A LETTER (one of the
I am hoping that you can help me. I have a lovely little Arabian who has
been under saddle for 12 months he is rising 5. His natural head
carriage is quite arched. He works lovely under saddle but has the
tendency to over bend. Everyone has said take up the contact and push
him forward, problem being he is forward and the more you push the more
he over bends he even does this on a long rein. He tracks up nicely and
is soft through his back. If you take up to much contact he chucks a
lama neck and tosses the head around, there must be a simple solution to
thanks in anticipation
I'd like to know what you think of the picture of the horse attached to
this email. To me his neck muscles seem quite under-developed.
Do you have any suggestions on how to build up these muscles? He's not
my horse, but I am thinking of purchasing. Would working him in a "long
and low" frame help build his top line? and what causes his neck to look
Thank you for any advice you can offer!
Yes, another regular problem
caused by Side Reins on 'young, green or formative' horses.'
THE BASIS OF MY ARGUMENT
I read Equestrian Forums a lot. They often argue the
for and against of the use of side reins and other artificial aids. They
never agree and they will never agree. Depends on which side of the
Industry you come from. I have never really got into these debates as it
would be rare to find anyone who has ridden the cross section of horses
and felt their mouths. They are therefore not qualified to debate
the matter imho.
I am simply
sounding the warning that side reins damage the mouths of young, green,
inexperienced and newly broken in horses.
They do not however, affect
horses that are established in collection. My wife uses them on all of her
established Dressage horses and I have never witnessed any harm. I have
however, just this week, had a feel of the mouths of her two younger ones
(Novice Dressage Level) and have found diminished mouths and an increased
ignorance and resistance, caused once again, by Side Reins.
The use of side reins as
an artificial aid in training is a widely accepted thing. I have no
problems with that but I do have some warnings, based upon the twenty or
so ruined horses that are sent to me each year, caused directly by the use
of side reins.
I rate the mouth on
a horse on a scale of zero to ten. Zero being an untouched, unbroken
horse. Some of those horses had mouths that were minus zero. Over the
years, as with everything, I have observed and experimented. I have
arrived at the following 'Golden Rule' when it comes to the use of them.
That the use of side reins, when used on horses below
established Elementary Dressage, causes varying degrees of damage to their
mouths, diminishes the possible rating of the finished mouth and totally
destroys others. Above Elementary Dressage level, I have no quarrel with
their use but would still carefully observe how the horse is using them,
their adjustment at all times and the adjustment of them.
For the newly broken in horse, the green horse or the
inexperienced owner, I strongly warn against them. Here are some reasons:
As a horse goes around, one rarely has a complete idea
of just how hard a horse is baring down upon them or pulling against
They are too fixed, allow a horse very little room to
maneuver and to possibly find any real relief, which after all is that
training gem that we are looking for during the training of the young
They do not allow a young horse enough freedom, enough
relief, enough flexion each way and above all, the room to travel 'long
and low' should the horse so wish. If they do, because of the lack of
Dressage foundation that horses of this level have, they don't know how to travel low without going
drastically behind the bit. A dangerous thing for them to learn early
If you agree with the 'German Training
Scale' you may agree with the fact that young Horses need to be going
around in young horse mode and frame, to be able to use their back, to
be progressively built up into athletes to be able to 'collect'. Side
Reins instantly Jam them into a limited frame which does not suit most.
Young horses should be
prepared and assisted in the un-natural task of carrying an un-balanced
rider. To do this, especially at the young or 'green' age, surely horses
should be worked 'long and low'? Side reins do not allow or promote this
and inevitably, no matter how hard the horse tries to search for the low
contact, it runs into a brick wall. That causes it to come 'behind the
Bit' and to not take a 'contact'.
Every week, I meet new
horses that have been played around with by their owners who could just
not wait for the Breaker. They put side reins on......real loose or with
big rubber bands in them so there is no damage as they attempt to do the
right thing. I can tell you that 100% of them have reduced mouths and
can never end as good as the un-touched mouth.
Long side reins and
side reins with rubber bands in them commence the first teaching of a
young horse how to resist and evade or worse, begin to be a 'head
bobber'. Just like when there is a rider on them who 'jiggles'. To learn
how NOT to get a 'head set'
Damage can be done quickly. I once worked on a 17
hand high 3 year old Warmblood named "Davidson", who was impossible to
stop for a seasoned professional rider. This damage had been done in
around 7 days by a Show Jumping Trainer using Side Reins and had been attempting to stop a buck jumping problem
with the horse. The horse went on to be a successful Eventer at high level
and was ridden by Scott Keach. I once refunded $10,000 to a Buyer and
'Dogged' a pure bred warmblood because one side rein experience
conducted by a Perth Level 3 Coach, turned the Horse into a
So, if the horse is young or 'Green', stay right away from
side reins. What are the alternatives then?
THE GERMAN TRAINING
To follow it's
Internationally proven benefits, it is said that young horses need to
learn to stretch, follow a feel, look for the bit, learn to go 'long and
low', 'over the back and all of the other good things to set the
foundation stones. Side Reins allow none of this imho.
me for the free 145 Page E-Book.
I have never had a problem caused by the use of running
reins and I have used them thousands of times. On young horses and
particularly old seasoned horses with worn out mouths or giant upside down
necks. Typical of 95% of Pony Club Horses in Australia
Running reins are reins made from anything from leather
to twine that run from the centre of the girth between the front legs of a
horse, between the front legs or outside of them to and through the ring
on each side of the bit and then to a fixed point on the top of the
wither, roller or saddle.
after 5 minutes of intro to a Trotter off the track.
THE DANGERS OF INCORRECT ADJUSTMENT
When introducing artificial aids of any description,
there is a high risk of injury or death to the horse. Each year in
Australia, a horse somewhere, dies due to instillation of incorrectly
fitted equipment on horses. The rule is therefore, that we must start with
such equipment being loose and gradually tightening the adjustments when
and only if you see the horse completely understanding what you want and
that the horse is giving to the pressure applied. Both of these points are
interconnected and highly important. You must be sure that the horse has
got the message what is required, such as bobbing it's head and breaking
at the poll, before ever adjusting reins up tighter.
Prior to rearing because of tight equipment, a horse
will slow, come to a halt and start to step back. These are the signs that
the handler must recognize and do so at the speed of light, for the safety
and well being of your horse depends upon your re-action. To protect your
horse under such circumstances, you must leap to a position where you are
behind your horse and quite simply, cane, whack or what ever other
description you want use, the horse's rump. It must be sent forward and
any force is reasonable under these circumstances. The horse that goes
forward does not rear and is therefore safe from injury. If this has
happened once, they rarely do it again, only if the owner is a 'super
goose' and adjusts up too soon again.
I hear the argument that
"We only have them done up loose. Well that is a waste of time for a start
and teaching the horse a little bit of resistance and a little bit of
contact but not enough of anything. This builds the 'upside down neck'
Pessoa's, Chambons and all
of the other contraptions give no added benefits over Running Reins and
I have carefully examined and used them all on an experimental basis.
Smart packaging and Sales key words. Here is Holland's No. 1 Lunge
Trainer at the Dutch Equitana
THE CRUX OF MY ARGUMENT
I have found that side reins put on young or
inexperienced horses, below about Elementary Dressage level, damaged every
horse that I have ever ridden. No exceptions. That damage has been in
varying degrees and on some of them, many other people would not identify
damage. I do and the reason is that I often feel good mouths and have
always got that benchmark to test against. Most people have not. I have
never experienced or felt damage done by the use of Running Reins.
HP's RUNNING REINS
In order to obtain a
more flexible running reins system that can be found in the Saddle
Shops, I have designed my own and that provides for 5 different ways to
lunge a Horse and allows me to cater for the varying problems that I
conformation of Horses.
Veterinary challenges of Horses.
of aged Horses.
Whether Horses are
'upwardly mobile in the mind' or not
Too 'on the
These are the many
reasons why side reins or put your horse in a box, does not have the
flexibility of training.
http://www.horseproblems.com.au/saddlery_sales.htm Comes with an
E-Book of how to rehabilitate Horses with Rear end Veterinary Problems
if they are such that they can be rectified.
Hi Mr and Mrs
Your training methods have helped me and my young pinto so very much
that I wanted to send you a few photos.
I have had my 4yr old gelding for 7 months now, bought last winter,
for a pittance ($700) from a young girl who had been in a terrible
car accident and could not ride anymore.
The first pic (48346-2-x) is the pic of him on the advertisement I
saw (obviously the girl had been using side reins yuk!).
The second pic (27062010147) is the day I brought him home looking
pretty much worse for wear i.e. like a donkey! after being put out
for more than 6 months and not handled at all.
Prior to that he had only had a few months riding after being broken
– I have no idea how he was broken or by whom.
The last 3 pics (3377, 3381, 3387) were taken 2 weeks ago.
I just wanted to send them and let u know that your methods work and
this is proof – only 7 months work once a week has produced a
fantastic result and anyone can do it!!!! :
From the last few pics you can see how happy me and my pony are and
its all thanks to watching your DVDs and reading your stories.
Am so looking forward to your NSW workshop in Wagga Wagga!!
P.S. my pony was the one with the “Pigroot Button” that I emailed
you about last year. Got that sorted too!!
"An ordinary Trainer cannot hear a
Horse speak, a Good Trainer can, a Great Trainer can hear them
whisper and a Top Trainer can HEAR THEM
"Wear your Heart
in your Hands"