Pessoa - kind or unkind?

peanut

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My vet has recommended using a Pessoa to help with building muscle in the back following my horse's sacro-iliac steroid injections (along with trotting poles etc).

I've never liked the look of the action of a Pessoa as it strikes me that the reason it makes horses round their backs is because they get jabbed in the mouth with every stride from the hind legs.

I trust my vet but I need convincing that the action I am seeing is incorrect and that the Pessoa is really a kind training device afterall!

My horse is sensitive in the mouth and I normally use a bungie.
 

TwoStroke

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Could you perhaps longline instead? I think all that is required is that the horse works through its back to strengthen the sacroiliac area; a pessoa isn't the only way to achieve that, if you don't want to use one.
 

tamsinkb

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I have very successfully used one for a horse with exactly the same problem - I don't see it as unkind at all - the breeching strap is partly elasticated and as long as you don't fit it too tight and you have the breeching strap at the correct position, the horse should not jab itself in the mouth at all. I started with is very loose until the horse realised he could go forward and that he wasn't trussed up like a chicken, then gradually shortened it over a couple of days or so to the point it actually came into action.
 

StarlightMagic

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I have the John whitaker version of the pessoa, and have used it on numerous horses, some VERY opinionated and not had one fight it or appear uncomfortable, they are all soft and willing. If fitted correctly when the horse works properly then there is no pulling on the mouth :)
 

VioletStripe

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I know a lot of people who really really rate and swear by the Pessoa type aids, and I've been umming and ahhing over saving for one after starting a similar thread. But after being on here I've found something which lots of people in CR swear by and call the 'Kerilli lungeing method' which works to do similar things as the pessoa
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkCuVUSt4OM&feature=plcp
 

peanut

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Thank you everyone. If I get a Pessoa, I will make sure someone helps me set it up and fits it loosely at first.

There are other training aids I could use, but I'm still interested to hear your thoughts on the action of the Pessoa as it's a very popular piece of equipment :)
 

Bionic Boy

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I think it is the same with a lot of these things, if it is used correctly it can be very effective and I don’t see it as unkind. I used one on a previous horse and it worked extremely well in building muscles where it was supposed to so wouldn’t have a problem using one again if I needed too.
 

Starzaan

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I am a bit in love with my Pessoa, but I have one livery who just doesn't get on with it. With him I use two lunge lines so that I have control and can get him working round, and it works brilliantly for him.
 

ellie_e

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I have a lesson with how to use the Pessoa before you go off on your own, there are several different ways to set it up depending on your use for it. I really rate it, after my physio and vet suggested using it 6months ago horse now has a topline has a back end and can use himself correclty, its still an on going project but it has helped 100%.
 

ellie_e

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Depending on what Ive got on with lessons and competing etc, at least once a week, when I first started using it physio suggested 3 times a week which I was doing, mainly in walk with alittle trot, working up to canter -twice a week, If i can, I like to use it twice a week now mainly trot work with normally 4times canter on each rein, lunge sessions last around 25mins.
 

HashRouge

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When I hear people saying that the pessoa jabs the horse in the mouth, I can only assume that they have it fitted too tightly. I've certainly seen pictures online of horses in pessoas that have (in my opinion) been fitted too tightly, so maybe that's the problem. I have a lovely mare who is very sensitive to pressure on her mouth - if something was jabbing her, she would go up - but she works beautifully in the pessoa. I have it nice and loose so that she can stretch out, and the results have been very good :)
 

millitiger

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IMO, it either jabs the horse in the mouth or teaches the horse to sit behind the contact- either way I wouldn't want anything connected to my horse's mouth to also be used around the backlegs where the hocks are moving like pistons.
 

meesha

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I bought a cheap version of the pessoa - has def. helped my chap start to build correct muscle and carry himself more correctly as previously when lunged or ridden all he wanted to do was to poke his nose in trot - I used it very loosely at first then tightened (by no means tight) a little when he was used to it and when he had built up the correct muscles to deal with it. I always start with it loose on each rein then tighten it up for just a few minutes and do lots of walk trot transitions (not much canter yet).

Got mine from ebay and it was a fraction of the price of pessoa.
 

Slightlyconfused

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Everything is dangerous in the wrong hands
I really rate ours, its helpped the exracer get the idea of long and low......i will also be using it onvthe appy as he has had the all clear to lunging and he tends to like to stick his head up in the clouds!
 

zaminda

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I use one on several of ours, and it has really helped. One of mine has had some serious back end issues, and I use it to bring her back into work using it. I mainly trot her in it, as she can be very funny in canter in it, but we are making progress. I would say people can tie the horse in in it, but I usually find that mine has the pessoa swinging, and takes the contact in a nice even fashion. The mare who had kissing spine works in it at least twice a week, and my mare usually twice, or sometimes three times.
I find that horses who look stiff behind often look much better in the pessoa.
 

starryeyed

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Have you looked at the EquiAmi training aid? It's similar to a pessoa but based on a "loop" system so the horse can't lean (like they can learn to in a pessoa) and it can't jab them anywhere. I'm saving for one as I've heard such good things about them and had the same concerns as you x
 

flitz02

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In the right hands & on the right horse a fantastic piece of kit.My mare had a patella problem & it worked a treat.....However used it on a friends warmblood and it just wouldnt settle & it became quite dangerous for all involved!.If you can get someone to show you the correct fitting it may be worthwhile.I found the raised trotting poles very useful as well.xx
 
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