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The Art of Long Reining.....
By Katarina Antens-Miller

In early December, Bo Jenå a world renowned expert on training horses from the ground using long reining techniques as well as training and showing sport horses "in-hand" for inspections and breed shows held a clinic at Los Alamos Dressage Center in Freehold, New Jersey.

"Long reining is a very important training component of the classical dressage discipline. It is an excellent tool to improve collection and suppleness as well as to teach horses to really accept the outside rein without interference from the weight of a rider", said Dr. Gail Hoff-Carmona, owner and director of Los Alamos Dressage Center

The weather on this December day was bone-chilling cold, which did not seem to bother Jenå, a native of Sweden and director of the dressage program at Flyinge, the National Stud of Sweden, at all. Jenå seemed right at home in the cold and most of the audience opted to wrap themselves in horse blankets in order to remain in the arena with him instead of staying in the heated observation room. They watched intently as this true master of horsemanship demonstrated the use of long reins with everything from green horses to those working in high collection.

Bo discussed various ways that long reining can be done and the type of equipment he preferred to use. He adjusted the height to the reins to the individual needs of the horse, explaining that horses which tend to carry their heads too high may need the reins attached lower on the surcingle while those that tend to carry their necks too low may need a higher placement. As he moved from one side to the other of the horse, he changed the attachment of the reins so that the inside rein was usually first attached to the surcingle, run through the ring of the snaffle bit and then to his hands. This allowed the inside rein to help create inside flexion while he maintained a very soft contact. The outside rein was normally attached to the outside ring of the snaffle, run through a ring in the surcingle and then over the horse's back to his hands. In addition to this method, Bo demonstrated other ways of using the reins and even the use of a flash nose band attached to a ring on the surcingle in order to change the angle and the effect of the inside rein.

Bo would start by warming up the horses on a circle, developing all the gaits and obtaining the acceptance of the outside rein. Once the horse had accepted the outside rein he would focus on the inside flexion and then move on to transitions and lateral movements. He always positioned himself on the inside of the horse and had the outside rein over the back of the horse as opposed to running it behind the hind legs. He stressed the importance of consistency and repetition but avoidance of fighting and overdoing.

If you ever attended the stallion show at Flyinge, the National Stud of Sweden, you might have seen Bo riding one horse while driving another or showing all the movements of Grand Prix dressage with horses in long reins or even running with horses that seemed to defy gravity while trotting in-hand. Well, defying gravity was well demonstrated when Bo worked with the 13 year old Swedish Warmblood stallion, LA Baltic Sunrise. Sunrise had not been long reined in several years but nevertheless danced willingly next to Bo showing off his piaffe and passage program with ease after a few minutes of warm-up. The audience was impressed.

The next day Bo conducted a dressage clinic and for those horses that had been long reined the previous day, they proved to be exceptionally nice and supple according to their riders.

Based on these two very good days, Los Alamos Dressage Center wanted Bo back and is pleased to announce that it will sponsor a series of Dressage/Long Reining Clinics with Bo on March 14-16, April 25-27 and June 14-15.

Los Alamos Dressage Center is also pleased to announce that on April 26, 2003, at its annual Open House and benefit for New Bolton Center, Bo Jenå will be one of the participants in a program called "Dressage With the Masters". Bo will demonstrate long reining techniques and Alex Chterba, another master of dressage and former head trainer of the Olympic Training Center in Moscow, will demonstrate work in-hand for high collection.

For more information contact: Gail Hoff-Carmona,,, Tel. 732 780-0070

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