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Just Not Native
Jun. 2, 2011, 08:03 PM
No flames please. Just received my June edition of Horse Journal. Several head-set products were explained and compared. I know that I do not have an ideal, elastic contact when riding my mare but we are working on it. She tends to come above the bit.
I thought perhaps the introduction of the "bungee" while I work on my contact would help her get the idea of what I want.
Has anyone used this piece of equipment? Adjustment?

CHT
Jun. 3, 2011, 01:01 AM
The contact the horse will get from the Neck Stretcher is not the same as the contact the horse will get from the rider. Side reins (on the lunge) would be more similar.

The neck stretcher will mostly put pressure on the pole, which in turn can result in the horse breaking at the 3rd vetebra rather than at the pole (they don't tend to want to give at the point of pressure).

This rig does not allow for the horse to properly stretch its neck at the walk and canter, and by restricting this natural bob, you will restrict the horse's natural gait and rhythm. the horse may end up curling under rather than stretching through its back.

Contact should come from the horse understanding to give to (bit) pressure, understanding to move off leg, and the rider underestanding the timing of it all. It takes the development of muscle and shortcuts risk creating a false frame and a horse that is not understanding to use its back and stretch INTO contact.

TickleFight
Jun. 3, 2011, 01:32 AM
I would advise against using auxiliary reins while riding.

A better quality contact will result from mileage, and working on your balance and strength in the saddle. If you want to help your horse become more supple and connected during this process then I would suggest lunging her in Vienna reins (set so her nose can poke a little above vertical) once or twice per week. A great exercise would be for you to ride her (in Viennas) on the lunge with your reins and stirrups dropped.

CatPS
Jun. 3, 2011, 11:27 AM
My trainer has had me use one before. It certainly has its uses in the correct situations, under the correct guidance. It seems to work well for some horses that tend to pop up and resist the contact as you are going along... gives a quick correction when they get significantly above the bit which makes it easier for the rider to get them back on the aids with less of a fight. If it's properly adjusted, it will not engage at all when the horse is relaxed and starting to accept the contact, even if they are somewhat above the bit. I have seen some horses that really stretch nicely and work through with one on the lunge. My two biggest cons: it doesn't allow them to stretch fully at the walk and once you have them on the aids it ends up kind of swinging and bobbing around.

I'm not a huge fan of "devices" but I am coming to learn that in the right situations, in the right hands, they can be used temporarily to help move past a difficult spot with much less of a struggle while still developing the proper fundamentals.

Petstorejunkie
Jun. 3, 2011, 11:35 AM
using a neck stretcher AS reins (meaning clipped on each side to the bit as your primary rein, no over the poll, nothing) would help prevent nasty snatches to the mouth if you are a severe weeble wobble.
if you have reasonable control of your body, you just need to keep working at it.

HollysHobbies
Jun. 3, 2011, 11:50 AM
When I was learning connection through the hand, I used ReinAids...they elasticize your reins to some extent by attatching between the bit and your reins with a bit of elastic. I think they helped me take more contact over time (I rode with way too light a rein and had contact anxiety :) ) In theory, they should keep things a bit steadier for your horse if there is snatching. Take them off for shows though!

vbunny
Jun. 3, 2011, 09:00 PM
I have heard rein-aid work for that as well, although I have never tried them. I'd like to though, just to see what they are like. I had 2 products in Horse Journal this month, too, I am pretty chuffed :)!

xcpony
Jun. 6, 2011, 09:24 AM
I own one of these too but only use it seldomly on certain horses for particular reasons. Like the very high headed arabian I was riding once. It worked well for him since he didnt respond to stretching downwards with side reins and I havnt needed to use it since then. I sometimes use it on the lunge but it makes it difficult to get proper bend, so I only use it when I really want the horse to stretch low and long, really lift the back and work on balance. But different horses really react differently to it. Its not a bad tool to have in the tackroom though, but see what a trainer says and whether they think it would benefit his training or not first.:)

meupatdoes
Jun. 6, 2011, 11:34 AM
When I was learning connection through the hand, I used ReinAids...they elasticize your reins to some extent by attatching between the bit and your reins with a bit of elastic. I think they helped me take more contact over time (I rode with way too light a rein and had contact anxiety :) ) In theory, they should keep things a bit steadier for your horse if there is snatching. Take them off for shows though!

As far as I am aware, you do not need to take off the rein aids if you have bought them as whole reins with the elastic part built in. The ones that are attachments that just go between the bit and the regular reins, however, are not legal and do need to be removed.

Mary in Area 1
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:20 AM
I thought this would not do any harm, but I was wrong. My daughter (at her former trainer's suggestion) rode her young horse in this almost exclusively for 5 months. His trot completely changed to a downhill, fast, short trot. His neck was not behind the vertical, but too short. His lovely, well-developed crest shrunk. His back was sore and his hind end lost strength.

I saw it first hand and I was appalled. Luckily, he is young and now being ridden correctly and developing nicely.
Be careful with these "tools".

SillyHorse
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:03 PM
As far as I am aware, you do not need to take off the rein aids if you have bought them as whole reins with the elastic part built in. The ones that are attachments that just go between the bit and the regular reins, however, are not legal and do need to be removed.
From the rule book (DR121.7):
"A rein is a continuous, uninterrupted strap or line from the bridle bit to the hand. Rein additions or attachments are not permitted."
My take on this is that both types of "rein aids" you described are prohibited. In any event, I wouldn't risk elimination by using them at a show.

KBEquine
Jun. 8, 2011, 02:10 PM
No flames please. Just received my June edition of Horse Journal. Several head-set products were explained and compared. I know that I do not have an ideal, elastic contact when riding my mare but we are working on it. She tends to come above the bit.
I thought perhaps the introduction of the "bungee" while I work on my contact would help her get the idea of what I want.
Has anyone used this piece of equipment? Adjustment?

If you are serious about learning to train & ride dressage & both you & your horse are just learning contact, take the money you would have put into the neck-stretcher (and more) & put it into a little training for both you & your horse.

If your mare is a fairly quick learner, a trainer can show her what you want in a session or two, and if you are a fairly quick learner, the trainer can show YOU in about the same time-period, although getting really confirmed will take practice as you & your mare build balance & strength.

It often helps if the instructor explains to the green horse, a school horse 'explains' to a green rider, and then the green horse and its rider can go practice together.

In my opinion, the neckstretcher will only get in the way of real learning.


Good luck!

janeamanda
Mar. 11, 2012, 04:44 PM
I have just started using a bungee on my 5 (almost 6) IDx gelding, as a lady at my yard suggested, and what she said appears to make sense.

He has a well developed crest and enough muscle on his hind quarters (as is my obsession with hill work!) and although responds and comes into a contact, especially in the walk, he will, evade in the trot by lifting his head - though somehow appearing to remain in a contact...

I have used the bungee around 4 times, the lady suggest i use it for 2 months, and he will appreciate where he holds his head in future. as far as i can FEEL he has a lot more impulsion from behind as he moves forward, and concentrates on holding his head lower, he stretches well and i always make sure he stretches at the begining and end of a work out!

Although he feels better, we do not have mirrors, and i rarely ride when people are about - and if i do, there are so many different opinions, it is hard to know what is right. After trying to read about the cords (or neck stretchers - which isnt such an appealing name) i am becoming slightly concerned over how and when to use this aid.

Any suggestions? I am new to this forum thing, and couldnt work out how to start a new thread!

Any help appreciated!!!

EqTrainer
Mar. 11, 2012, 04:50 PM
Please... Dont. Just dont. IF you are going to use an auxillary rein, learn how to properly use draw reins. Which is even harder to learn to do, than ride better. No flames, just facts.

fairtheewell
Mar. 11, 2012, 05:06 PM
"Several head-set products were explained and compared." There is no "head-set" in dressage. The positioning of the head and neck is a result of correct training over time. It would be much better to get good instruction and keep working toward self-carriage. Other disciplines such as WP or SS do train with head-set equipment, but it is an artificial method that resembles at a glance the posture achieved by correct dressage, but the goals are very different.

Claudius
Mar. 11, 2012, 05:31 PM
When I have used this device I use the sun's shadow to help me to be sure it is adjusted correctly. I have only felt the need of it on a horse with an odd shaped neck or one with a very thick throat latch.....and only until I can feel the correct tension in my hands and see that the irregular neck position has been corrected. Actually, until the correct neck positioning has been found by the horse. I have only used it onhorses that were still at the "close all the doors and leave the front one open" stage....and yet were the type that I did not want to put too much leg on yet. I think it would be very bad for a very foward horse, and when used too tightly, it does just the opposite of what I am describing. The success with using devices such as this are totally dependent on your judgement and finesse.....not for inexperienced riders ever.

kaluha2
Mar. 11, 2012, 06:57 PM
"She tends to come above the bit."

She comes above the bit because she is not accepting the bit. This is were you need to start, to get her to accept the bit. This will become much easier when you have worked more on your contact issue. However, first she needs to accept the bit and you need to understand contact.

Please explain to me how this piece of equipment is going to do that ?

It goes over the poll and this is where there is primary pressure (mistake #1 with any equipment).

It is then run through the bit rings and sometimes worn between the front legs (generally). Just for one moment understand the amount of leverage this piece of leather is exerting on the horses poll. More than a fair amount for sure.

Now, while you are riding the horse how do you relax what is being exerted on the horse? You don't, you can't. This is a fixed piece of equipment. So, now you're not even riding by feel and feel is important. Are you developing feel using this piece of leather ? Well no.

What exactly is the horse learning? He's learning how not to move from back to front. He's learning how this thing AND the rider is causing him pain if he tries to lift his head in protest against hands and arms that are not very sympathetic and are not working in unison with leg and seat because surely if they were this piece of leather would not even be sold.

I know what I am going to hear next. BUT Laura B and Klaus B uses it???? Well, bully for them. Surely they know better but oh well.

Someone suggested draw reins and quite honestly if used for slight lateral flexion and used as intended that would be preferrable. At least with the draw reins the rider is able to follow the horses head and neck and to allow them to stretch.

I don't ever want my horses to "give to the bit".
I do want to be able to put my legs on a horse, any horse, at anytime no mater what is going on under me.

If anyone has a trainer that is advocating this type of leather piece to "fix" your horses contact issue, tell them you prefer to spend your money learning correctly. You can spend $25 in any town and learn from any Janie Smith how to put a false "headset" on a horse.

OP: Riding Logic is a fabulous book when trying to understand theory. If you really digested it you would discover that theory needs to be understood first before picking up the reins. Understanding where to begin with bit acceptance issues is very helpful and it explains this very well.

Also, Longe lessons are great for this as you will learn to separate body parts and to ride independently. Once that is accomplished the hand, contact issues seem to melt away.

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 11, 2012, 07:02 PM
This is a critical part of trainer that unfortunately you have to wade through and work at without using "gear" to help you out.

The only true way to "fix" a horse coming above is to train acceptance of the bit from mouth to hand with a regular rein.

EqTrainer
Mar. 11, 2012, 07:06 PM
Lovely post, Kahlua2. That is exactly what I meant about draw reins, and the point that you DO NOT want the horse to give to the bit is essential and misunderstood/overlooked.

Claudius
Mar. 11, 2012, 07:23 PM
The bungie is not leather. It is a round elastic cord. And in my case is not used through the bit....it goes over the poll, through the headband on both sides of the head, through a very very loose martinagle neck piece and to the girth. The neck piece is for safety if the horse experiments with his range of motion and puts his head very low to the ground...the neck piece keeps the bungie from drooping low enough to allow a foot to go through it. I like it a lot when a horse experiments and reaches waaayyyy down.....it is really fun to lunge with this to watch the horse's back come up and hind legs reach way under his/her body. I do cavaletti on a lunge with it also. very educational for both horse and I.

Salar
Mar. 11, 2012, 07:24 PM
My first thought about this thread was the topic "The more I learn, the guiltier I feel". OP, please read this...there are no quick fixes.

I also realize that we are not all blessed to have good, educated trainers and coaches in our area and we (I was there once as well) tend to follow local trends. For the sake of your horse and your riding skills, seek someone that knows that correct, fundamental, balanced riding is the key. When you are seated, centered, and balanced correctly in the saddle, only then can you effectively use the rest of your body (legs and hands) to create what you are trying to achieve.

I am not intending to be negative here, I always want what is best for the horse.

VCT
Mar. 11, 2012, 09:36 PM
I have one of these... it's just a super long bungee cord with clips on the ends and a thing in the middle to adjust the length.

I have found it useful in particular instances, for SHORT periods once or twice.

I have used it on the lunge line only, instead of side reins.. and set very loosely. I found it seems to encourage my horse to stretch his back and neck more than side reins, or without anything.

I've only used it a few times when I really wanted him to stretch and do long & low. I had it set as long as it goes. He seems to really like it - it's a lot more elastic-y than side reins.

As with anything, overuse or misuse is an issue.

caper
Mar. 11, 2012, 10:46 PM
I am considering getting one for lungeing. I have a new large Welsh pony and he is great with contact at the walk but as soon as you go into trot he starts to resist and fight contact. He likes to curl and go BTV. He is a driving pony so the position seems natural for him and he evades. I tried side reins and he just runs and inverts.

This pony can go for hours and just like to speed up and not listen to half halts. I wanted to do some lunge work in this to get him to relax and stretch down. He needs to know it is a good place to be. Once he is more relaxed on the lunge I will ride without the gismo in hopes of him more accepting in trot.

kaluha2
Mar. 12, 2012, 07:38 AM
Claudius:

I know. Doing it correctly takes a lot of time, effort, and gobs of skill and an endless amount of feel and who the hell wants to have to do all that??

You might want to read Wilhem Museler. He does not agree with you.

A very good place to start is by throwing out the notion that riding a horse with legs on is something to be avoided. Even in the beginning.

With no leg on a horse the rider will ride front to back for sure. This allows the horse every opportunity to stop whenever he feels like it, slow down and only go at the pace he prefers, buck, rear, balk and the list goes on and on.

Now add using any device (doesn't matter if it's a "bungee" or a piece of leather or if it goes through the bit rings or not) do you not see how problematic and detrimental this is especially when your aim is dressage ?

If not then a good book on theory will explain things.

Now if all you want to do is hack across the field or ride on down the driveway to pick up the mail, then have at it.

However, the suggestion that using a gadget is perfectly acceptable and putting false headsets on horses does not adhere to theory.

Tiger Horse
Mar. 12, 2012, 05:34 PM
I have one of these... it's just a super long bungee cord with clips on the ends and a thing in the middle to adjust the length.

I have found it useful in particular instances, for SHORT periods once or twice.

I have used it on the lunge line only, instead of side reins.. and set very loosely. I found it seems to encourage my horse to stretch his back and neck more than side reins, or without anything.

I've only used it a few times when I really wanted him to stretch and do long & low. I had it set as long as it goes. He seems to really like it - it's a lot more elastic-y than side reins.

As with anything, overuse or misuse is an issue.

This is how I use mine - maybe once a month - for about 10-15 minutes - on the lunge line. My guy is not comfortable in side reins but stretches nicely with this.

EqTrainer
Mar. 12, 2012, 07:24 PM
This is so frustrating.

The horse stretching into it.. Is not the point or problem. The point is, you dont ride a horse in elastic reins. Think about this! Why would you train your horse to do something in a way you never intend to replicate?!!!

Good side reins have very little give.. Just like human arms.

Training is systematic and progressive for a reason.

Claudius
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:08 PM
You must not assume that those of us who use equipment do so all the time. Nor that using very little leg pressure is some thing we continue. I think many of us who use equipment have dealt with thbs off the track, or as I said earlier , horses with peculiarities that most riders might not choose to work on. Some of us have worked with horses others have given up on....I know I have. It is challenging to figure out WHY the horse was not successful before I got him. And it is often necessary to use unorthodox methods to get the horse to the place where correct riding can be used....misconceptions on a horse's part are usually imprinted in a highly emotional state....they can be very difficult to replace with correct understanding....that " A Ha " moment is one of my favorite experiences...it can happen in a twenty minute work out on a longe....or it can take weeks. and it always takes extreme patience....in my experience theory and classically correct efforts have proven premature with these horses....that is why I have been fortunate enough to be able to buy them so reasonably and enjoy the challenge of rescuing them from a life of confusion. if "gadgets " have interupted the dysfunctional behavior....so be it....once A gadget opens the door to new behavior, it goes back into the tack trunk where it belongs. THEN we agree with theory and classically correct riding.

My3Sons
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:19 PM
I thought this would not do any harm, but I was wrong. My daughter (at her former trainer's suggestion) rode her young horse in this almost exclusively for 5 months. His trot completely changed to a downhill, fast, short trot. His neck was not behind the vertical, but too short. His lovely, well-developed crest shrunk. His back was sore and his hind end lost strength.

I saw it first hand and I was appalled. Luckily, he is young and now being ridden correctly and developing nicely.
Be careful with these "tools".


As a Massage Therapist I see SOOO many sore & damaged necks from the quick fix head setter, stretches...whatever you want to call them...they are torquing the horse into a position that is not natural, causes the horse pain and permanent damage..the reward is in your release while riding..that's how we get them supple, soft and responsive..
Take the proper time to do it and you will have it for life!

EqTrainer
Mar. 12, 2012, 08:46 PM
Claudius... When retraining, all bets are off. But I still would question the use of a bungee versus draw reins to the girth. I am leery of anything that creates a secondary problem to fix.

VCT
Mar. 12, 2012, 10:44 PM
EqTrainer, it actually worked to get my horse to stretch his topline and also to begin to understand to seek the bit. He never got so soft, accepting and seeking with side reins. I never use anything like that under saddle, as I said only on the lunge line once or twice for a few minutes.

Anything can be misused - including draw reins. That is something I actually don't own and have no desire to own.

caper
Mar. 13, 2012, 09:21 AM
EqTrainer, it actually worked to get my horse to stretch his topline and also to begin to understand to seek the bit. He never got so soft, accepting and seeking with side reins.

^^ THIS! :yes:

fatappy
Mar. 13, 2012, 09:30 AM
I thought this would not do any harm, but I was wrong. My daughter (at her former trainer's suggestion) rode her young horse in this almost exclusively for 5 months. His trot completely changed to a downhill, fast, short trot. His neck was not behind the vertical, but too short. His lovely, well-developed crest shrunk. His back was sore and his hind end lost strength.

:yes: I knew a girl whose horse tore his suspensory and she used these while she was "rehabbing" him. After 2-3 months, her horse was VERY heavy on the hand and VERY downhill. He also became very ugly about working in general.

I am sure in some instances, they could be useful, but personally, this is the last avenue I would explore.

EqTrainer
Mar. 13, 2012, 09:39 AM
EqTrainer, it actually worked to get my horse to stretch his topline and also to begin to understand to seek the bit. He never got so soft, accepting and seeking with side reins. I never use anything like that under saddle, as I said only on the lunge line once or twice for a few minutes.

Anything can be misused - including draw reins. That is something I actually don't own and have no desire to own.

WARNING: TODAY IS "THE DAY OF TRUTH"

Yes, anything can be misused.

The point I am trying to make is that when you use an elastic device, you are training the horse that he can pull on the rein and it will give and that is HIM that makes that choice/decision/thing happen, not the rider. Then you ride him, and if you ride correctly, the horse is not allowed/cannot do this. How can this be right or fair?

This is the difference between the way an ammy thinks and the way a pro thinks. An ammy thinks, oh look, he is stretching! Good! End goal achieved! A pro thinks, stretching is a by product of a horse correctly recycling his energy *as the rider asks him to do so/lengthens the frame*. The former is leading nowhere but seems exciting. The latter takes longer and is anticlamatic but is part of the building blocks of training.

Really, I dont expect people to understand this, I dont know why I bother, i must like having a bloody head :lol: I will say, reading COTH gives me great insight as to why so many horses are a hot mess.

caper
Mar. 13, 2012, 10:04 AM
I see your point and DO agree with you. I would only use this in specific circumstances with horses that travel above the bit and hollow. I have a large pony who was used in driving. His self carriage is high due to this training. With work I have gotten him to relax some in the walk and come lower but as soon as you go to the next gait he is high headed and runs. It is what he knows. I only intend to try it on him for a could of lungeing sessions to see if if helps at all. I did try side reins and like the interesting TB I used to own he would not bend and would invert and run...not a pretty sight. My other two horses that have been started properly from scratch don't need something like this...regular training rides with them work just fine.

This guy just needs to learn to search for the contact down and out and not avoid it and run.

Sandy M
Mar. 13, 2012, 10:31 AM
One of my friends rides regularly in draw reins. Sigh. But she cannot achieve the same "frame" (whatever) without the drawreins. I have always been taught and taken the attitude that if I cannot get/keep the horse on the bit without artificial help, then obviously I am the one that needs the help/correction, not the horse. Now, I did have an event horse who would bull through your hands and who hated arena work. On RARE occasions I would ride him in draw reins just to enforce that he was NOT going to pull me out of the saddle and do whatever he wanted (all 16.3 and 1,500 lbs. of him). But I always rode with regular reins as well, using the drawreins like the curb on a pelham, i.e., only when absolutely needed. Certainly there are instances when drawreins are appropriate, but I've never like the bungee or related devices. And I always think of the (I think) Mikolka quote: "Those who know how to use drawreins correctly do not need to use them."

mbm
Mar. 13, 2012, 11:44 AM
WARNING: TODAY IS "THE DAY OF TRUTH"

Yes, anything can be misused.

The point I am trying to make is that when you use an elastic device, you are training the horse that he can pull on the rein and it will give and that is HIM that makes that choice/decision/thing happen, not the rider. Then you ride him, and if you ride correctly, the horse is not allowed/cannot do this. How can this be right or fair?

This is the difference between the way an ammy thinks and the way a pro thinks. An ammy thinks, oh look, he is stretching! Good! End goal achieved! A pro thinks, stretching is a by product of a horse correctly recycling his energy *as the rider asks him to do so/lengthens the frame*. The former is leading nowhere but seems exciting. The latter takes longer and is anticlamatic but is part of the building blocks of training.

Really, I dont expect people to understand this, I dont know why I bother, i must like having a bloody head :lol: I will say, reading COTH gives me great insight as to why so many horses are a hot mess.

if i could i would give you "positive rep" points for your entire series of comments in this thread.

so much truth in what you are saying!

Claudius
Mar. 13, 2012, 12:11 PM
I am uncomfortable with your statement about the hands vs. the elastic. Hands are not, or should not be rigid.....good hands give rythmically with the motion of the horse, just as a properly adjusted bungie or properly ridden draw rein. It is the finesse with which these things are used that determines their effectiveness. A poorly used REIN , BAD HANDS, SPURS, HEAVY SEAT, POOR BALANCE.....all these things can mess a up a horse...it doesn't take equipment to do that. But an educated rider with "intelligent hands" great balance and keen awareness can help a horse tremendously with these things. An educated rider knows when to use them, and when to stop using them. So I guess the upshot of this is that they should only be used by very educated riders.

EqTrainer
Mar. 13, 2012, 12:40 PM
I am uncomfortable with your statement about the hands vs. the elastic. Hands are not, or should not be rigid.....good hands give rythmically with the motion of the horse, just as a properly adjusted bungie or properly ridden draw rein. It is the finesse with which these things are used that determines their effectiveness. A poorly used REIN , BAD HANDS, SPURS, HEAVY SEAT, POOR BALANCE.....all these things can mess a up a horse...it doesn't take equipment to do that. But an educated rider with "intelligent hands" great balance and keen awareness can help a horse tremendously with these things. An educated rider knows when to use them, and when to stop using them. So I guess the upshot of this is that they should only be used by very educated riders.

Hands follow the *correct* motion of the horses head. Hands do not, or should not, follow the incorrect motion of the horses head. A bungee follows *either* motion indiscriminately.

Of course there is no substitute for good, educated hands. But the bungee does not even vaguely imitate good hands that know when to give and to follow and when to resist.

VCT
Mar. 13, 2012, 01:00 PM
WARNING: TODAY IS "THE DAY OF TRUTH"

Yes, anything can be misused.

The point I am trying to make is that when you use an elastic device, you are training the horse that he can pull on the rein and it will give and that is HIM that makes that choice/decision/thing happen, not the rider. Then you ride him, and if you ride correctly, the horse is not allowed/cannot do this. How can this be right or fair?

This is the difference between the way an ammy thinks and the way a pro thinks. An ammy thinks, oh look, he is stretching! Good! End goal achieved! A pro thinks, stretching is a by product of a horse correctly recycling his energy *as the rider asks him to do so/lengthens the frame*. The former is leading nowhere but seems exciting. The latter takes longer and is anticlamatic but is part of the building blocks of training.

Really, I dont expect people to understand this, I dont know why I bother, i must like having a bloody head :lol: I will say, reading COTH gives me great insight as to why so many horses are a hot mess.

Well thanks for venturing into the realm of being insulting under the guise of truth. Not really sure I deserved that, but whatever.

And no, I'm not saying it's the "end goal achieved" but it's teaching the horse that reaching forward to the bit is okay (for a few minutes, once or twice).

Sometimes when you are dealing with horses that no one else wants to deal with, you need to find what works for them. It's not the end goal, it's part of a process. Using a tool briefly to encourage a horse who travels short and above the contact to teach him that it's OKAY to stretch isn't the most horrible thing in the world and used in a precise way, not in "every work session for 3 months" it doesn't create a problem.

Just as when teaching turn on the haunches, I begin with a larger circle, and the horse over time, learns to make the circle with his hind end smaller and smaller until it's non-existent and he is just pivoting on the hind leg. In the beginning he is allowed to step forward small amounts with the hind legs during the TOH while the front end comes around. Over time it is perfected. It's not unfair to him that in the beginning he could move his hind leg forward and now he can't. What he is learning is being refined.

Maybe you and I just have entirely different ways of training. I see it as a process. I don't expect all the parameters to be exactly the same during the process as they will be at the "end goal."

EqTrainer
Mar. 13, 2012, 01:12 PM
I am sorry VCT, the Day Of Truth thing on COTH is an old joke.

I have dealt with plenty of horses that need fixing. You and I can certainly agree to disagree about this and I wont say another thing about it. I will never believe or agree that anything that teaches the horse the wrong response to the rein is a good idea. At least draw reins leave the release to the rider where it belongs, and they are and will remain my "fix" of choice when necessary.

The reason I said I dont know why I bother is that most of the people here ARE ammys and if they already understood progression of training they would not be asking questions like this here so... I am being silly to expect them to think like someone who trains horses. My bad.

lizloveshorses
Mar. 13, 2012, 01:36 PM
EqTrainer, I think you're confusing the placement of the gummy. With draw reins, they're going from the hands to the bit to between the legs. With the gummy, it rests at the poll, not held in the riders hands. In my estimation, these are two seperate arguments. When you say that the gummy follows an indescriminate motion of a horse's head, I would disagree. The design of the gummy is to teach the horse to stretch its neck from its back, not teach contact. That is the riders job.

leahandpie
Mar. 13, 2012, 02:21 PM
I am sorry VCT, the Day Of Truth thing on COTH is an old joke.

I have dealt with plenty of horses that need fixing. You and I can certainly agree to disagree about this and I wont say another thing about it. I will never believe or agree that anything that teaches the horse the wrong response to the rein is a good idea. At least draw reins leave the release to the rider where it belongs, and they are and will remain my "fix" of choice when necessary.

The reason I said I dont know why I bother is that most of the people here ARE ammys and if they already understood progression of training they would not be asking questions like this here so... I am being silly to expect them to think like someone who trains horses. My bad.

I think this comment is extremely true, and it makes me sad that some "ammys" are not trying to understand the progression of training. Isn't that the entire point of riding your horse? To improve? To learn? To progress???

I AM an "ammy" in all senses of the word, but when I'm not getting the response I want from my horse, I know I'm probably doing something wrong. This is very frustrating at times, but it is absolutely 100% true for all but maybe a few of the most excellent of riders/trainers. Anyone who does not understand this will be destined to get frustrated with their horse, have 'bad rides' or 'fights' with the horse, and ultimately they will never understand the training process or build a rewarding partnership.

One of my favorite PC trainers always had us talk about our lessons afterwards, and would correct us if we said "My horse was ____". Instead, we had to say "I was ____, and I didn't ___, so my horse _____." That drilled into my head that every reaction from the horse was caused by some lack of action/preparation/timing/patience/whatever on my part.

I just will never understand this idiotic defense of shortcut devices. I feel bad for all the horses out there being strapped into a "bungee". But I feel worse for all the "ammys" too dense to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Training is a wonderful, rewarding process if you do it correctly. It is a learning process like any other, and to do it well it takes patience and dedication.

Claudius
Mar. 13, 2012, 02:50 PM
Just so's ya know.....I train horses....have trained horses for over 55 years....I have produced horses that go in a great frame, balanced,and light. Horses that have won with me and gone on to win with others and have become HOTY....maybe we must agree that there is more than one way to skin a cat!!

But I must say I am glad to see that we agree that gadgets should only be used by experienced riders.They should never be turned over to children or inexperienced adult riders. For the posters who said their horse's backs ended up sore etc., an experienced rider/trainer would have noticed any thing like this before it became a treatment issue.....either adjusted the equipment differently, or stopped using it. There just is NO substitute for experience!!!

rodawn
Mar. 13, 2012, 03:16 PM
Sigh.

Why are people so focused on what the HEAD is doing?

Why have people not learned that the HEAD is set from the hindquarters?

What the HEAD is doing is not the most important element. The head in an improper position is the key warning and guidance system that ALL IS NOT WELL IN THE HINDQUARTERS.

When the head and mouth are disengaged, it means the horse is not coming through. How do you get a horse to come through? By engaging the hindquarters. How do you engage the hindquarters? With your SEAT and LEGS. Impulsion. Sustained impulsion and throughness develops physical strength which leads to the sustained ability to maintain the level of collection desired for the level of training the horse and rider has achieved.

Impulsion leads to engagement of the hindquarters, leads to engagement of the mind, which leads to enegagement of mouth which naturally in turn puts the poll in the right place with the nose just slightly ahead of the vertical.

True engagement naturally corrects head carriage.

Everything else is a false impression.

When a rider struggles to produce elastic connection with their hands it is because they are stiff, tense or locked in their shoulders and elbows. Sometimes this is a physical ailment that needs work with a physical therapist, due to injuries, your own conformation and maybe some arthritis. Sometimes, it is due to sheer tension. If you're stiff and tight through your musculature, you are automatically going to translate that to your hands. The reins are a live wire, much like an electrical line. They transmit electrical signals produced by your musculature via your hands, arms, and shoulders to the horse's mouth.

A horse can feel these transmissions. Tension in you automatically disengages the horse, produces tension in the horse, resistance, and turns off the horse's mind, meaning the horse is no longer truly listening. This may be momentarily, or it may be several minutes in duration, or the duration of the entire riding session. The RIDER needs to learn how to engage their own specific horse because each horse is a bit different to the next one.

So, instead of these aid devices, gizmos and gadgets (whatever you want to call them), work on your own tension and transmissions. The quick fixes are tempting because it gives the appearance that you have the opportunity for a shortcut. Sometimes, shortcuts now, lead to heartbreak failure sometime in the future. The goal of dressage is long-term success and there are no shortcuts for this.

There are some horses whose own conformation makes it extremely difficult for them to engage in the hindquarters, and thus connect themselves forward to their head, neck and mouth. Horses whose hindquarters tend to be placed too far exterior of their hip joints are prime example of a horse who has a lot of difficulty engaging, let alone coming together in deep collection. This is just one conformation problem, but there are others. A tight back makes it hard for the horse to engage, is another example. Aid devices, or whatever you want to call them, will not correct this either. You have to work with the horse's conformation and come up with the best solution per the horse. The aid devices might temporarily solve the problem visually, but in the long run, the whole body will be wrong because the wrong muscles will have been developed first. Rein aid devices tend to develop the front end, when the real issue is how to develop the hindend and only time working the right muscles and gaining strength and balance from those correct muscles is going to achieve long-term results. Time, time, time. And patience while the horse develops those msucles, because that takes weeks and months to overcome conformation faults that naturally place the horse in the wrong position in the first place. No horse is perfect, but really this is why the upper level riders search high and low for a horse who first of all has the right TYPE (read: conformation) for the sport intended, and secondly also has the right attitude and athleticism to achieve. Salinero was chosen for dressage because he is built for dressage. His full brother, Seven Up, was chosen for show jumping because he is built for jumping. Same bloodline, same breeding. DIFFERENT BODIES. All we can do as riders is work with the assets the horse provides and find a way through the difficulties.

You know, I have trained multiple horses to Grand Prix. Never had one break down like we hear so often. Forcing horses to come together because they "must" be performing Grand Prix movements by 8 years old is ridiculous. I came from an era where dressage training could take 10 years to achieve the S level or Grand Prix level. During those 10 years, what did we focus on? Strengthening, flexion, communication, connection, elasticity, balance, rhythm, relaxation, engagement. What is Piaffe? It is essentially the highest form of balance, strength, connection, focus, elasticity, rhythm, and elasticised engagement. Just think about that point before you jump all over my post.

ZiggyStardust
Mar. 13, 2012, 04:37 PM
The reason I said I dont know why I bother is that most of the people here ARE ammys and if they already understood progression of training they would not be asking questions like this here so... I am being silly to expect them to think like someone who trains horses. My bad.

The only thing I would like to add to this discussion is that there are plenty of "pro's" out there who get paid to train/ride and think they know how to train a horse, who aren't actually very good at proper training and sometimes can't tell an unsound horse when they see one. This is not directed at you, but a lot of "ammys" who may be crap trainers learned from "pro's" who are crap trainers but somehow manage to get by and get paid because they have multiple horses that win ribbons once in a while, a one in a million horse, a saint, and $ or whatever else. Ammys as a group take a lot of flack on this board, but a lot of them/us learned their/our bad habits from pro's.

VCT
Mar. 13, 2012, 10:52 PM
No flames please. Just received my June edition of Horse Journal. Several head-set products were explained and compared. I know that I do not have an ideal, elastic contact when riding my mare but we are working on it. She tends to come above the bit.
I thought perhaps the introduction of the "bungee" while I work on my contact would help her get the idea of what I want.
Has anyone used this piece of equipment? Adjustment?

To answer your question, no I don't think this tool will help your horse learn to stay "on the bit" and I would not use any tool toward that end as that can only be properly achieved by riding the horse forward into a soft following hand.

Coming above the bit is a symptom of something else going on in the training: tension in the back, not trusting the contact, not being forward enough, not understanding how to lift the back or seek contact, etc.

In my experience with the neck stretcher, it encourages the horse to push their neck forward from their shoulder and stretch into the bit. I would not use it under saddle, but possibly briefly on the lunge line, for a few times, if your horse is tight in her back and neck. As others have pointed out, overuse or misuse can have detrimental effects.

ETA: I used it twice on a very anxious horse who carries a lot of tension and who was not comfortable with steady contact under saddle. On the line in side reins he would just stay above the contact or bump into it and back off, bump and back off, rinse repeat. After two times on the lunge line with the bungee, for maybe 10 - 15 minutes each time, he became much more comfortable with contact under saddle. I think he learned something from it and we moved on. Any "tool" that you need to use over and over and over again obviously is not a good idea.

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 13, 2012, 11:06 PM
Confused by the turn of events on this thread....

Are we saying that Pro's don't use various items on the lunge?

I know both pro's and top riders (good ones) that lunge in different side reins as well as the neck stretcher.

Im more a fan of the de gogue now having been told to use it by a top young horse trainer from europe :)

OP have you considered the de gogue? My mare stretches very nice in it both at canter and trot :)

BoyleHeightsKid
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:05 AM
Does the de gogue restrict the use of the head and neck for balance at canter? It is my understanding that most work done in something like this (as well as with sidereins or vienna reins) should be done in trot.

mzpeepers
Mar. 14, 2012, 12:12 PM
rodawn.... (http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/member.php?u=128116)
CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!!!!!!!!:yes:

BarbB
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:55 PM
It is my ultimate pet peeve, I have to say it.

There is no such thing as a correct head set.

If you can put the horse on the bit, maintain a steady contact and use your legs - you can put his head anywhere you want to, minute by minute. And while you are doing this you are affecting his balance and teaching him that you will HELP him with his balance.
Teaching a horse that his head belongs HERE is circus training and not learning how to ride and communicate with your horse.


Edited to add: apologies to anyone who has already posted on this, I missed it and just don't see it often. Not trying to steal anyone's thunder.