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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 27, 2007
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    17

    Question Side reins for a horse that resents contact??????

    I'm not really sure WHERE to ask this question. I have had my OTTB for about 10 yrs now. We have mostly hacked around the farm, and we really don't do Dressage. I work with him in a Bitless, and have noticed that he resents real contact, in a bit or bitless. I was thinkink that I could start him in side reins to introduce him to contact. Then slowly him used to working at, or slightly in front of, the vertical.
    Is this advisable? If not, what do you advise?
    Thanx in advance
    Gennifer



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
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    Cool

    You've had him for 10 years, don't do dressage, ride him bitless, and now you suddenly want him in a "frame"?

    I fear you're going at things backward.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
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    24,408

    Default

    the position of the horse's head and neck is not something that is a fixed 'pose' you can train him to go in, side reins adjusted to put the horse's head 'in front of the vertical' may help the horse accept the contact or it may not. each case is individual. a dressage instructor can help you work thru this and understand it and the ideas of 'contact' and 'acceptance of the bit'. this is a misconception many people have, that they need to get the horse's head in a certain position to do dressage.

    since the horse has been ridden 'off a contact' for 10 years, it's going to be very, very hard for a person who hasn't done this before to learn it and teach the horse at the same time. taking some dressage lessons on a trained horse may help you understand it and working with a dressage instructor with your horse after that may then be easier.

    horses at the race track are taught to be ridden on a contact, but dropping the contact means 'stop' and picking up the contact means 'go'. it means something different to the horse on the track than it does in dressage.

    experienced dressage trainers seem to be very, very good at teaching off the track race horses to learn a new type of contact. it is very, very difficult for someone to do it who hasn't ridden that way.

    side reins are used with longeing only, and not while riding unless the rider is sitting on a horse that is being longed and is connected to a longe line. it is not safe to ride a 'loose' horse (one not being longed) in sidereins.



  4. #4
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    Jan. 5, 2002
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    Default

    If you do try longing in sidereins.... start them out long and make sure you have somebody experienced near by. There's a few of us OTTB owners who advise not going with the sidereins OR just being VERY careful when attempting it. I tried with my mare a few times and we finally gave up. Because of some baggage and other issues, she would literally flip over backwards in them. So my longing consists of "free longing" with no sidereins but making sure she's going VERY forward in trot & canter. THEN we work on contact while riding.
    *bad shoulder clique * Member of "OMGiH, I loff my Mare" Clique! * Proud owner of a CANTER Cutie!
    My Horses; COMH Page; My Blog



  5. #5
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    Jun. 6, 2007
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    Default

    Look into the Pessoa lunging apparatus, it allows the horse to find it's balance and connect the 'front end' to the 'back end' gradually and without the same restrictions as side reins
    * <-- RR Certified Gold Star {) <-- RR Golden Croissant Award
    Training Tip of the Day: If you can’t beat your best competitor, buy his horse.
    NO! What was the question?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fixerupper View Post
    Look into the Pessoa lunging apparatus, it allows the horse to find it's balance and connect the 'front end' to the 'back end' gradually and without the same restrictions as side reins
    Really? Connecting the back legs of the horse to his mouth -- so that he gets jabbed at every step -- is helping him find his balance and collection? And that is LESS restrictive than side reins? Ah, no.

    All you will do with that is teach him to tuck his head so that his mouth doesn't get hurt.

    Worse than side reins by FAR.

    My 2 cents
    Eileen
    Mad Mare™ Studio
    Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
    http://MadMare.com



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 26, 2008
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    Default

    I have to agree with everyone about the getting a trainer. Side reins will probably just make him go behind the verticle.

    I would advise long lining. I tried that with a mare that didnt like contact and it helped bit. We only did it for about a week, but there was still an improvement. She had consistent contact ALWAYS, if her head was up in the air or an inch from her chest, didnt matter. It was a light contact, but there was no loop in the reins. she started to realize that there was going to be contact no matter what.

    I also would advise using rein aids or something like that if you are going to ling line her. it is much easier to keep a VERY consitent contact.



  8. #8
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    Nov. 7, 2006
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    Denmark
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    Default

    If you want your horse to "go into the contact", side reins are probably not the best tool. Think for a moment what they do: When the horse tries to extend his head and neck beyond a certain limit (which is defined by how long you fit the side reins), he gets pressured in his mouth. No horse likes this. That's the whole reason the bit works at all - the horse will perform any behaviour you ask in order to make that pressure go away. The behaviour which makes bit pressure cease is the behaviour which you are training.

    So by trying to lengthen his neck (which is a prerequisite for any foundation dressage work) the horse gets "punished" by the bit. And by shortening his neck (which is the bane of true contact), he is able to reward himself by removing the pressure from the bit. This is the same as giving your dog a biscuit for chasing the cat and kicking him in the behind for fetching the newspaper. IMO, this applies to pretty much any auxiliary rein, the action of which pulls back on the horse's mouth.

    "Contact" is something which a fairly educated horse does to the bit. Not something which the bit does to the horse and the horse learns over time to accept. Green horses can and should be completely unrestricted so that they can stretch their necks out of their bodies and learn to carry the rider without tension through their backs. When your horse finally does take the contact, it will be feather light and come to you as a natural consequence of him working confidently forwards through his whole body. This feels pretty awesome and like most pretty awesome things, there is no forcing it. You can fake it though, and I personally would not dispute that side reins could be a useful tool in this pursuit

    Good luck

    Jules



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2000
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    Default

    Well rather recently side reins have been a huge part of getting two horses I'm working with to stretch into the contact and accept the bit.

    In fact, I think if the person uses them correctly they can help alot in certain situations. many people don't use them correctly. that doesn't mean there's no way to use them correctly. Just don't put them on so short or long!

    The problem comes when peopel adjust them too short and hold the horse's head in tightly - like the pictures of the pony 'Power and Paint' showed. When they DON'T do that - side reins can be quite beneficial. And yeah, they can ALSO cause problems when they're too long - horse loses balance, bends incorrectly, cross canters, falls down...that happens too.

    I too have been pretty annoyed by how some folks will truss up their horse with side reins and yell, 'He's in a 4th level frame!' - but I've come to realize that portrays a WHOLELY wrong idea of dressage, even without sidereins those guys are in trouble - whatever equipment they use will be used incorrectly.

    Longeing, not just going around and causing more problems or putting on useless miles, is an art. Adjusting dressage equipment properly and using it effectively so it helps rather than causes problems is a matter of experience or having someone experienced there to guide the way.



  10. #10
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    Jul. 17, 2007
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    Default

    OP... I'd suggest you begin with an equine dentist (not just a "float") to see if there are mouth issues causing your horse to be resistant. Rough teeth and TMJ problems cause pain and avoidance of contact (even in a bitless, which can push the cheeks into points on the molars).

    Next on the list would be an evaluation of your horse's mouth conformation as it relates to bitting. A thick tongue, fleshy bars and low palate?... a thin tongue, knife-thin bars and a very ridge-y palate? You may have to experiment with different mouthpieces (single joint, double joint, perhaps a mullen) to see what works best for your guy.

    But... consider your needs before you embark on further training. If you're happy just hacking around the farm and don't do dressage, is it really necessary to teach your horse to accept contact? As long as you can reliably steer and stop, a loose rein is a fine thing to use.
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com



  11. #11
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    Jul. 19, 2001
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    I'm happy for you slc that you have finally after many years discovered the value of sidereins when correctly used. Anyone who has read your posts over the years knows, despite your denials, that you previously preached that sidereins should not be used at all . Having read your repeated criticisms in the past of people for both lungeing and using sidereins, I'm quite surprised at your change of heart. Perhaps you have a new trainer who understands these tried and true training concepts? If so, I am sincerely happy for you.

    To the OP, I'm guessing that your horse probably does not hate contact, but he just needs to learn about contact. Sidereins may help but not if you have no experience using them. You need to know how to adjust them in relation to the particular horse and the stage of training and what you are seeing and how to ask your horse to move in them .

    Race horses are trained very differently with respect to the bit and contact. You really might benefit from some help from a good trainer if you are going to begin to educate your horse to the concept of contact after riding him essentially without contact for 10 years. (after ruling out physical issues, of course).



  12. #12
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    Aug. 11, 2000
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    Exclamation find th right bit1

    Find a bit he likes, loose ring hollow mouth may nNoT be it, then comb the reins until he is stretching down and seeking the bit
    breeder of Mercury!

    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans



  13. #13
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    Jan. 4, 2000
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    no, egon, you aren't really sincerely happy for me, you would never be sincerely happy about anything with me except if i were to lose a horse to an injury or illness, so you could browbeat me about it, and laugh about it and gloat over it, or if i were to get hurt, so you could write about how stupid i am, or if i were to make a really crappy score at a show, then you'd be sincerely happy, but not for me, but because it would give yiou something more to gloat over and say so many utterly clever things about .

    no, i don't have a new trainer, and my ideas about side reins have never changed and i have always used longeing as a training help for years, including when i said i wished it would all be against the law.

    the reason i said that is i was sick of seeing how people truss up horses with side reins and longe them for 2 hours in one direction.

    i sat at quarter horse congress and watched someone canter a horse on a longe line for 2 friggin hours in one direction! was at a barn where people cantered horses on a longe line for 45 minutes, an hour, every friggin day, and then turned them around and longed them for 45min - 1 hr in the OTHER direction, i watched a lady at one barn longe a yearling - a friggin' YEARLING - for an hour each day in sidereins - she started when it was 9 months old! and i watched two horses break legs on the longe line because people were trying to tire them out and were whipping them to make them run around. and the horses were bored, and lame and tied up so they were off balance, and YEAH! guess what! i didn't like it.

    any time i say anything about longeing you go back to the same old stupid tired out old saw and you refuse to listen to anything else i say or even for one second THINK that i might have a point if you would stop picking and gossiping for 2 seconds.

    evidently, tthis is such an attractive subject for you because you have nothing of any real value to contribute, and can't think of anything more intelligent to talk about.

    my ideas have not changed - they aren't any different now. you keep saying they are - they aren't. it's what i've always thought - minimal longeing for large, growthy youngsters who may be harmed by it, care to not longe too long and not using longeing as a crutch, realizing the constant turning can cause problems, but as an effective training tool, educated use of equipment yes - but i have realized one thing - people who misuse sidereins and yell 'my horse is doing 4th level frame!' have a fundamental misunderstanding of what dressage is. that's the problem, not the side reins per se.

    and yes, actually, i STILL think they should work without side reins if they don't know how to use them correctly and don't have any instruction. a and i STILL think longeing is misused very often, and if the person is using it as a crutch they need to do something different. once people are taught how and when to use them and how to longe properly, yes, a great tool.
    Last edited by slc2; May. 17, 2008 at 12:42 PM.



  14. #14
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    Nov. 7, 2006
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    Denmark
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    I apologize is this has been up before... But can someone who knows how to use side reins to teach the horse to stretch please link to pictures of this. Or video, even better. I have never seen it done in a way I would want to emulate.

    What are the advantages of using the bit to set the horse's head and neck?

    Jules



  15. #15
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    Jul. 19, 2001
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    no, egon, you aren't really sincerely happy for me, you would never be sincerely happy about anything with me except if i were to lose a horse to an injury or illness, so you could browbeat me about it, and laugh about it and gloat over it, or if i were to get hurt, so you could write about how stupid i am, or if i were to make a really crappy score at a show, then you'd be sincerely happy, but not for me, but because it would give yiou something more to gloat over and say so many utterly clever things about .
    Sorry. I honestly did not realize that you were that crazy. I never would wish any of those things on ANYONE and I think you know that unless you are truly ill which perhaps is the case.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 6, 2007
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    San Diego
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    1,951

    Default

    i sat at quarter horse congress and watched someone canter a horse on a longe line for 2 friggin hours in one direction! was at a barn where people cantered horses on a longe line for 45 minutes, an hour, every friggin day, and then turned them around and longed them for 45min - 1 hr in the OTHER direction, i watched a lady at one barn longe a yearling - a friggin' YEARLING - for an hour each day in sidereins - she started when it was 9 months old! and i watched two horses break legs on the longe line because people were trying to tire them out and were whipping them to make them run around. and the horses were bored, and lame and tied up so they were off balance, and YEAH! guess what! i didn't like it.
    Please this has to be exaggeration. You watched TWO horses break their legs on the longe line?

    Come on now.



  17. #17
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    Jun. 6, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roan View Post
    Really? Connecting the back legs of the horse to his mouth -- so that he gets jabbed at every step -- is helping him find his balance and collection? And that is LESS restrictive than side reins? Ah, no.

    All you will do with that is teach him to tuck his head so that his mouth doesn't get hurt.

    Worse than side reins by FAR.

    My 2 cents
    Eileen

    You've obviously never seen how it actually works
    * <-- RR Certified Gold Star {) <-- RR Golden Croissant Award
    Training Tip of the Day: If you can’t beat your best competitor, buy his horse.
    NO! What was the question?



  18. #18
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    Dec. 19, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixerupper View Post
    You've obviously never seen how it actually works
    I haven't? Show me a video where the Pessoa is NOT pulling the mouth every time the horse strides or the horse is not tucking his head so that it doesn't get pulled on or the horse doesn't have it's head tied between the legs.

    Oh yah, I wanna put my horse in this contraption SO bad -- NOT!

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=KjioY5JypPw&feature=related

    At least she doesn't have the part on it that pulls the head to the ground.

    Good riding or training != gadgets!

    Eileen
    Mad Mare™ Studio
    Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
    http://MadMare.com



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roan View Post
    I haven't? Show me a video where the Pessoa is NOT pulling the mouth every time the horse strides or the horse is not tucking his head so that it doesn't get pulled on or the horse doesn't have it's head tied between the legs.

    Oh yah, I wanna put my horse in this contraption SO bad -- NOT!

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=KjioY5JypPw&feature=related

    At least she doesn't have the part on it that pulls the head to the ground.

    Good riding or training != gadgets!

    Eileen

    I guess you must be right ...that pony looks really distressed (and ps... there is no 'part' that pulls their head to the ground)
    * <-- RR Certified Gold Star {) <-- RR Golden Croissant Award
    Training Tip of the Day: If you can’t beat your best competitor, buy his horse.
    NO! What was the question?



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixerupper View Post
    I guess you must be right ...that pony looks really distressed (and ps... there is no 'part' that pulls their head to the ground)
    You need to look at more Pessoa videos, kiddo. Do a search on YouTube and you'll see tons of people with the system running between the front legs pulling the head down.

    As for that pony not looking stressed -- a lot of horses and ponies put up with crap and smile. So do people.

    You go ahead and use your gadgets. It's your dime and your time.

    IMO recommending something like that to someone who has a horse that refuses even bitless contact is not a wise thing to do.

    Eileen
    Mad Mare™ Studio
    Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
    http://MadMare.com



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