A Horse-Showing How-To: The Longe-Line Class

Part 2: So, you’ve decided you want to show in the longe-line class. Examine these tips for prepping a yearling to step into the show ring.

If you’re looking for another way to expose your yearling to the show ring, the longe-line class might be for you. Offered by the National Snaffle Bit Association (an AQHA alliance partner), the class enables both western and English prospects a chance to experience the horse-showing scene.

Before diving into the nitty gritty of the longe-line class, review Part 1 to learn the basics of the class.

Developing a Longe-Line Routine

When the yearling is relaxed and consistent in the round pen and focuses on me, I will bring him into the arena. Once he understands how to longe in the arena at a walk, jog and lope, and will allow me to control his body position on the longe line, then he is ready to have his routine polished for the show pen.

Showmanship is another great class for those who like in-hand work. And we can help you in that horse-showing journey. Download AQHA’s FREE Showmanship Basics report so you can master another discipline with your horse.

The longeing portion of the class is a minute and a half. At 45 seconds, a whistle will blow to alert you it is halfway over. At the end of 90 seconds, time is called. When polishing your show routine at home, it’s best to have someone time the routine for you.

What usually works for me: I’ll have my horse as far out on the end of the longe line as I can get him when the judge calls for time to begin. I’ll let him walk maybe a quarter of a circle and then I’ll ask him to jog.

Pay attention to your judges’ and ring stewards’ instructions. You have the judges’ attention for 90 seconds, so you want to make the best impression possible.

The longe-line class is a really good class for people. Maybe you don’t like halter, and you don’t want to ride either, but you want to do something with horses. Longe line is a good alternative, plus it’s a fun class.

Halter? Check. Longe-line class? Check. Next on the list? Try showmanship! With AQHA’s FREE Showmanship Basics report, you’ll look like a pro - not a newbie - when you step into the ring!

Dos and Don’ts of Longe-Line

    • Do learn to read your horse’s expressions and body language.
    • Do maintain proper hoof care. Shoeing might be needed if your horse’s feet wear irregularly Do wrap with polo wraps or splint boots for training sessions.
    • Don’t longe your horses with mechanical devices.
    • Don’t tie your horse’s head down. It doesn’t promote natural head carriage or expression.
    • Don’t drastically alter your training routine.
    • Don’t get frustrated or lose your patience. Don’t put your yearling in any position where he will lose confidence in his handler.