Yearling longe line events are a wonderful way to showcase the conformation and potential of a young prospect for under-saddle events. But what does it take to bring along a talented youngster that may have the physical ability of an Olympic athlete combined with the brain of a young squirrel?
The Equine Chronicle spoke with a panel of successful longe line trainers and exhibitors to get a detailed look at just how, and when, an exhibitor should bring a yearling along and prepare them for futurity success. In this insightful Q&A, you’ll learn where to begin, how to break down yearling prep into key phases, what to feed for ideal mental and physical health, and much more. Read on to build the ultimate yearling-prep playbook.
Meet the Experts
Nancy Ditty of Ditty Up Farms in Ocala, Florida, has won more titles than can be listed. Ditty’s expertise in the longe line arena is part of a multi-generational legacy that carries the torch passed on by Ditty’s mother, Susan Scott. Scott was the first Non-Pro inducted into the NSBA’s Quarter Million Dollar Club with Ditty joining her as the second.
Calli Rouse of Calli Rouse Show Horses in Fort Worth, Texas, is a versatile trainer with Multiple World Champion titles in events ranging from Western Riding, Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, Showmanship, Equitation and Longe Line to her name. Rouse also credits fiancé Jeffrey Gibbs of Gibbs Show Horses as an integral part of her program’s success. The duo’s team approach has landed Rouse in the winner’s circle with many talented yearlings.
Chad Mills is a Non-Pro DIY exhibitor from Ashley, Michigan, who has racked up impressive wins with yearlings that he raises, fits, and presents himself. Mills is a multiple APHA and NSBA World Champion in longe line events and has also recently added the title of Congress Champion to his impressive collection of accolades.
Dale Sullens operates Sullens Show Horses in Aubrey, Texas, and is known as a true all-around horseman with a knack for developing young show horses. In addition to numerous show pen wins as an exhibitor and trainer, Sullens is also an ApHC- and APHA-carded judge, and his program is known for developing horses into the best they can be from start to finish.
Where to Begin