Free Schooling = Loose Schooling?

Aug 27, 2004
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#1
Something that has confused me a lot lately is - What is free schooling? Is it any different from loose schooling? (Or is that just another name for it?) What about loose jumping? And why do you do it? Also, how? Surely, it can't just be take your horse into the school, let him go and see what he does?

Also, what are the benefits - And possible bad points? How long should you do it for, do you need any special equipment?

Basically, hit me with anything and everything you guys know about this subject!
 
Dec 13, 2005
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#2
loose schooling is when you let your horse go in the school but lundge it without a lunge line. and this is the same for loos jumping but the horse jumps over the jump without having a lundge line attached. free schooling is the same thing
 

tbtess

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Aug 24, 2005
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#3
horseygal90 said:
Something that has confused me a lot lately is - What is free schooling? Is it any different from loose schooling? (Or is that just another name for it?) What about loose jumping? And why do you do it? Also, how? Surely, it can't just be take your horse into the school, let him go and see what he does?

Also, what are the benefits - And possible bad points? How long should you do it for, do you need any special equipment?

Basically, hit me with anything and everything you guys know about this subject!
Free-schooling is the same as loose-schooling. Loose/free jumping can be done but i free-school in a lunging pen, its not as big as an arena and therefore have more control over where your horse can and can't go and isn't really big enough to put a jump in. I do it because its fun, i class it as work/play time, the horse gets worked but in a more playful way. Its just like lunging, but without the lunge.

I don't use any special equipment, just me, my horse and a head collar (and sweeties for the end if he/she been good!):D

Benefits - Fun work, play and bond :D

Bad points - If you have a nutty horse, i suppose you could get booted! But maybe not, it could help him/her to relax more (not really a bad point then!)

Hope my theory is correct because i find it most enjoyable, and i do think its a good way of forming a bond or 'joining up' with your horse through 'play'. (If i am wrong, please tell me)
 

Keket

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Jan 26, 2004
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We loose school Lestat as we had to take the round pen out of the indoor school and he absolutely hates the lunge line (plus it's too hard on his young limbs). It's me at one end of the arena, RI at the other, both of us holding lunge whips and working him around the outside track of the school. Gives him a chance to speed off as fast as he wants while still being worked. Excellent bonding time.
 

pepsimaxrock

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Sep 29, 2004
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#5
I watched free schooling once and it seemed to me that there is nothing to it.

It was in a lunge pen. Let the horse go, smack the whip (not on the horse but behind it) and watch it go faster and faster. Then stop and watch it slow down.

Great fun, good to let off steam, but no apparent (to me) schooling purpose.

a.
 

Keket

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AAH said:
I watched free schooling once and it seemed to me that there is nothing to it.

It was in a lunge pen. Let the horse go, smack the whip (not on the horse but behind it) and watch it go faster and faster. Then stop and watch it slow down.

Great fun, good to let off steam, but no apparent (to me) schooling purpose.

a.
Then you weren't watching close enough, or the person wasn't doing it correctly. Snapping the whip is a last resort when I do it. If you want a horse trained to voice commands, this is the way to do it. When I tell the horse to 'whoa', it has to stop completely of it's own volition. I have no line, no brakes, no nothing. It's all up to the horse.

Do you think that training a horse to go forward, stop, change gaits, turn around, slow down, etc, all off voice commands and body language has no schooling purpose? (Not trying to be snippy, just wondering.)
 

pepsimaxrock

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#8
No purpose to this exercise was explained to me. And I was asked to watch.

All I thought was what the h.... is going on. It certainly seemed purposeless.

It is probably correct that I wasnt watching closely enough, as I said there seemed nothing to it, so it was dull.

No instruction, body language or anything for horse to slo, change gait or turn. As I said, get faster, and when I stop you slow down. Surprise.

It is good to know that there is a better way tho
 

varkie

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Feb 22, 2003
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#9
I free school my horses, and when they are youngsters and I start them, they do just mostly start to rush around & buck & play & have fun. Once they begin to settle, then I start adjusting what they are doing - changes of direction, speed etc.

My 8 year old now can be properly schooled while loose. I can pick her direction, pace, speed within pace, engagement etc. I still let her have the first 5 minutes to let off steam if she needs to before we start work, and then she is happy to work for me.
 

Ross

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#10
We used to do loose jumping sessions at the Riding Club. The big advantage is that the horse learns to think for itself, and of course, can sort out it's own balance without a rider interfering :)

We used an indoor school, so there was no chance of a horse jumping out! We used to set up a grid of jumps along one long side of the school, with poles on barrels making a sort of fence along the inside edge of the grid (to dissuade the horse from just running out). We'd have several people in the arena (normally 3) all with lunge whips, just to keep the horse moving forwards. We'd always start off with just poles on the floor, or maybe cross poles for the experienced horse, and move up from there.

My Anglo improved quite a bit after a few loose jumping sessions - and they all seemed to enjoy it.

Have to agree with the others about the session AAH saw - I'd guess that it wasn't being done very well :)

Ross
 

cvb

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Oct 23, 2001
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#11
And why do you do it?
- for exercise if there is a reason I can't ride (lost shoe, weather, time etc)
- for training if there is something I can work on more easily (e.g. jumping)
- for fun - we get to play and build the relationship :D

Also, how? Surely, it can't just be take your horse into the school, let him go and see what he does?

No - tho I HAVE done that before now :D
But Fi quite often goes completely mad, creating large craters in the school when she does motor bike turns.. so I'd rather have some kind of control over the situation :rolleyes:

Its easier in a round pen than in a 40x20, as you don't have corners and the horse's "bubble of space" never gets too far away. With a bigger school you may need more than one e.g. one for each half.

You use body language to move the horse through gaits and directions. You can turn them outwards or inwards, ask for halts, ask them to come in etc.

You do need to build this skill or they do just bomb about with no purpose.

Its worth saying that one of ours HATES being out there by himself, and gets quite upset. If we loose jump, we have a lane set out. With this pony we have a person each end to catch him and avoid his "agrophobia" - he's ok then.

Also, what are the benefits - And possible bad points? How long should you do it for, do you need any special equipment?

Its a good work out for the horse. You can work on things, like adjusting strides in jumps, without a rider. The rider can see more easily what is happening.

One thing I've worked on this way was Fi's canter. She was going disunited or on the wrong lead a lot and doing it without a rider on helped her sort her balance and co-ordination out.

Special equipment - more for loose jumping but I'd advise boots for the horse. Fi was capable of ripping shoes off as she was soo active she was over-reaching so consider over-reach etc as well.
 
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#12
sorry i doubled up on a thread, never saw this one. my pony stops of his own accord when you say whoa :) and he follows me round and he trotts when i ask him - how do you steer on the ground??? obvioulsy apart from pulling the head collar :rolleyes: ? i dont wanna be very adventerous, i only i cant ride him yet as he is tackless and it seems like he was having fun following me round and a nice bonding thing whilst stretching his legs from being stabled :)
 

cvb

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Oct 23, 2001
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#13
D&D

Parelli talks about pretending the line is still there (you do everything on the line first and then work at liberty). Its worth a try even without the preparation on line.

Also if you make your body language BIG, it will send them away. Make it little and passive, and they should come back. Its the whole thing about turning slightly sideways, lower your eyeline, don't look at them directly and so on.
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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#14
It sounds interesting, its one of the things I'd like to try with our two. Unfortunately for me, nobody on our yard does it - and any deviation from the "norm" if somewhat frowned upon. So looks like I shall have to wait and try it if and when we move to our own land (somewhere in the distant future...........!:D )