TWO FOR ONE:
FREE-LONGE YOUR HORSES IN PAIRS
If you’re a horse owner who finds free-longeing a useful and efficient part of your basic exercise program, consider varying your repertiore by working your horses at liberty in pairs.
Longeing pairs can provide a big time savings during periods when work and family commitments limit your barn time. It’s also a great way to ensure all your horses get some structured exercise on those short winter days.
For liberty work in a roundpen to provide maximum benefit, it’s important to have taught your horses to carry themselves properly on a circle. I find it works best for me to start this work in hand, first on a short line such as a lead rope and progressing out on a longe line.
Even a horse who is just starting to understand how to track “straight” on the circle can benefit from some longeing at liberty. Think of it a quiz to see how well the horse is retaining the balance lessons on the line. If he reverts to an upside-down and backward posture, he probably needs more time on a short line. When he can carry himself correctly on a circle at liberty, he has graduated from longeing school.
Once you have good voice/body language control of your horses free-longeing alone, try putting two horses who are already acquainted together and challenge yourself to work both of them on the circle. It takes some practice to split your focus to keep two horses moving in tandem, but the challenge adds a new dimension to the work for both you and the animals.
Unless you’ve had your head deep in a hole for the past few months (it just feels like years), you heard one of the presidential candidates and his party yammer on about how giving more money to the super-rich somehow enriches us all. It’s that “trickle-down” theory of economics that we’ve been hearing about since the 1980s without any indication that anyone actually benefits other than, you guessed it, the super rich.
What trickle-down theory says, basically, is that we should give a lot of something to a small group of people and eventually everyone will benefit. Of course that will work (not).
Right, then. Perhaps those of us in the horse business should give it a try. After all, we are talking about a theory espoused by a man ingenious enough, even while on vacation, to have found more room for luggage in the family station wagon by making the beloved pet dog ride on the roof.
So, I thought that given the high price of decent horse hay, maybe some of you who own or manage multiple horses might try a trickle-down feeding program. Give one horse in your barn all the hay and grain he can eat. Go on, let him turn into a big, bloated hippo. Then turn him out with your other horses so his wealth of blubber can trickle into them. Should cut your feed bills right down, don’t you think?
Two of my fellow horsewomen are working together to create a unique healing retreat in Tucson. Ring out the old year and bring in the new while you explore two interesting healing modalities with healers Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy.
- Narrative Medicine is based on the idea that people's stories about their illness contain the seeds for stories about their
healing. What they do with these seeds can make all the difference for healing and
transcendence and sometimes even for curing disease.
- Cherokee Bodywork incorporates breathwork techniques, imagery, energy medicine and ceremony in hands-on methods intended to restore spirit to all parts of the
The week will also include horse yoga lead by my colleague Jenny Kendall. You might end up doing yoga with one of my horses! Find more information or register for the weeklong retreat or individual sessions.
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