Poll Recap: Longeing Lessons

Of the 797 respondents, 329 (41%) said longeing is a regular part of their horses’ fitness program.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Last week we asked our readers how they use longeing for training and exercising their horse. Nearly 800 readers responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 797 respondents, 329 (41%) said longeing is a regular part of their horses’ fitness program. Another 79 respondents (10%) said they longe their horses before riding to work off some excess energy, while 76 individuals (10%) said they only longe young horses or those in training. Sixty-seven respondents (8%) said they only longe their horses in novel situations, such as visiting a new show grounds. The remaining respondents said they do not longe their horses: 127 (16%) said they choose to round pen their horses rather than longeing, and 119 (15%) said they neither longe nor round pen their horses.

Poll Results

Additionally, 79 people left comments about longeing and how it fits into their horses’ training and exercising routine.

Several people commented on the benefits they see to longeing:

  • “I use longeing with classical dressage exercises to isolate specific muscle groups and balance both sides.”
  • “Longeing and round pen work helped get my horse back into work after an injury and when I couldn't ride.”
  • “In addition to getting (him or her) some exercise, it also help focus your horse on work.”
  • “It loosens them up, and I am able to see if their are any lameness issues before I get on.”
  • “Warm-ups with longeing can save a lot of bruises!”
  • “It's great for young horses, fitness, and to introduce jumping or driving.”
  • “Longeing forms the framework for work in the saddle with the same discipline and development.”
  • “Free longeing helps build horse's confidence, trust, and understanding.”
  • “Longeing helps gauge (the horse's) mental state to determine best training routine for day.”
  • “There is more to lunging than running a horse in circles. Fitness is just a bonus to the training.”

Many individuals described about how they use longeing as part of their horse’s training program:

  • “I always do ground work before riding to make sure my horse is thinking and not reacting.”
  • “I use round pen, longe, and liberty work on a regular basis as both a warm-up and to evaluate mood/energy level.”
  • “I round pen prior to riding to get rid of excess energy and get his mind focused on me.”
  • “I only longe for training or before riding to assess my mare's mood.”
  • “I longe to check for soundness and to gain insight to their mindset for the day before riding.”
  • “Longeing is part of basic ground training for my horse(s).”
  • “We are using the longe line to increase core fitness to relieve back issues.”
  • “We ise it mostly for training/relaxing purposes, but never for regular exercise.”
  • “I longe my horse as part of a training program and to get the bloat out to tighten the cinch.
  • “I use longeing as a training tool for any horse that needs reminding of its basic ground manners.”
  • “I use longeing also as a way to show I am his leader.”
  • “I longe my horse a few times each month on days I don't have enough time to ride.”
  • “I use longeing to help with stretching and conditioning the back.”
  • “I use longeing and long lining to teach new skills, like trot-canter-trot transitions.”
  • “My horses are 14 years old and very broke. I would use longeing on a horse in training.”
  • “Young horses are taught respect with longeing; riding horses are longed to get out the extra bucks.”
  • “I longe for carriage and fitness. I also add in a lot of Clinton Anderson (methods). It makes a well rounded horse.”
  • “Longeing is a good excercise for continuing education along with round penning.”
  • “I longe my horse to see if he is moving well, and it helps him work off excess energy before we ride.”
  • “I will longe even in a round pen if I need more control, such as during injury rehab or training.”
  • “We use light longeing for rehabbing injured horses.”
  • “I longe if my horse is 'high.' My old age = no bucks allowed!”
  • “I longe and round pen my horse for fitness. I cannot ride currently due to an accident, but he needs to be worked!”
  • “We longe young horses if we haven't ridden them for a while.”
  • “I longe all horses I train, as well as with my older horse, when we need some stress-free work outs.”
  • “I will longe my old horse to keep his joints moving when I don't feel like riding.”
  • “I use round pen work at liberty, as well as working on the longe line, depending on training program.”
  • “Longeing and long lining are regularly used in training my horses.”

Others don't feel so positively about longeing:

  • “I get too dizzy!”
  • “Better question: Is a horse really trained if you have to longe before riding?”
  • “Longing on regular basis can be very bad for horses.”
  • “Longeing is a mindless act for the horse.”
  • “I never longe my young horses (when they're) under 3 years. Their joints are not done growing”
  • “Longeing is a sad way to exercise a horse. It is simply forcing them away from you.”

And a few people commented about alternatives to longeing:

  • “I use untracking and lead-by exercises on a rope halter in lieu of longeing when I can or when necessary.”
  • “I work my horses in hand and do ground work rather than traditional longeing.”
  • “I use long reining. It's better for flexibility and better for joints.”
  • “I do not longe or round pen. Instead I redirect their energy, not wear them out.”
  • “I prefer to work with a horse in the round pen. You can do so much more with them”
  • “My horses are so gentle they no longer require longeing.”
  • “I play Parelli games with my horses.”

You can find out more about how longeing surfaces can affect the way a horse moves and watch a video about the proper way to longe a horse on TheHorse.com. 

This week we want to know: What is your favorite fly-control method around the barn? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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