draw reins?

Shavings

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thoughts on draw reins?

my lad (5 year old tb!) likes to have days where the "race horse" in him comes out (he was trained to race but never fast enough)

any how he doesn't go off at speed or any thing like that, he just most puts his ears up my nose!

now me and my normal (lesson with her weekly) are just working on long and low with him to get him relax and balance and in time i am sure he will work consistently with out putting his ears up my nose!! (i think the reason he does it is he looses balance and can bounce me out of balance, he has had his saddle check, back and teeth so no health issue!!!)

any how went to a show clinic on Sunday where the instructor (never meet her before) has told me i need to ride him in draw reins at least twice a week to get him to lower his head.. i am not 100% sure on the idea as i have never used them before my self and have had some horrible tales told of them.

any advice on helping him and me would be very welcome (no nasty comments!)

and any advice on draw reins in genral really since i know so little on them
 

twiggy2

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then can very easily encourage horses to over bend and should only be used in very experienced and forgiving hands that are attached to a rider with a very very independent seat.

a market harborough fitted correctly is far more forgiving as is a martingale.

edited to add I would not use either of the above for schooling but for hacking and possible control issues that affect safety
 
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PonyIAmNotFood

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Carry on as you are and ignore gadget advice. Short cuts in the basic strength training only shows up as huge holes later in their schooling. Never mind the damaging effects of said draw reins on their muscles and skeleton! Sounds like you and your normal instructor have things worked out fine.

Eta, some really good food for thought and explanations on here: http://www.sustainabledressage.net/tack/gadgets.php
 
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Polar Bear9

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I'm quite unusual on this forum in that I like draw reins (if used correctly in moderation!). I would never use them on a 5 year old however. I also wouldn't recommend if you've never used them before or if you're just aiming to get his head down. I would be sticking with the normal instructor and working on long and low
 

Aoibhinn

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I wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot pole to be honest. My lad was ridden in them regularly before I got him and his nose is constantly between his front legs and he is heavy on the forehand. A lot of hard work needed to reverse any negative effects they have
 

conniegirl

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They are useful bits of kit in the right hands in the right situation but most of the time they are used to winch a horses head in.
I have used them on a bolter who flung his ears up my nose just before he bolted, the draw reins gave me a way to get his head down and regain control before he injured both of us!
Used loosely to stop his ears ending up your nose and to encourage him to come down they would be fine but please don't winch the head in with them.
Tbh I wouldn't bother with any showing or dressage clinics until you have him more relaxed and working into his bridle, stick to your normal instructor until then.
 

casspow

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I personally don't mind draw reins if used in the right way. E.g my horse went through a stage of tanking off in his canter, so I used to put the draw reins on him but tie a knot at the top (so I wasn't actually holding them) and they'd hang low and loose so if it happened where we had no control I could literally just quickly pick them up and regain control!
Personally I would see what your usual instructor thinks about the idea and if you've never used them before deifnitley use them for the first time in your usual lesson to get a feel for it - good luck with your neddy!:)
 

horsefeed

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As with any gadget if used correctly they serve a purpose. They should be a temporary measure to assist in fixing a problem. For example I have a 15.2 MW cob, she set her neck out in front of her and would be very heavy and lean a lot and stumble a lot with her front feet, sluggish of your leg. Teeth, back, tack check no difference, ridden everyday in drawing rein with schooling whip for a week both schooling and hacking she is a changed mare, carries herself far better and is 100% more balanced, no longer leans and far more responsive to both hand and leg aids. She very occasionally now is ridden in them as a reminder but generally is brilliant. With your TB I would be tempted to try a Market Harborough and see if that improves his head carriage 1st, but it wouldn't worry me if I had to revert to draw reins temporally.
 

SpringArising

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Carry on as you are and ignore gadget advice. Short cuts in the basic strength training only shows up as huge holes later in their schooling. Never mind the damaging effects of said draw reins on their muscles and skeleton!
This. I don't know why people who advocate short-cuts are teaching - surely the purpose of a good instructor is to teach how to ride correctly and how to achieve certain things through proper riding? Any Tom, Dick or Harry can stick a pair of draw-reins on!
 

oldjumper

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Agree with majority of posters - no to draw reins! It sounds like you are doing everything right for a young horse and it will pay off massively long term. In the short term, if you want to go hacking, galloping and jumping then a market harboro' martingale can be a help. Correctly fitted, so it only comes into play when horse chucks its head up, it can save you a sock in the teeth - never a good experience!!
 

casspow

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I wonder how many people who are so vehemently against draw reins have ever actually used them?
Without causing controversy but I would also like to know this too! and reasons why if they have used them and still dislike them? Just watching with interest! :)
 

wiglet

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My old instructor was a gadget person. She had me schooling in a market harborough on my then, rather naughty mare. She wanted me to use draw reins but I wouldn't for schooling as I don't consider myself good/quick enough to use them and IMO, draw reins just pull your horses head into a false outline - it's just a quick fix... or it would of been in my unexperienced hands! I have used them for control out hacking though.
 

Hedge_pig

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I have used them, on my previous trainer's instruction, on her horse, to winch the horse's head in. The pain in my arms was horrific so god knows how it felt on her mouth. I don't like them and would never use them on my own horse, despite her having the odd giraffe day. I'd rather train her correctly so she doesn't feel the need to put her ears up my nose than pull her head in, it does so much damage.
 

madlady

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I've used draw reins in the past and will use them again if the need arises.

I've never used them however to 'hold' a head in. I used them on my mare when she was a youngster to help her to bring her head down and forward (naturally high head carriage - friesian) and also to teach her an elastic contact - she will now actively look for the contact at any length of rein. As her education progressed I found the draw reins usefull when starting to train lateral work - she found it much easier with the additional bend that the draw reins could help with.

In both of those situations they were used sparingly and as an aid - not a gadget.
 

Goldenstar

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I have used them, on my previous trainer's instruction, on her horse, to winch the horse's head in. The pain in my arms was horrific so god knows how it felt on her mouth. I don't like them and would never use them on my own horse, despite her having the odd giraffe day. I'd rather train her correctly so she doesn't feel the need to put her ears up my nose than pull her head in, it does so much damage.
If you had pain in your arms you where not using the draw rein correctly using the rein to drag the horses head in and then fix it there is no more the right way to train a horse than sawing left right on it's mouth in a snaffle is .
You need to be trained to use draw reins and you need to be at a stage in your training were you can feel self carriage and the difference between a horse in self carriage and one that's not and is fixing on it's forehand .
 

Bernster

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I've not used them and don't like them. I'm sure there are folks out there perfectly capable of using them correctly but when I've seen them used, they've not been used right and mostly involve horse stonking around on the forehand with its head jacked in.
 

Wagtail

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I have used draw reins. I don't like them though. I think you need to be extremely experienced in their use if you are not going to do damage. I think they have their place for some trainers, but not for me. I have seen inexperienced people use them and the horse ends up being cranked in. In my experience their effect of lightening the forehand is temporary and I can spot a horse that has been trained using them when I ride them. Most are very heavy in the hand and 'gobby'.
 

Cortez

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That's interesting. See, I have used them - and find them not particularly useful. But I think there are many, many people who throw up their arms and declare them the work of the devil without having any experience of them at all. And for what it's worth I find the market harborough to be even less useful.
 

Goldenstar

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Market harboroughs are useless in training terms .
They just allow bad riders to keep their horses heads down .
I own draw reins and can't remember when I last used them I think it was on a horse who was being naughty when doing cantering for fitness I think I used them for one session to him what was wanted then he was fine .
To play devil advocate if they had been used well you might never know a horse had them on and the horses that gobby might have been so before hand as for heavy in the hand it's my experience that more often than not badly used the horses end up not taking weight in the rein.
 

Wagtail

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That's interesting. See, I have used them - and find them not particularly useful. But I think there are many, many people who throw up their arms and declare them the work of the devil without having any experience of them at all. And for what it's worth I find the market harborough to be even less useful.
I agree. There is nothing that draw reins can do that a skilled rider cannot do without them. They are a short cut used by many trainers, but their effect is short lived and once a horse is trained using them, it needs 'refreshers' using them every now and then (sometimes every training session!). I believe that once you start using them on a horse, (unless it is only very briefly), it makes it much harder to train the horse without them.

I don't use them as I am yet to find a situation or training issue that couldn't be solved more effectively without them.
 

Goldenstar

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I agree. There is nothing that draw reins can do that a skilled rider cannot do without them. They are a short cut used by many trainers, but their effect is short lived and once a horse is trained using them, it needs 'refreshers' using them every now and then (sometimes every training session!). I believe that once you start using them on a horse, (unless it is only very briefly), it makes it much harder to train the horse without them.

I don't use them as I am yet to find a situation or training issue that couldn't be solved more effectively without them.
I agree they are a short cut hence why I don't really need them I never need a short cut with a horse .
I do think for fitness cantering with some horses they make the job safer and reduce the risk of injuries allow the horse to the work in a milder bit than might need to be used .
I have also used them on horses who where cheeky to hack on the road .
The last horse of my own that had a period of training in draw reins was a difficult retraining job I started under the eyes of a Olympic team trainer and the horse has a lovely mouth now he's never ever heavy in the hand I was dubious as the horse was so nervous but the trainer was right it did show him the way and helped us a lot .
The best thing about a draw rein in you can choose not to use it but be on a contact .
 

Sukistokes2

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The reason I do not use draw reins is that I really do not have experience of using them and have never had a horse that needed them. I have always found that given time and correct schooling my horses have developed the correct muscle, which allows them to develop self carriage and a correct outline. As I do not produce horses for a living, I am not in a rush, so can afford to give my animals the time they need, so draw reins are not needed or wanted. I do a lot of writing for judges at local events, horses which have been incorrectly schooled in draw reins are very evident. They are the horses which are slightly behind the vertical, and have no swing through of the shoulder, so they do not cover the ground at all. I find it distressing, as at the very low lessons rhythm and forwardness are much more important then a pulled in head. However, there are always exceptions and I am sure in the hands of an experienced trainer they might be useful. I just think the average horse rider is better giving them a miss.
 

Goldenstar

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The reason I do not use draw reins is that I really do not have experience of using them and have never had a horse that needed them. I have always found that given time and correct schooling my horses have developed the correct muscle, which allows them to develop self carriage and a correct outline. As I do not produce horses for a living, I am not in a rush, so can afford to give my animals the time they need, so draw reins are not needed or wanted. I do a lot of writing for judges at local events, horses which have been incorrectly schooled in draw reins are very evident. They are the horses which are slightly behind the vertical, and have no swing through of the shoulder, so they do not cover the ground at all. I find it distressing, as at the very low lessons rhythm and forwardness are much more important then a pulled in head. However, there are always exceptions and I am sure in the hands of an experienced trainer they might be useful. I just think the average horse rider is better giving them a miss.
I think it's perhaps if they are being used to get a horses head down because the rider has not got the skill / balance / technique to do it that's one thing and then there's horses with issues / behaviours needing managing ( the one I used as an example was difficult very reactive very nervous and broken to ride at ten ) and then there are people who just use them to get where they think they want to be quickly ...
 

Shavings

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thank you every one for the great response, as i have said my normal teacher is just working with me and Levi (horse) in walk and trot , long and low, i do strongly believe half the issues we have with ears up my nose is my balance as well as his, so i cant blame him!
i have lessons weekly and also seeing a back person my self as i lean to one side (old knee injury makes me do so)
all i want is the best for Levi and to do him the justice he derives, i never set out to buy such a young horse but truth be told he has a heart of gold and that is all i ever wanted.
we went to the show clinic on Sunday more for the experiences then any thing, we had to ride in the arena with 5 other horses and ponies Levi has never meet (one of which took to bombing round the outside track which i through may give Levi a reason to join in being an x racer and all, but hats off to him he was a star! didn't follow any one and tired his hard-est)

i am sure in time and with lots of practice he will learn there to carry him self and i will learn how to be more assistance that i am being at moment!!
my teacher is wonderful she breeds her self and has his horses in all disciplines she also helps keep my nerves under control (after the accidents i have had nerves is an issue and confidence)
i will let you know how we get on and when i feel brave maybe post a picture.. MAYBE!
 

_Annie_

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Interesting thread, particularly because I do use a market harborough when hacking my younger boy. Purely because I have an irrational fear of losing control of him. Would love to feel like I didn't need it :-(
 
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