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  1. #1
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    Default Jumping in Draw Reins

    I am constantly surprised by things I see in the horse world. COTH-ers, tell me if this is common.

    I went to try a horse today with a semi-BNT. Grooms tacked up the horse, with draw reins, and sent me to the ring to meet the trainer. I get on, walk around (as instructed by someone riding in the ring) and wait. Trainer comes and I try the horse. Nice guy, a little hard to understand (I can have a hard time hearing and he mumbled and had a fairly thick accent) but the horse was nice and he was very knowledgable.

    We start jumping. Draw reins stay on. We pop over some 3'9'' verticals, draw reins stay on.

    Now let me say that I am a young ammy. I've ridden in draw reins maybe ten times my entire life. I am not that comfortable with them. On a horse I know and where I'm using them for a specific purpose I'm fine. But this was a strange horse, ring, trainer, etc.

    I kept them fairly loose rather than crank her head down, but her head was very curled/behind the vertical and she was super behind the bit. I was very nervous about jumping in them (horse had no breastplate or martingale at all, they were not run through anything) so I made sure to keep them with no slack by her legs. I was very tempted to ask to ride without them, but honestly the trainer was pretty intimidating. Nice, honest guy, good trainer, but intimidating.

    How common is it to put horses in draw reins for trials? I tried four horses this weekend alone, and numerous others in the past and have never encountered it before.

    (Also, keep in mind I had never met this trainer before and he did not know anything about my background except that I was looking for a horse for a 3'9'' clinic. I know other riders at my level that have never ridden in draw reins!)



  2. #2
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    For a trial, a horse should be in its show tack. I don't know any trainers who would show you a horse in schooling tack; it's unprofessional.
    But you mention a clinic, and it sounds like you took a lesson on the horse rather than taking your own trainer and actually trying it? If you were not trying the horse with the intention of buying or leasing it; I can see the groom and trainer putting the horse in what it usually schools in.
    It wouldn't occur to me that someone who was capable of showing at 3'9" wouldn't have some experience in jumping in draw reins. Like you, when they're run just to the belly I'm very aware of them and of any slack, and I don't use them that way on my own horses when jumping just for personal preference. I've done so with other people's horses though, and would never ask a trainer to change the tack on a horse I was riding, unless it was a trial for purchase.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBoylen View Post
    For a trial, a horse should be in its show tack. I don't know any trainers who would show you a horse in schooling tack; it's unprofessional.
    But you mention a clinic, and it sounds like you took a lesson on the horse rather than taking your own trainer and actually trying it? If you were not trying the horse with the intention of buying or leasing it; I can see the groom and trainer putting the horse in what it usually schools in.
    It wouldn't occur to me that someone who was capable of showing at 3'9" wouldn't have some experience in jumping in draw reins. Like you, when they're run just to the belly I'm very aware of them and of any slack, and I don't use them that way on my own horses when jumping just for personal preference. I've done so with other people's horses though, and would never ask a trainer to change the tack on a horse I was riding, unless it was a trial for purchase.
    I was trying it for a lease, even as a junior I would find my own mounts and try them on my own.

    Also, I have friends with a BNT who *loathes* draw reins and will not allow their use, hence them never having ridden in them.



  4. #4
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    Hard to tell then. It might be that that's the horse's home tack, and the trainer's personal way of doing things (foreign?). Or you unfortunately may have gotten a sort of lesson/trial hybrid without the usual presentation since you came alone, or since you were looking for a lease, or simply because the groom misunderstood the purpose of the ride.
    If you are comfortable trying horses on your own you need to become more comfortable in speaking up when you want to do something different, so that you can get a proper trial and make an informed decision on your lease/purchase.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBoylen View Post
    If you are comfortable trying horses on your own you need to become more comfortable in speaking up when you want to do something different, so that you can get a proper trial and make an informed decision on your lease/purchase.
    Yea makes sense...I'm pretty vocal usually during a trial but this really through me off. Thanks for the input!



  6. #6
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    I would not want to try a horse in draw reins and would have asked to take them off. Personally I do not jump in draw reins, I know some trainers do, but I do not.



  7. #7
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    I too would have asked "what" is the reason the horse is in draw reins? What would this horse do bad if the draw reins were removed??? Expecially if you were thinking of taking on the lease... I would want to know as much as possible. And if they got snappy about it - I would pass on the lease.... That would be a huge red flag as far as I'm concerned and to tie myself to a lease - no thanks.

    And I do not feel comfortable jumping in draw reins.....
    Don't saw on your horses mouth it's not a piece of wood! ~ GM



  8. #8
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    I will say awhile ago I went to have a lesson and hack some horses. It was a pretty big nice show barn with riders going to indoors and stuff like that. Every single horse I was asked to ride went in the same tack, loose ring and draw reins. I am not a huge draw rein user unless using them to help correct something. Usually have used them a few rides on the flat then haven't needed them again for months. When it was time for my lesson, same setup. I had NEVER jumped in draw reins, only flatted. We weren't doing anything big, all under 3', but I don't know if I wasn't releasing them enough (fear of horse hooking a hoof in them) but things were not going well. The girl who was helping me finally said we could take them off (actually saying the horse doesn't really need them, but BNT has all horses go in them) and wow took them off and had a GREAT time jumping.

    I do not really have a problem with people who use them, but I think that they are over used quite a bit. I know someone who uses them on a horse that has no problem dropping down and rounding up, but feels they need them. Only a few horses I have ridden ever felt like they really needed them, ones with very locked jaws and very stiff through the jaw and neck. Other people have used them to help with head movement (throwing head around) but I usually have been able to work through that without them. Again I don't feel like I need them often, but there are people who feel like they do. As long as one isn't cranking the head around in them then I try not to let it bother me



  9. #9
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    I've never seen or myself tried a horse in draw reins, and frankly, I believe it's quite dangerous to use them while jumping. I've always thought of draw reins as a training aid, but not something to try a horse in. I've always tried horses in what they are ridden in at shows.



  10. #10
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    Ive seen a LOT of horses trained and schooled obsessively in draw reins to train them in order to PACK really bad amatures around. Dont get me wrong not all amatures are bad riders but there is definetly a market for horses that jump ANYTHING with the riders that use NO RELEASE because the rider has NO BALANCE and NO LOWER LEG and literally just holds on , prays to god to get the distance right, can not count strides and uses a short release over every jump. Sounds like the horse you are describing is trained for just such a kind of rider. These horse usually bring lots of money (starting at 20k and quickly rising).



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RougeEmpire View Post
    Ive seen a LOT of horses trained and schooled obsessively in draw reins to train them in order to PACK really bad amatures around. Dont get me wrong not all amatures are bad riders but there is definetly a market for horses that jump ANYTHING with the riders that use NO RELEASE because the rider has NO BALANCE and NO LOWER LEG and literally just holds on , prays to god to get the distance right, can not count strides and uses a short release over every jump. Sounds like the horse you are describing is trained for just such a kind of rider. These horse usually bring lots of money (starting at 20k and quickly rising).
    I always thought I was a "decent" rider until I watched a video.. boy do I need to work on my hands. I didn't realize I was "that" bad... lol. I now get nuts when my horse doesn't accept my hand to the fence and ducks behind the contact. I think some of that was draw rein related and a sensitive mouthed horse. I have been working on my hands and using a rubber bit...

    But you DO totally have a point here...... I think A LOT of horses are trained for ammies or young riders since they are a BIG part of this industry.
    Don't saw on your horses mouth it's not a piece of wood! ~ GM



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RougeEmpire View Post
    Ive seen a LOT of horses trained and schooled obsessively in draw reins to train them in order to PACK really bad amatures around. Dont get me wrong not all amatures are bad riders but there is definetly a market for horses that jump ANYTHING with the riders that use NO RELEASE because the rider has NO BALANCE and NO LOWER LEG and literally just holds on , prays to god to get the distance right, can not count strides and uses a short release over every jump. Sounds like the horse you are describing is trained for just such a kind of rider. These horse usually bring lots of money (starting at 20k and quickly rising).
    I think there is a market for horses that pack riders around in general, regardless of junior vs. amateur. Honestly I'm not even sure if the trainer new I was an ammy (I'm fresh out of juniors, look younger, and sometimes forget myself that I'm not a junior!)

    Now I want to give credit where credit is due...we had some really nice spots and while I have my faults I do make a point of giving an appropriate release. I do have a looser lower leg and I was getting jumped out of the tack quite a bit over the bigger fences. The trainer was honest and said I don't think this is the horse for you, which I completely agreed with.

    The horse was also a jumper...and very clearly one. Beautiful and talented mare but not really suitable for any other ring.

    So while I agree that many trainers crank a horses head down and try to get them passable for even the most incompetent rider, I'm hesitant to say thats the case here. The trainer was honest that this wasn't the horse for me and gave me some really good advice about my riding.



  13. #13
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    CBoylan:

    Can you explain why draw reins would be used over fences. What is trying to be accomplished by using them o/f. I don't understand the intent or the reason behind using them. Thanks



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rel6 View Post
    I think there is a market for horses that pack riders around in general, regardless of junior vs. amateur. Honestly I'm not even sure if the trainer new I was an ammy (I'm fresh out of juniors, look younger, and sometimes forget myself that I'm not a junior!)

    Now I want to give credit where credit is due...we had some really nice spots and while I have my faults I do make a point of giving an appropriate release. I do have a looser lower leg and I was getting jumped out of the tack quite a bit over the bigger fences. The trainer was honest and said I don't think this is the horse for you, which I completely agreed with.

    The horse was also a jumper...and very clearly one. Beautiful and talented mare but not really suitable for any other ring.

    So while I agree that many trainers crank a horses head down and try to get them passable for even the most incompetent rider, I'm hesitant to say thats the case here. The trainer was honest that this wasn't the horse for me and gave me some really good advice about my riding.

    I hope you know I was never implying you were the type of ammie in need of a saftey horse. lol....

    I actually thought you sounded like an experience rider.... Sorry the lease didn't work out.... hope you find something that works out...
    Don't saw on your horses mouth it's not a piece of wood! ~ GM



  15. #15
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    I must not get out enough. I haven't seen this, and I may be majorly misunderstanding. But the idea of tying a horse's BIT to something (I'm not talking martingale here) more or less immovable while asking him to jump just freaks me right out. I come from the old, old school that says - and you were taught to take it as gospel - "a horse needs the freedom of his neck and head to balance himself over a jump." And the cardinal sin of riding was to get left behind and catch your horse in the mouth. Never, ever punish your horse's mouth - some situation will always happen when he has to make some extra effort with his head and you must GO with that - or you will ruin a good horse for jumping. How can draw reins accommodate that?? What I'm hearing is they CAN'T, and that gets the horse used to suffering under bad riding. I am too old for this brave new world.



  16. #16
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    Reported leodown2!



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaluha2 View Post
    CBoylan:

    Can you explain why draw reins would be used over fences. What is trying to be accomplished by using them o/f. I don't understand the intent or the reason behind using them. Thanks
    Well, CBoylan's mileage may vary but when my horse was first learning to jump there were three schools where he did the first few jumps in draw reins and then finished the school without.

    That was primarily to help him with STRAIGHTNESS.
    He had had maybe 7 or 8 jump schools under his belt when this video was taken; the video is put together clips from three rides.

    After those three rides he hasn't worn them since.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by doublesstable View Post
    I hope you know I was never implying you were the type of ammie in need of a saftey horse. lol....

    I actually thought you sounded like an experience rider.... Sorry the lease didn't work out.... hope you find something that works out...
    Oh no I didn't get that at all! I was more trying to defend the trainer since he really did seem to want to find an appropriate rider for the horse and was quite honest about it not being the horse for me.

    And thank you, I did actually find something! A very cool gelding that I'm excited about



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rel6 View Post
    I kept them fairly loose...but her head was very curled/behind the vertical and she was super behind the bit. I was very nervous about jumping in them (horse had no breastplate or martingale at all, they were not run through anything).

    How common is it to put horses in draw reins for trials?
    NOT. If anything, a trainer might put them on and jump the horse around BEFORE a buyer/leassor showed up so it went better for the trial. Having them out there like this begs the question what is so wrong with it you need them in a sales trial.

    But, yikes, I am not anti draw rein at all but why in heck were they on a horse already behind the bit (and leg 99% of the time) for a rider of unknown ability????

    Imagine there may have been a miscommunication somewhere along the way there. But as CBoylen mentioned, NEVER be afraid to speak up if you are not comfortable or want to question something. The responsibilty to stay safe is ultimately in your hands, regardless of what any trainer trying to sell or lease you a horse tells you.

    Never feel intimidated if you seriously question a piece of tack or any excercise on a strange horse.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBoylen View Post
    may have gotten a sort of lesson/trial hybrid without the usual presentation since you came alone, or since you were looking for a lease, or simply because the groom misunderstood the purpose of the ride.
    It could very well be this. When I'm told "someone is coming to try X" (and i have more than 5 minutes to think about this ), they get show ready....trimmed whiskers, nice saddle pad, the tack they normally jump in. However, sometimes what I get told is not as clear. Like "I'm going to get on X now [and then while I'm out there an interested party is going to end up watching me and we will go over some jumps]". Or "We are going on a trail ride [but on it will stop at our friend's ring and jump around]". So when they get back to the barn and I realize this, I often think "sorry would have sent you with the right bit if I had known", or "Eeek sorry about the butt ugly saddle pad and boots".

    Beyond that, it's hard for us to say whether you jumped in them because they were already there, and the trainer thought nothing of it, or because he actively wanted them there. That's where it is up to you to ask. I know it can be intimidating, but I don't think it's out of line. It's not a big inconvenience to change, and you don't have to be argumentative (even if you were one of those people who vehemently hate draws) - just ask "can I do a few jumps without the draw reins? I just want to get a feel since I won't be able to use them at the clinic/show"



    As to the purpose, definitely not an expert here, but when my rider has used draw reins for jumping, it is nothing to do with over the jump, but rather what happens before and after it...and like meupatdoes, generally lateral issues.



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