World Renowned Expert Horseman Bo Jena Develops Light Contact Using Long Lines with Odyssey, a 12-year-old Stallion

Posted by admin On December - 2 - 2017

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Dressageclinic.com is pleased to present this long lining video with Bo Jena and Odyssey, a 12 year old stallion.

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Perhaps one of the most experienced horsemen with long lines, Bo Jena demonstrates the foundational exercises and techniques of working from the ground with a horse.    Here are the top teachings that Bo shares in this video using long lines with Odyssey.

  1. Focus and Relaxation

Bo begins with his work in the walk looking for a focused and relaxed horse.  “Even if he wants to stretch down, that is okay.  I don’t ask him to be on the bit from the beginning.”   Once the horse is listening in the walk with light contact on the outside rein, the trot work can begin.

  1. Contact

Here in the trot, Bo begins establishing more contact.   “Don’t try to hold him on the bit.  Don’t try to drag him or flex too much,” says Bo.   “Be relaxed in your shoulders and wrists.”     Bo then works to establish a light contact with the horse.  “Give him the opportunity for him to take a light contact – not strong – and not giving away the contact when you have it.”

  1. Half Halts

Next, Bo begins asking for half halts.  “As soon as the horse starts to walk – give,” says Bo.   “And don’t try to hold him at the walk.”   Bo is adamant in giving the horse the responsibility of finding light contact and balance.   “I absolutely give him the opportunity to go into self carriage and take care of his body.”   As the horse understands the cues from the ground, the work progresses back into trot and then into more collected work.  Bo continually gives quickly with the rein, which begins to develop a soft, balanced horse.  “Never  hang.  Never be lazy to give.  Be quick to give.  Bring him back to balance.  Now he is very light in my hands.   Not the whole time but it is coming better and better.”

  1. Forward

Bo emphasizes the importance of having the horse forward.   “Always have the feeling that the horse is in front of your aids.”   He shares the importance of  the whip and the voice to encourage the horse forward.    As the canter work begins, Bo uses the tools of the half halt and his voice and whip to guide Odyssey into engaged self-carriage.   Many times Odyssey tries to evade the aids by hanging on the reins or becoming lazy or running and Bo expertly navigates Odyssey back to light, forward contact.  

  1. Lateral Work

Before Bo changes rein, he works Odyssey in lateral work.   Bo takes Odyssey off the circle and begins to walk with him at his hip so that the horse can continue to see Bo during the lateral work. Odyssey turns down centre line at a walk and begins to step to the right by feeling the outside rein aid.   Bo uses the whip to encourage the stallion to make the first correct steps and after a few repetitions, the lateral aids are understood.

Bo demonstrates excellent long line techniques in this video and shares his insights on working with horses using this technique –  especially with new horses.  “ When you don’t know your horse, you don’t want to ask too much.  You wait and see what happens,” he says.     Bo also impresses us on the value of being on the ground and watching responses during the long line work.    He reminds us to be attentive and listen to our horse.    "Your horse gives you feedback the whole time.”

102X142_portrait_JenaAt the end of the session, Bo praises Odyssey and adjusts the reins to let him stretch low over his back.   Bo is pleased as he halts Odyssey and pats his neck.  “Good boy.  And maybe a piece of sugar because he behaved well.”

Congratulations on the excellent work from both the horse and horseman. 

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