May. 10th, 2017

lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I acquired three sets of long lines from Knotty Girlz. My initial intent was to just get one set of lines in order to replace the 22' Parelli Feather Lines with something 30' long because 22' just doesn't give me the distance I need to do good work on the long lines. I don't want to have to jog to keep up (hard to keep a soft connection in the hands while jogging!) while trotting and cantering circles or changing directions. Plus I want to be well out of the horse's way should something go awry (like taking exception to the line above their hocks the first time). While a good idea and a start in the right direction in helping Tru-D find forward with the long lines, the feather lines had their shortfalls. Literally.

While not in their lineup, Knotty Girlz happily made my lines and does other custom work. I had debated just getting the rope (their parent company is Columbia Basin Knot Company and they sell rope by the foot and wholesale) and learning how to splice (because I need another skill to develop in all my spare time). They sell an equestrian rope sample kit for $5 including shipping that has a brochure and about a dozen short lengths of rope all labeled with their size, material, and color so you can get a literal feel of their ropes. It also includes $5 off your next purchase so the rope sample is essentially free.

The double braid polyester (also referred to as yacht braid) was the same type of rope as the feather lines and felt good in hand. I then started thinking about the worth of my time learning and doing it myself versus paying them for their time and skill, so I messaged them through their website and got a promt reply with a quote for three sets: the 1/4" that I asked for, 5/16" and also a 3/8". I think this was clever upselling on their part as they ended up with triple the order! They initially quoted for snaps, which I corrected, just the eye splice loop. I have grown less fond of snaps plus I have a drawerful I could pull from if I changed my mind. They typically do three inch "diameter" eye loops. They use 6" of rope folded back on itself to create a 3" teardrop. I was afraid it would be a true circle diameter, but they explained it and that made more sense. The Feather Lines have a 1.5" eye splice loop so I compromised and asked for 2" on all of them. One of my clients got a pair of the 1/4" lines with a 3" eye spliced loop and while functional it isn't aesthetically pleasing.

Once the details were finalized from the length, loop size, the end of each rope (leather "poppers"), and color they billed me through paypal and within a week my lines shipped.

They arrived safe and sound and I was excited to try them out (bonus, selling both the Feather Lines and my old MCR lines paid for half the order!)

In addition to the lines I ordered bit straps from My Draft Horse Superstore (everything you need but feed) at $5 each so I could buckle to whatever I needed rather than hitching it through or hitching i5 to a snap. I used mini/pony ones for the 1/4" lines and "Haflinger" sized ones on the 5/16" and 3/8" and they have worked well. While the buckles aren't as convenient as snaps they aren't as bulky weight wise and they fit on any bit without issue, including the slots on a Kimberwick or Liverpool as well as on any halter or lungeing cavesson.

I've been working between the three sets of lines the last few weeks to feel them out and decide their best uses.

The 1/4" are hunter green and are light in the hand. They have enough body to be able to send a little life down them and also to swing them up and over with a fair amount of accuracy. I like that I can bunch them up and send then through the surcingle rings without having to feed it through foot by foot. Because they are round they slide easily through the surcingle rings when in use. They are also thin enough that holding the slack doesn't create unweildy bulk in the hand.

The downside is due to their size they are easier to get hung up on things since they can slide into narrower spaces. I had issue with it getting hung up on the kicking strap as I initially sent it over the hip, but it's a pretty minor thing. I also found that they work best with a sensitive horse when lungeing. Long lining it doesn't really matter, but while lungeing there isn't a whole lot of weight there so with horses who aren't so attentive there's only so much "noise" you can send down the line to call the horse's attention back to you.

The other issue is the grip. Previously when I long lined with my 1/2" lines or flat lines (forever ago...) I usually had the reins come out the top of my hand for ease of adjustment, but the 1/4" lines don't offer much traction so I've been using my usual riding/driving grip, having it come out between my pinky and ring finger to be sure I have traction when needed.

I haven't had the chance to long line using the two thicker lines, but I have done a bit of lungeing with them. The 5/16" lines I ordered in navy. They are a little heavier and offer more grip. I think they are a good medium between the 1/4" and 3/8" lines. I probably could have gone without this set, but it's another tool in the toolbox. They're a good set to grab if I might switch between lungeing and long lining and don't want both the 1/4" and 3/8" to drag along.

The 1/4" line is pretty convenient, however as the 30' length at that diameter is nothing to hold in the hand. I wouldn't recommend tying with it as I believe it's breaking point is under 2000lbs, but you could use it to lead as well as lunge and long linr without feeling like you're hanging on to a ton of rope.

The 3/8" lines are purple and close in feel to my old 1/2" MCR lines. They have enough weight to get attention back much quicker than the 1/4" lines, but a little less bulky than the 1/2" MCRs. I do like them as a lunge line.

Overall I do like the lines. I like using the bit straps to connect. They aren't as fast as a snap, but they don't bang the jaw or require extra energy to move. I like the leather poppers on the end of the lines because absent a whip you can twirl the end of the line to good effect. The color variety varies depending on the type of line, but most of them have several to choose from and I like having then color coded so I can just grab the color over looking at the size. I had debated getting each individual line a different color
to make it easy to tell the left from the right, but decided against it. It would be more for clients than me anyway and I'd rather remember three colors than six!

In brief I like my new lines. The 30' length is so much nicer to work with. Yes it is long, but dealing with the slack is no big deal, especially with the 1/4" lines. I look forward to many years of use ahead!

Additional bonus, today I discovered I could use the bit straps to keep the lines tidy. Now I don't have to fight a tangled mess and they can hang neatly on the hook together!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)

Wednesdays might be Ride A Tru-D day for a bit. I have working students, but usually not lessons so I'm outside supervising, though both of them are really good at this point and I'm there "just in case" or if they finish a task and need direction for the next one.

I started by helping Susanne muck out the arena and part of the stalls before grabbing Tru-D. She might actually be enjoying the work now as she is no longer a pill about being caught. Of course as soon as I say that she might promptly decide that being caught is for the birds again, but we'll hope not!

I lunged her first and she had a little kick up in the canter. I think she might have been expecting the breeching on her butt again. I'll have to lunge her in full harness again and maybe snug up the breeching a bit more so it is less floppy. Other than that she was nicely responsive so I figured we were good to go. Swapped my hat for the helmet and threw on the vest before standing in the stirrup a couple times and climbing aboard. She stood great and this time instead of asking her to walk straight off I asked for some turn on the forehand first. She did quite well with that and we proceeded to have a nice short walk where she spent a lot of time stopping to check in with my balance, which I'm appreciating at the moment. She's trying to figure out that forward is still the easiest, just like with pulling when she tries to shift left or right to see if it is easier. We went a little over double the distance of the first ride, did a couple of turns, and called it good. Brief and positive is the best!

Speaking of other first rides, last week I leaned up on Grace for the first time. We did a lot of work on her right side because she was pretty skittish about me being up on the block on that side or bouncing so we did a lot of up and down on the mounting block, bouncing in place, and generally being a nuisance until she relaxed about it. I got her to take a few steps with me draped across her like a sack of potatoes and called it good.

Over the weekend I realized I was doing it the hard way when I had Dawn right there to assist so today after some initial up and down and being sure she was good with me moving around on both sides of her I had Dawn grab her lunge line and I had the lead rope. I stepped on and had Dawn lead Grace for a bit before feeding us out the lunge line. We walked and halted a couple of times and then called it good. I think she'll get going a little faster than Tru-D because she is more physically mature and also I'm working her twice a week (down from the three times we did at the start) and Dawn is great about doing her homework inbetween and asking questions when she has trouble.

As noted before Dawn said she was interested in doing All The Things with Grace so we'll be measuring her for a harness tomorrow as well as putting in another short ride.

I haven't started wearing the air vest yet, but I should. I think I've established that both of these greenies are going to be good and stand long enough for me to attach the lanyard so time to make use of my investment!

Yesterday I also did an evaluation on another Gypsy. His name is Olaf (Olav?) and I have no pictures because I don't have three hands. He's 14.3 hands and wears a size 4 shoe to give you an idea about his mass!

Olaf came from a lady who bought him from the local Gypsy breeder. The lady had him several years and didn't so much with him. He may have had some training from DJGV, but it's unclear what. I started out lungeing him, which he did stellar with. Someone put time into establishing good lungeing manners. I then got him outfitted in my training harness wkth the surcingle and breastcollar first. He took a little exception to the breastcollar and didn't think he could go forward and it was in his way. He got over it quickly enough, but still seemed a little short in his stride.

Deb had mentioned he was a bit goosey behind so I worked his tail gently and played with th end of the lunge line under it to give him the idea that lifting his tail gave him release. After that the crupper wasn't a problem and we moved on to the rope traces. I moved them behind his hocks, which he wasn't fond of, but got over and then I tested his reaction to weight in the breastcollar. He thought about backing up, but found the forward (just leaning) fairly quickly. I removed the traces before sending him out on the lunge line and having Deb make noise with the singletree. He was very much not a fan and had some opinions about that, but they didn't last very long. After tormenting him with the singletree we worked on the long lines, which he was quite respinsive to.

Overall he did quite well. He had a couple moments, but they didn't last long and I was pushing buttons to see what he knew and where we need to go. Obviously noise and getting him good about his hind end are top priorities. We're going to look at schedules and see about me working with him a couple times a week to move his driving training forward.

Busy days ahead, guys! It's kindof weird having about as many clients with their own horses as those that don't!


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