Horse Problems Australia, 
Post Office Box 1361
Victor Harbor, SA. 5211
PH. (61) 0418814029


John O'Leary




"So sorry to ask 2 questions of you in one day... this one is quick!
I went to get a market harborough today, and saw some Draw Reins.
(Page 8 of the catalogue attached in case you need picture.
It buckles to the girth then goes straight through the bit and to my hands.
As I do not trust my hands totally, is this better or worse than the Market Haborough
when you take into consideration that:

1) He trips up a lot and needs his head free when this happens.



Firstly, I NEVER use Draw Reins and completely disagree with them....unless perhaps for some Western Training Horses. Never for an English trained Horse or normal every day Riding Horses. There is too much down side.

  • Draw Reins put Horses 'On the forehand', hence your tripping. They make the outline of the Horse too long and too low. (under Saddle)

  • They encourage Horses to slide along them, behind them and not come on the Bit.

  • They tend to discourage Horses from being 'Over the Back' and to develop 'swing'

  • They discourage true 'engagement'

  • The Riders' hands and co-ordination have to impeccable.

  • They can be dangerous and cause a Horse to flip over.

  • You can't get true 'collection' in draw reins.

  • When in Draw Reins, the Horse can be ever so subtly behind the collection and to 'hollow' the back.

  • Draw Reins diminish the Muscle building of the top line and longitudinal muscles of the Horse.

  • Draw Reins can allow Veterinary suspect Horses (generally in the back or rear end) to compensate for the affliction, thus masking the problem and detrimentally affecting the Scientific diagnosis of the problem.

  • Draw Reins tend to block Riders' from progressing on to their own hands and contact.

  • Draw Reins stop one from progressing a Horse to a higher frame.


  • The Market Harborough achieves a similar ease for an inexperienced Rider to achieve some sort of frame rather than 'above the bit' and building under muscles and upside down necks.

  • The Running Rein disengages the moment the Head of the Horse is in some sort of required position.

  • That allows a 'Green Rider' to experience, practice and learn to achieve and maintain a frame, on their own hands.

  • The Market Harborough has 3 levels of adjustment (with mine 4), for various amounts of collection.

  • It can be totally disengaged when pleasure riding.

  • It allows the Rider to ride the Horse 'long and low' or up in various levels of collection.

  • The equipment allows one to ride a Horse 'deep and round' or bring them up to true collection, useful all the way to the Olympic Level Horse.

  • The equipment is far more useful with young Horses and as I said, the assessment of Veterinary cases because it doesn't allow them to dissolve the use of the normally afflicted muscle groups.

  • The ability only to let the reins go fast and to save rearing is instant whereas draw reins do not release with such speed or ease.

  • The MH allows the or lateral flexion with far more ease than draw reins and the real rein.

Here is an Advanced level (Z) in Holland and he has been carrying on like this for 7 years, but they have used Draw Reins on him and that has shut this behavior down. He even went to Dressage Comps and would get through them, often winning, because of the daily use of the Draw Reins and very subtle riding by the Owner.


I noted the lack of 'top line' built after 7 years.

However, I was interested in the under neck muscle that the Horse was still able to develop

but the most astounding thing that we found was that when we installed a Market Harborough on him, within 3 days, he became completely unsound because Mrs. HP was able to insist upon 'proper collection' for his Level, which was above that of DRAW REINS. Thus being real time graphic proof as to the difference between the two pieces of equipment. As a result, he was finally declared unsound and saved from a life of torment.


I have met Horses that have become dangerous due to the fact that the brakes have gone altogether whereby the Horse will simply disappear so far behind the Bit that the Rider has lost all control.


It is not possible to get a Horse to come 'On the Bit' using Draw Reins. They easily come 'on the Bit' in a Market Harborough though.

It is no co-coincidence then that some of the Worlds Top Western Trainers, also strongly recommend this equipment.

Go here to read about the Market Harborough / German Martingale

"Wear your Heart in your Hands"


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