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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2007
    Posts
    139

    Default Using The Neck Stretcher (Bungee Cord)

    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?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2010
    Location
    Alberta
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    3,507

    Default

    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.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 24, 2011
    Posts
    500

    Default

    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.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2008
    Location
    north of the Arctic Circle
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    Default

    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.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
    Posts
    6,704

    Default

    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.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2009
    Posts
    625

    Default

    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!



  7. #7

    Default

    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 !



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2010
    Posts
    70

    Default

    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.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2006
    Posts
    8,508

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HollysHobbies View Post
    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.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 1999
    Posts
    1,992

    Default Beware

    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".
    \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2002
    Location
    Area VIII, Region 2, Zone 5.
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    6,534

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Those martingales were so taut, you could play Ode to Joy on them with a comb



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2005
    Posts
    1,139

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Not Native View Post
    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!
    Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.



  13. #13

    Default

    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!!!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    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.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2011
    Posts
    1,188

    Default

    "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.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2001
    Location
    Pennsylvania,Zone ll
    Posts
    2,155

    Default janeamanda

    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.
    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov. 19, 2002
    Posts
    1,007

    Default

    "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.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

    Default

    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.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    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.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2001
    Location
    Pennsylvania,Zone ll
    Posts
    2,155

    Default Kahuha2

    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.
    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt



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