The Importance of Playing on Longer Lines

As you progress in the On Line Savvy of the Parelli Four Savvys in the levels program, you’ll notice that you go from a 12-foot line to a 22-foot line to a 45-foot line. I want to talk a little about why this is so important. Not only does it increase your skills and build your horse’s confidence, but it also improves the bond and connection between you and your horse.

Horses are very perceptive to distance. They know exactly the distance at which you have influence – and when you don’t.  For example, some horses are un-catchable in a pasture, but fairly easy to catch in a pen. Going to longer lines is all about increasing your connection and influence. It’s not about the rope!

Here’s a little list of benefits and goals with each of the lengths of line:

12-foot Line (Level 1+):

  • Seven Games – This is the ideal length of line to learn/teach the horse-language of the Seven Games.
  • Every day leading and handling.
  • Basic warm up before riding.
  • Basic tasks and Patterns: Touch It, Figure 8, Weave, Traveling Circles at a trot, Trailer Loading, etc.

22-foot Line (Level 2-3):

  • Advance Seven Games – Play Games 4, 5, 6, 7 from 15-22 feet away. 
  • Try to keep slack in the rope so you are progressing towards Liberty.
  • Advance Patterns: Touch It, Figure 8, Weave, Traveling Circles at a trot, Trailer Loading, etc.
  • Longer lines begin to develop more self-confidence in the horse, especially Right-Brain horses that are not naturally self-confident.

45-foot Line (Level 3-4):

  • Advance Seven Games – Play Games 4, 5, 6, 7 from 30-45 feet away. 
  • Try to keep slack in the rope as you seek to advance your Liberty in larger areas. Play as if you don’t have a line – try to not use it. Focus on your body language and communication.
  • Advance Patterns: Touch It, Figure 8, Weave, Traveling Circles at a trot, Trailer Loading, etc.
  • The added distance from you helps horses to develop more confidence, especially with the Touch It pattern and trailer loading.
  • Traveling Circles at a canter.
  • Canter-Gallop transitions help the horse to manage adrenaline and learn to stay calm.

As you advance it is important to play on every length of line. This helps to keep things interesting and improve your imagination. At the same time, you’ll improve your communication skills and your horse’s confidence.

~ Linda

Comments

  1. David Sauer

    I was having trouble getting the results I wanted when using my 45 foot line. Elli offered her observant help by telling me, “Your horse’s biggest challenge is your lack of rope handling skills.” Ha! Well, I wasn’t going to take that falling down. I decided I was going to get better. As i did, lo an behold, my horse became more confident and we both started having fun. Keep up the great work changing the world.

  2. Laura Lynn Cobb

    Playing finally with the 45 ft. Challenging. Skip and I are at about 35 ft so far w/out losing connection . He likes/needs to come in for reassurance more frequently with the bigger distance. Sometimes it seems like he is asking “are you sure you want me way out there? Ok I’ll try!” I’m getting lots of practice handling the rope that feels so different!