No-one “calls out” a confident tone, unless you’re saying things like “Yeah, I reeefed his mouth the other day, I just felt like it.”

    Final Call would be the first to “call you out”.
    He has no reason to.
    Shot #2
    Quit rounding shoulders, lass. Do not annoy me. If there’s ONE thing big old bay drilled into my thick head, it was open up your chest, and politely astound people with your posture. You’ve collapsed into a puddle of uselessness there. Because you collapsed your chest.
    Last one, I swear!

    Carry on:)

    • Natalie Keller Reinert

      Go on, go on, hit me with your best shot!! ::ducks insults::

      Listen, my riding posture will never astound. I stopped caring about equitation a loooooong time ago. I have my own riding style called “Be safe and don’t get killed.” It’s not always pretty – plus I ride with my stirrups about three holes too short. I LIKES it there. I don’t like showing and am avoiding it at ALL costs. (Notice we went to a hunter pace, not a hunter show.)

      And if my chest is collapsed – am I pulling on my green horse’s mouth? Nooooope. So there! 🙂 Preserve one’s life, preserve one’s horse’s mouth – what’s next? Oh I know, his back. Yeah. I’m not sitting on his back – I don’t think…

      I have MISSED you. But you are on big important missions right now. Feel free to post updates/links here. I barely have time to look at my own horses, so I can’t update from other blogs at the moment.

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