A while back I had posted about doing long line work and Ground driving 101 and after reading it again, I really didn't give any tips or "how to" info.
Nope. Not much info there. So what to do? Well how about we start with equipment. If you plan on spending a good amount of time on the ground teaching the horse how to use their body, you'll probably want to invest in a decent surcingle. These are available online thru a number of companies- Dover, Jeffers, Spart Pak, Stateline, Big Dee's, Greenhawk and Valley Vet to name a few. Prices range from around $30 to a few $100 depending on what you want (synthetic vs leather, generic vs name brands) and how much you plan to spend. If you're working towards driving, the harness saddle can be used. I have the one from my good harness and also my old leather harness I started Kat in. I use either one, depending on the day.
You can also use a western saddle, tying your stirrups together underneath to limit swing and running the lines thru the stirrups. An English saddle can likely be used the same way or with the stirrups run up, but I personally haven't used mine or seen things done this way. That's not to say it can't be done, but just keep in mind the lines will be sliding thru your stirrups and possibly across the flaps if the stirrups are up and may eventually damage the leather.
Lines- can be either purchased or made. Local hardware and home improvement stores have 5/8" nylon rope in 100 foot lengths for around $10-$15 in a variety of colors. They also have snaps and you'll want to buy 3 snaps. Measure out 30' of rope and cut there. Melt the ends to stop them from fraying. Attaching a snap to this gives you a lunge line. The remaining length of rope should be 70'. Putting the ends together and cutting this in half, melting the ends, gives you 2 lines, 35' long. This is plenty of line for working a horse or pony. Attach the other 2 snaps to these lines and you're all set.
Bridle- this can be either a western or English bridle, I use both and or thos work, the reins will need to come off. My choice of bits is typicallya snaffle of some kind. Either a plain loose ring snaffle (on Kat), half cheek snaffle, an offset D-ring snaffle, regular D-ring snaffle or a loose ring French link. All relatively mild bits and something the horse/pony can be comfortable with. That's the biggest thing is using a milder bit and teaching the horse they can be comfortable with it and still respond. I did use a pony size pelham on Kat once. No it is not a 'legal' bit for driving and yes I did need to use 4 lines (that was interesting and fun) and it did accomplish what I was trying to get accross to him, but we ddidn't make a habit of it.
Another thing I like to use is gloves. Lets face it- riding or driving we wear gloves for a completed, finished look. Driving it is a requirement. May as well get used tp it now, right? My gloves are a heavy leather that I use not just for long line work but when doing stalls, loading/unloading hay? Moving brick, wood or whatever, to protect my hands. If the horse should pull the ropes thru your hands for any reason, gloves keep you from getting rope burns.
The next post we will get started. Hopefully things will have dried up enough that I can get some pics of the work and ways to start out to keep everything simple for both everyone and their horses.