Long reining and mouth damage, means outside the Round Pen, wandering around the Property. A process that I describe as a Trainer getting a ‘warm inner glow’ that the Horse can be stopped, before mount up 🙂 There are many accidents with this system and once a Horse gallops off with the Reins flapping behind the Legs, few can fix them. I have had many through here!

I have two points that I would like to make about the use of ‘Long Reins” in the breaking in ( starting) process of the young horse.


    • That of the hundreds of previously long reined horses that I have ridden, I have never felt a mouth higher than 6 out of 10, and…
    • That each year, around 15 horses come to me for re-education, caused by the long reining process in one way or another.



 Of those horses in point 2, their problems vary between being turned into bolters, just having bad mouths or being seriously frightened about anything towards the rear end of their body. Be it being touched or handled there or of things that may happen behind them. Psychologically damaged.

The cause of these things is normally the horse escaping from the handler and galloping away with the long reins trailing around their legs. Often this includes injury in fences or any manner of other possibilities. During the last two years for instance, I have had one that bolted on a number of occasions with the owner on top, one that bucked a Rodeo rider over the round pen fence on to his face, another that would run or buck at the slightest touch behind the saddle and others with mouths worst than a zero.





Don’t end with this



There are various reasons why Long Reining does not achieve the best results, apart from the accidents that happen. All of these subjects are dealt with in “Mouthing the Horse”


TESTING THE MOUTH…..and ranking it


Just do this




Now, having said all of that, I admit that I too use them but it is the way in which they are used that I find makes all of the difference. The vast majority of people, throughout history, have used them in a way that I find does not produce top mouths and in fact, sets up the first ‘learned evasion’ experiences, thereby providing the Horse with the window of opportunity to explore ‘evasion’ and ‘resistance’ more into the future.

The other thing I find is that simply driving a Horse here, there and everywhere, around this bush, that log and back home, has no relationship with putting a top mouth on a Horse but merely provides the Handler with a ‘warm inner glow’ that the Horse can be pointed in directions, turned around and may listen to voice commands and a slight feel on the mouth. I find this a complete waste of time and often ends with major drama where the Horse gets a fright and runs away dragging the reins or the Handler who is ‘gut skiing’ at the time.

Use them in the conventional manner by all means. Just don’t expect the top mouth. I prefer to stay in the confines of the Round Pen and never need to go ‘waltzing’ the Horse around the property to prove a Mouth.

Finally, I can categorically state and back up with demonstration or money if you like, that the conventional use of ‘long reins’ in the ‘mouthing of the horse‘ DOES NOT provide a mouth that can control a Horse should things come unstuck during the first few rides.

I just wanted to pass my experiences regarding this, on to you.





Listen to Your Horses