Lauffer reins (the man who invented them) allow the horse more range of motion when lungeing. In particular, it allows a horse to change which muscles he is stretching or contracting while maintaining contact. I have found them to be invaluable when starting or restarting green horses. Often TB's or young horses don't understand or have the muscling to stay consistent on traditional side reins. The lauffer reins seem to allow them some variation in their position and I feel this seems to encourage them to keep the contact more consistently and build the correct muscle while keeping them straight. Like anything, it's all in how they get used. Anyone can use or misuse equipment, you just need to be sure you are lungeing correctly when you use any side rein. Pony Club put out a great lungeing guide by Susan Harris that is very correct and very clear if you want more information.
Thank you for your response. I have seen them used a number of ways so i am glad to hear more positive remarks about them...do you happen to have a link for the pony club lungeing? I will do some investigating to find it myself as well.
It's my understanding that vienna reins are good for high headed horses (friesians, saddlebreds, etc) and regular side reins with donuts good for horses with lower headsets and those who tend to come behind the bit.
I have Viennas, Lauffers AND doughnut side reins and have used all three, depending on what I felt the individual horse needed that particular day.
I especially appreciate Lauffers because there are infinite ways to apply them. High (top ends at the highest point of the lungeing surcingle), low -- bottom ends between the horse's front legs, the way Viennas go, and all points in between. Since there are two separate long straps, you have more options than with the Viennas "Y" shape.
Viennas are a tad easier to apply, since the center connection on the bottom can only go between the horse's front legs, and the two top straps can go where you need them. One problem I've found with Dover's Viennas -- they are not long enough for some big horses. I use a Western throatlatch strap (or in a pinch, a piece of baling twine!) to lengthen the bottom strap to suit.
I've found that most horses respond better to the adjustability of Lauffers and Viennas than they do to doughnut side reins. Like Flashwhitelock said.
I used viennas on a number of horses and really like them for the reasons mentioned above. I forget where I got them... it was like 9 yrs ago. I just sold them like 5 months ago too (too small for Rex).
Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!
What are the opinions on letting the horse canter in vienna or lauffer reins on the lunge, more acceptable than in side reins?
I know it's not recommended to canter (or walk) in regular side reins as it doesn't allow for the natural headbob, but would love to hear if you canter your horse in lauffer or vienna reins?
I have them all, lauffer, vienna, bungee stretch cord, doughnut side reins, as well as chambon & de gogue.
Out of them all my horses seem to like the lauffer reins the best followed by the vienna reins.
With the vienna rein ime if the horse isn't forward enough it can easily tip them on the forehand as it really encourages them to keep the head low.
Personally I do not care for them on most horses, the horse can only stay in a closed throat latch posture at most levels (esp when lower). Certainly the handler can do an arret, get them more up/open, but few do. In piaffe, I can make a case for them because the handler can easily keep the horse up, but even there, there are easier ways. But if you want the horse to learn to keep a closed postured at all levels, they tend to 'work'.
Neither Viennas nor Lauffers put a horse in a "closed" posture unless you adjust them that way. Same with donut side reins.
Any device can be harmful if not properly set.
Good to know about other sources for Vienna reins. I had to order my Lauffers from Germany. I've made poor man's Lauffers from Western split reins, but they were never as easy to use, as I put Conway buckles on them. Very clumsy!
Only if the horse is up/open does any lungeing device allow a proper connection. And laughers do allow more upright levelS of conniption. If the horse is 'stretching' correctly (commonly known as fdo into connection), any side rein will continue to exert pressure, so the horse is still closed in the throat latch throughout.
Lungeing devices are NOT meant for stretching, they are meant to offer a steady connection onto a bit. If one wants stretching, then lunge with a caveson, and let the horse drape over its bodes with a steady tempo until the horse does go fdo with a relaxed back (which many times comes better AFTER working upright and into a steady connection as well....) Hence s.r./etc are first attached to a caveson, later to a bit. If the horse closes or lowers, then hh like vibrations request the horse stay up/open (or one can do what Thedoresceau did...have an over check).
That said, many people desire to create a precipitously closed/vertical posture before mounting. But then how is a hh ever to work?
IF one wants to have a connection, and then allow fdo/stretching, this is better done long lining, or with progressive in hand work.