by John O'Leary


Draw Reins have a negative impact upon rear end problems in Horses.

If being 'a purist' means that horses are the losers, then I mostly wait for the client who can actually carry out the philosophy. That means that I mainly pitch my teachings, words and techniques at the 'Novice' Horse owner and providing it is an end to a means I see no problems. As long as the horse can gain a benefit in the equation.

So it is then that I completely recommend the 'Market Harborough' and say that I have never witnessed any physical, mental or training damage caused by the use of one. On the contrary, I only see benefits. These include the following:

Forgive me for using technical words here, like round, engaged, giving the back, soft and so on.


  • The thing that impresses me with the design is that it acts like training wheels for a rider and brings the ability of young or meek people to actually achieve (perhaps for the first time) the sensation of actually putting a horse's head down.

  • It can (perhaps for the first time) give the rider a victory of actually putting their horse's head where it aught to be. (much to the amazement of the horse of course)

  • It can (often for the first time) allow a rider to feel what it perhaps should feel like and experience some 'softness' instead of brace.

  • If consistent, the horse begins to rebuild a top line and stops building the 'upside down neck' Which of course makes it easier for the future.

  •  That even if the rider does not know how to put a horse 'on the bit' with a normal bridle, they can in fact achieve it and feel it as the running rein part of the equipment disengages and suddenly has the rider with the direct mouth contact via the normal rein. This promotes some feel, understanding but when the horse flies 'above the bit' again, the running rein kicks in once more and does what the rider can't do.

  • A fantastic tool for the Trail Rider (at the trot and canter) It is a fact that it is twice as difficult to put a horse's head down at speed on the Trail. The Market Harborough offers the complete answer to this.

  • Consistent use by kids or others can positively re-educate a horse to be less resistant and promotes the use of other correct 'top-line muscles' rather than the negative use and building of the 'under muscles. Like this

Here is the same horse 5 days later, fixed by Mrs. HP without a 'Market Harborough' of course but with the same result had this owner used one.

Riding around like this is what causes the complete deterioration of mouths of horses and form.

So the 'Market Harborough' brings a glimmer of hope to those who haven't got the luxury of Instruction or the funds to buy it and at least 'stops the rot'

* note:

Before introducing the Market Harborough, prepare the Horse first by lunging in RUNNING REINS.


The equipment has 4 adjustments to the running reins.

  • start on adjustment one.

  • Only progress when you can feel the horse is working it out and giving to it a bit.

  • Only progress if you can still keep the horse forward.

  • Always buy the size that fits your horse. Full/cob etc.

  • Adjust firstly between the legs like a normal running martingale.

  • Ride on loose reins at the walk during trail ride.

  • Any hint of rear, throw the reins away and re-commence

  • DO NOT INTRODUCE THE ASK AT THE WALK. Have a good forward trot. Forward is everything in training.

  • This equipment is NOT for jumping.


If we are going to use such equipment, such that WILL put the head of a horse down, surely we must then think about trying to capitalize upon the win and the experience. Think about it, feel it, experiment and attempt to learn to ride more correctly. Remember, we who don't need such equipment, use a varying degree of take of the reins, increased pressure in return for ignorance but COMMENSURATE INCREASED LEG ON to balance the hand. If you suddenly find that your horse is traveling with it's head down for the first time in it's career and that you are actually on the rein itself like a Pro, don't just rely upon the ease of the running reins for the rest of your life. Attempt to ride where the running rein doesn't engage so often. You doing it yourself. Aim to remove the 'training wheels'.

Given the fact that more than half the rider's of this Nation are riding around swinging off the mouths of their horses with 'Buckley's and none' chance of ever achieving some 'give' I feel that this product is a good alternative worth a try. I have seen it convert many horses and many riders.

Here is the video:

Now, take heed of this:

You must know, think about and investigate if your horse is sound before persisting with any equipment such as side reins, running reins or any others. Go here and watch this Pod Cast of horses that had been crying out for help for years until they met me. A lot of them have major issues with putting their heads down as it causes pain in the rear end due to pre-existing injuries that do not come out until we insist upon putting their head down. In fact, it is the Market Harborough that is our most useful tool in finally making a decision about the soundness or not of a lot of these horses as few mere mortals can manage to keep the head down on such horse without it. Bear it in mind though.


Please go and read this:  Veterinary issues with the Race Horse

If horses have soundness issues, normally in the rear end, the Market Harborough will bring them to a head and the horse will go up the scale with objection and resistance as it tries to protect itself.

Horses have to be fit for the purpose for which they are ridden and we have to make sure they are!!!!!!

Go here to buy one:

Virtually every Market Harborough sold in Australia is sub standard in quality and design. I have fixed this situation.