Long Lining with a Double Bridle

I have never been taught this training method. While I do have some knowledgeable resources to teach me hands on stuff but I would really like the theory behind this method please. What is the purpose (other than oh it teaches them to wear it better, yea but better how)? What kind of horse would you use this with or not? What do you have to watch out for? How should the converter be adjusted? Any special notes that should be included? Thank you.

16 Responses to Long Lining with a Double Bridle

  1. I have been watching this space, waiting for comments. Nothing yet, so here is my 2 cents. I do not see how one can long line in a double bridle. Conceivably, you could attach the lines to the bradoon, but to what purpose? You certainly cannot attach to the curb without the risk of damage to the horses mouth. Where did you see this done? Hope not at a Morgan show.

  2. Carley says:

    I’ve witnessed some of the top trainers bitting/lounging and long lining in double bridles using bit connectors. If the horse requires more curb then the attachment to the curb should be shorter. If they require more snaffle, then that section should be shortened or an over-check should be used.

  3. How does 12-15 feet of line leave the “driver” with any sensitivity at all to the horses mouth? Look, I understand that Harness driving loses some “feel” to the horses mouth and that is simply unavoidable by virtue of the physical facts. I can also look the other way when toothed bicycle chain bits are used to drive pleasure and park horses because the combination of “hot” horse and remote driver is just plain dangerous (I didn’t say I liked them, but I can see where they can be sort of justified). What I don’t understand is why someone’s training would produce a horse in a double bridle that is so hard-mouthed that you can long line them in that bridle without them objecting violently. Must be some iron-mouthed old B—–d of a show gelding. :-) Maybe, just maybe, some of the finest trainers with years of riding and exquisite sensitivity can reasonably achieve something by this set-up (why can’t they just ride ‘em?), but seriously, Jrchloe, if you have to ask how to set up a horse in this rig, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Nothing personal. I would never try this.

  4. SeaSmoke says:

    I have seen a trainer work a horse with the curb loosely hooked to the surcingle and longline with the snaffle. The horses she trained always had light mouths. She also didn’t do it endlessly–just to get them used to the bit and light pressure.

    I personally would NEVER longline with both bits, but that’s because I just don’t feel comfortable with how much pressure I would be inevitable be putting on their mouth. I’m also just an AOT, so I don’t have the skill necessary (though I’m sure some AOT people do).

  5. Even attaching a curb to the surcingle sets you up for catastrophe if the horse throws themselves over (and who knows why or when a horse might do that?). If the curb chain is fastened, you are likely to break the horses’ jaw or damage the bars so badly that it would take months to recover. I would never do try it, but at the least, the curb chain should be unfastened or so loose that its effect is absent, if you just want to give the horse the feel of the curb and bradoon together in the mouth.

  6. Sibilla says:

    I’ve seen many trainers working horses in double bridles, longlining, bitting rig, and dumb jocks. Usually with a bit connector strap. I think it obviously depends on the skill of the person doing it. The horses ive seen do fine with it.

  7. It still seems to me the gain (if any) is more than outweighed by the loss of sensitivity to the action of the bit in the mouth and the risk of injury to the horse. Why do this? Is it too much trouble to climb on and ride the horse? Can you work another horse in the time to saddle up? I would not want a trainer of mine to be rushing this or using a short cut.
    Just because a lot of trainers do something doesn’t make it wise. Many trainers are always looking for a way to work a horse faster and get results quicker. No, our style of riding does not allow for years of preparation as does Classical Dressage, but it seems to me that rushing the introduction of the double bit or taking shortcuts with it is really not in the long-term interest of the horse. How about some comments from some trainers?

  8. gixxer says:

    Been holding my tongue on this one for a while now because there’s just no nice way to say this, but here goes anyway – why Chris Nerland do you offer opinion on things you obviously and admittedly know nothing about? Perhaps the only way you could conceive of teaching a horse to wear a curb in this manner would be cruel and dangerous – proof of that is your suggestion to not attach the curb strap/chain. Talk about an absolute disaster waiting to happen. And to call lining with a full bridle a short cut or gimmick further proves your lack of knowledge and understanding of how a horse learns, how a curb works, what a curb is *supposed* to accomplish and how a horse’s mouth is built.

    That you personally don’t know how or why a thing works does not mean it does not accomplish the task safely and effectively. In fact, teaching a horse to wear a curb this way is the safest, for horse and rider, and the most effective for the properly prepared horse.

  9. gixxer: I am gratified to hear from an expert. How do you believe a curb chain works? Do you not acknowledge that the shanks would act on the fulcrum of the bit lying across the bars, bringing the chain tight up against the underside of the jaw, pinching the bars and jawbone between the bit and the curb chain, if the horse was struggling against a rein secured to a surcingle? Using bit connectors would moderate that if the line went to the handler, but I still don’t see the advantage over a rider independently operating the curb and the bradoon. As far as my ignorance, suffice to say I have daily access to an expert who studied under Dr. van Schaik, and who also attended a riding school in England. She has trained Morgans for most of her life. Frankly, she and I don’t see any particular advantage in driving a double bridle in long lines and we see the potential for a lot of damage. So, rather than scorn my ignorance, why don’t you explain why such a rig is justifiable, safe and effective? What does it do that a rider with good hands could not do better?

  10. gixxer and others: Never let it be said that I cannot be educated: I went to my “bible”: Training Your Colt To Ride And Drive, and on pages 78 through 83 is Rick Wallens discussion on training a colt to a double bridle, including an interesting illustration of bringing a clothesline from the curb ring back through a pulley and over to the other shank when you are bitting the colt in a stall. However, he also cautions to never attach side reins to the curb reins in an unyielding manner (like back to a surcingle). It can injure the bars permanently if the horse rears or lunges. (Makes sense, huh?) So, now we have the colt yielding to the curb and then he adds the bridoon to the combination. He then recommends ride-driving the colt by walking alongside (no mention of connectors). He does say that for the FIRST time, working from the ground is safer than riding. Okay, I’ll buy that.

    I still have the question: when you have a horse well-trained in the double bridle, what advantage (besides time) do you gain by working that horse in connectors? The comments above seem to indicate that trainers are regularly seen working horses (on a show ground) in double bridles with connectors. If I assume they are doing it to save time and trouble, am I so wrong? I expressed the opinion that doing it that way is not utilizing the double bridle the way it was designed. I have, contra gixxer, ridden a double bridle. My instructor is a classically trained dressage student. To her, the double bridle is used only to “finish” the horse. We both realize modern Saddle Seat riding has different goals and different means.

  11. Sibilla says:

    When long-lining with a double bridle you are not attaching the curb to a unyielding point. It seems to me this discussion could go on forever, but when you get down to it the truth is the culture of classically trained dressage people and saddleseat people is different, and you are going to have differing opinions on training. Just like someone who works cows, jumps, or basically does something different than what you do with your horse might have a differing opinion. Having worked in a morgan training barn for years I can say our horses were well trained and healthy.

  12. Sibilla: I do not doubt that they were, and I agree with your comments. A positive thing I got from this discussion was a reference to askthetraineronline with Lonnie Lavery. Very good website with discussions of the means and philosophy behind Saddleseat riding.

  13. StacyGRS says:

    I have and do long line in a double bridle. I use a straight rein/line (as opposed to draw) to a bit connector. I make the strap on the snaffle shorter than the one on the curb so I ALWAYS get to snaffle first. I do it in a bull pen so I don’t have to do much steering or containing of speed. I usually do this when teaching one to wear the full bridle. This way I don’t have to have constant contact with their mouth and they can learn to use it knowing their is softness and frequent release. It’s sort of a slower way of introducing a bit that works entirely differently than anything they know to that point. I find it very helpful.

  14. Stacy: Thank you for your input: I hoped we would hear from you because you always have something valuable to say. Under your scenario, I can see how this method could work to advance the horse. I think it would take a delicate touch but the pressure and release could probably accomplish some useful training from the ground within the confines of a round pen.
    I think this is like a lot of other training aids such as dumb jocks, draw reins, shackles, stretchies, etc. In practiced hands, they can be useful, but they can cause injury if not understood.
    I hope we can keep talking on this site about the different training methods that produce our show horses (since this is a show horse site). I don’t mind if some people snarl at me :-) as long as they explain why they think I am wrong. So many horse blogs are just name-calling or snarky attacks (like fhotd). Saddle seat/show does not seem to have a place where people can come to discuss openly why our discipline does what they do and how they do it (other than askthetraineronline-a great site, by the way).

  15. SeaSmoke says:

    Just thought I would let you all know that there is a “how to” article in The Equine Journal on training a horse to wear the full bridle. It mentions lining in a full bridle…

  16. StacyGRS says:

    well, thanks Chris. I find most training methods only as good as the user’s understanding of how to use them. I could acquire all of the accounting software and tools I want, but that won’t make me capable of using them unless I really understand them. So, the fact is, most things can be used well and help in training, and can also be very detrimental in the wrong hands.
    And for those that asked what you can do in lines that you can’t do on their back…you can be SURE you won’t lose your balance and hit the bridle! Young horses (like those just being started in a fb) are sometimes jumpy or reactive. Should they object to the bridle or even spook at something and you accidentally punish them with that new bridle…well, it can set them back and make them very fearful of it. And, lets face it…ANYONE can get unseated at some point and time. Lining them makes sure they don’t suffer for that moment.

Leave a Reply