Updated: Feb 10
If you rode horses in the 90s and early 2000s, you heard of and saw the “Pessoa System” series of ropes and bungees that were the hot new training system.
These training aids are still around and they have some real use in helping to teach your horse to give over his neck and topline in a very gentle manner. I use one I purchased from Leaders and my friend, Vijay Sud. You can purchase his training aid here:
And I must add that if you are longlining in a Liverpool bit, you need these longlines:
Back to how these training aids work….
It is very simple. The connection to the bit comes from behind the horse and and helps to encourage him to accept the bit and soften his topline with very gentle pressure that gives as soon as the horse gives. Instant reward is the absolute best way to encourage the behavior you want. Depending on how you’ve adjusted the training aid to attach either low or high will affect if the horse is encouraged lower or higher in his head carriage.
Here Hans is modeling how I use the lungeing aid with my driving saddle. You can also use it with a proper surcingle.
When properly adjusted the horse should be able to move his head up and down. The head should not be tied tight, ever. I always use a fairly loose noseband… if the horse is opening his mouth in resistance, chances are you need to loosen everything up and allow him time to understand how to soften his neck and topline.
Here is my YouTube video working with Hans today where I‘ll also show you how I attach everything and have it set up: https://youtu.be/i6nFkjzW0Fk
The key to success in longlining and lungeing is lots of transitions. Right now Hans is working with transitions between gaits: walk-trot-walk-halt-walk-trot-halt. Over and over. As he gains muscle, balance, and softness, we will add in transitions within the gait: trot, lengthen trot, collected trot, working trot, medium trot, etc. However, if you watch the YouTube video, you’ll see he does not have the strength yet for transitions within the gait. Trying to lengthen his stride right now without the strength would cause him to only run quicker and not actually lengthen his stride.
There are several different ways you can adjust and use the training aid. Tell me if you’ve ever used one and how you like to
use it in your training!