And now, I can't find Al. So I can't actually quote it perfectly. I really apologize. I will keep looking. It is probably under the leg of a wobbly table or is otherwise wedging something into place somewhere. Mr. Motard may have used it for kindling. But..perhaps someone else with a copy can validate my quote.
In there somewhere he is talking about dealing with horses that are being naughty and he basically says (my words, not his) that sometimes, ya just gotta give them a nice butt spanking. But then, being the wise man that he is, he suggests that you do it out behind the barn, where no one can see you do it.
Huh. Interesting. Good advice - thanks Al. If only Anky had kept his book by her toilet for reference, she could have saved herself a lot of internet slagging.
The strangest thing about this passage - since it is so very true, and so very useful - is how it is virtually NEVER quoted on the bulletin boards anywhere. It is really weird. Maybe some bluebirds came by and ripped this page out of the versions of the book published after 1962, or whenever it was my copy from the Horse Lover's Library was published.
Anyway, when I hunt the book down, I promise I will type the actual paragraph. But now, let's move on to what it actually is you will begin reading about, when reading about starting your young horse.
Is there anything as...uhhh...diverse out there as what people mean when they say they are "longeing their horse".
Well - for those who do longe their horses. Because there is of course (just as with shoeing, vaccination and other things that I consider to be normal, everyday horsie things) a contingent of people that believe you should NEVER longe a young horse. Only a cruel person would - if you make them circle around too much, they will wear down their limbs, leaving you with a weiner horse on little peg legs or something else equally as frightening. Or their little brains will be so bored that they will melt and ooze out of their ears.
These people are idiots. I don't know anyone who does a decent job with young horses who doesn't do at least a bit of longeing to start rider and horse off speaking a few of the same words of a common language. No - longeing is not the be all / end all. But...I think it is more like Dora the Explorer for horses. Could you become a Canadian embassador to Mexico just watching Dora? No, probably not. Could you order any number of required beer in a polite and efficient fashion on your next Cuban vacation - uh, sure (since the drunken guy beside you on the plane typically wants to say "oooonaaa ceeerrrrvay-sa pour faavooor" at least 50 times beteween Toronto and Varadero - add this to what Dora has taught you about counting and you are good to go).
But once you get beyond the Dora Explorer basics that typically go something like this...
1. Put horse on a rope.
2. Make them go in a circle around you.
3. Say things like...Waaaalk on! Terrrr-ot! Caaaannn-ter! Caaaaann-ter! aaaand woooahh (maybe add that stupid brrrrp noise here a few times)...
From there on in.. well, it is kind of the anything goes, wild west.
Since when it comes to starting young horses, most people are sequestered away in their arenas doing whatever it is they do in private (thanks Al!), the best place to really witness how free form the definition of longeing can be is to go to a horse show. Preferably one that has hunter/jumper AND dressage rings.
You will see everything from people flying horses like kites with nothing but a halter and longe line, a sturdy set of gloves and 2 hours to burn - to people with their horses bound up with pads and surcingles and sidereins like Houdini trying to escape from a straightjacket with locks. And both of these people consider themselves to be "warming up their horses"
|Caaaaannn-ter! Caaaaan-ter! Cluck-cluck-cluck - brrrrpp!|
Add to this the new and trendy ways to make your horse circle around you, such as "the roundpen".
Maybe somewhere out there there is a non-scary roundpen, but I have not yet seen it. In these here parts, they are typically thistle filled enclosures with a 6 inch deep trough worn around the outside, and are only used by weirdos - such as those people who feel that longeing will wear your horse's legs down to nubs, but somehow, letting them go Mach 9 in a roundpen won't. These kinder, gentler horse owners let their young'uns rip in these enclosures while turning their bodies here and there to send psychic horse whispery messages their way, while licking and chewing. Or something. While bystanders just hope to hell the horse won't get its legs caught up in the bars as it flys by trying to kick someone's head off.
So, you can mock me for reading books written by somewhat sane people. But I do think it helps to set some sort of a step-by-step framework for what it is you would like to accomplish with your young horse.