Horses need exercise, especially if they are kept in a stall. In some cases, it is not possible to ride the horse for exercise. If the horse is injured, pregnant, young, or not broke to ride, it may be preferable to longe to keep it fit. Longing is a form of controlled exercise that a horseman carries out with a horse. Longing is also a good exercise of control to practice with your horse. Longing a horse is a fairly easy process. However, it does require some specific steps for success.
- To longe your horse, first begin in a round pen or fenced in area. You will also need a longe line, which is a long lead rope about 30 feet long. The rope will need a latch to attach to a halter at one end and a loop for you to hold at the other end. For beginning horses, a long whip is also needed.
- Attach the latch of the longe rope to the horses halter. You will need to attach the rope to the left side of the halter and grasp the rope with your left hand. You will hold the whip in your right hand.
- Looking at the horse, move toward the horse's back causing the horse to move forward. As the horse moves, you will need to begin to let out the rope at a longer distance. Continue to lengthen the distance between you and the horse until you are in the center of the ring. The idea is to keep the horse moving forward in circles around you.
- Use the whip behind the horse as reinforcement. The whip is not meant to be used on the horse but rather as a director for the horse. If the horse is carrying out the desired action, the whip is not needed. Keep the whip pointed down or behind you when it is not in use.
- As the horse is moving, use voice commands to give it directions. Use whoa, walk, trot, or canter to let the horse know your desired action. The tone of your voice can do a lot when it comes to directions. Say faster commands, such as trot and canter, in a louder, faster voice. When wanting the horse to stop or slow down, use a calmer and slower tone of voice. These commands should already be mastered at a closer distance before trying to carry them out at the full length of the longe rope.