Maribeth Dunlap Dressage

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Work on the Longe - Developing the Seat

Posted on July 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Work on the longe - Developing the Seat

By Maribeth Dunlap

July 2012

"Longe lessons on a safe and experienced horse are a great means of improving your position, a fact I cannot stress enough, as this is the most beneficial way to develop and improve a more balanced and independent seat." Arthur Kottas-Heldenberg

Work on the longe is a time honored tool of classical dressage. Longe lessons provide the student rider an opportunity to develop a secure and balanced seat. With the help of a knowledgeable and experienced instructor and a safe, reliable, steady longe horse, the student rider can work to develop balance, coordination, and strength in the core which will then enable the student to be able to take the next step in being able to produce an effective seat and an independent aiding system.

The instructor uses a system of exercises for the student rider to perform at all three gaits of the horse. These exercises have a specific purpose to the needs of the rider and helps to address any weaknesses and areas that need to be corrected in the student's position. The knowledgeable and experienced instructor will know what is needed to achieve the desired result. These techniques allow the student to become a proficient and elegant rider.

The horse is well educated on the longe line and is able to maintain a steady and reliable rhythm in all three gaits. He listens well to the verbal cues and whip aids asked of by the instructor. A good longe horse is safe and gives the student an opportunity to relax, focus and concentrate on his body position and awareness without the necessity of having to try to influence the horse. The instructor takes care of this while also giving the student instructions pertaining to his position. A good longe horse is a valuable asset to any equestrian program.

The Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria, has a long history of developing riders with outstanding equitation and effective, elegant seats. Riders at the SRS spend years on the longe line before they are allowed to take up the reins of their Lipizzans. This tradition of developing excellent, top-notch riders still exists in this school of over 500 years of tradition. However, it is one of the most over-looked, yet most valuable of all methods, in developing the seat.


This article was written by Maribeth in July 2012 – All Rights Reserved - Used With Permission.

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