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Neck stretcher

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  • Neck stretcher

    Anyone use one? Useful training tool? Gadget? Tell me what YOU think . . .

    http://www.doversaddlery.com/product...cd2=1282233399
    http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

    "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

  • #2
    When I bought my first horse, ages ago, as an adult re-rider, she "came with" a neck stretcher which my trainer required me to use. After I'd eventually moved to another barn and started thinking for myself, I decided to stop using it. Thus I discovered how bad my riding was! But the great advantage was that because dear mare would stick her nose in the air in protest whenever I hung on her mouth, I got some feedback! And was able to fix my riding. I never used it again. So one disadvantage is that it can muffle the communication from the horse, who might be sticking her head up because the rider is hanging on the bit, catching their balance on the reins, or has an unstable seat, or isn't using enough leg, etc etc.

    Comment


    • #3
      I've used it with some success, but not under saddle. I generally only used it while lunging, as I found the OTTB did well with learning to seek the contact with it. Plus, if the horse loses it balance, trips, it CAN move it's head with the elastic. I personally don't like the picture Dover uses, as I wouldn't put it on as tight as they have it (horse's nose it behind the vertical in order to have slack).

      Essentially, I feel the same about the neck stretcher as I do about all our equipment...used properly, it can be a valuable training tool. In the wrong hands, it can be counter productive (or a crutch as mentioned by post above), but that is true with all the gear we put on our horses!
      When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by twofatponies View Post
        When I bought my first horse, ages ago, as an adult re-rider, she "came with" a neck stretcher which my trainer required me to use. After I'd eventually moved to another barn and started thinking for myself, I decided to stop using it. Thus I discovered how bad my riding was! But the great advantage was that because dear mare would stick her nose in the air in protest whenever I hung on her mouth, I got some feedback! And was able to fix my riding. I never used it again. So one disadvantage is that it can muffle the communication from the horse, who might be sticking her head up because the rider is hanging on the bit, catching their balance on the reins, or has an unstable seat, or isn't using enough leg, etc etc.
        Very interesting - thanks for sharing.
        http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

        "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
          Plus, if the horse loses it balance, trips, it CAN move it's head with the elastic.
          This is what I like about it too - I think it would be a better option for my gelding.


          Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
          Essentially, I feel the same about the neck stretcher as I do about all our equipment...used properly, it can be a valuable training tool. In the wrong hands, it can be counter productive (or a crutch as mentioned by post above), but that is true with all the gear we put on our horses!
          Totally agree!
          http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

          "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

          Comment


          • #6
            I greatly dislike them.

            1) Thin cord over spine. Not something I think is wise.
            2) The pressure is much like a gag. Brings the bit up and back into the teeth. If horsie goes to stretch its head out, it pulls up on the mouth and down on the poll...conflicting pressure that causes the horse to retract/contract from the pressure...not stretch.
            3) Riders rarely adjust them while riding/lunging...so how do you let the horse adjust itself longitudinally as you lengthen/shorten? Not many people take the time to even let the horse warm up with it off/loose...forcing cold muscles to work in that manner is not good for the horse.
            4) Rider cannot give and take as needed. Encourages riders to ride front to back.
            5) The neck stretcher in action kind of holds the bit...so the rider will not be able to "feel" the mouth in the same way.
            6) The type of pressure exerted by the neck stretcher encourages the horse to break at the 3rd vertebra. A very hard fault to correct.
            7) As the pressure is more on the poll than the bit, the device does not transfer over to ridden work very well as the pressure is very different.

            Heck, I hate it enough to have written about it:

            http://www.compassionatehorsetrainin...Stretcher.html
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by CHT View Post
              I greatly dislike them.

              1) Thin cord over spine. Not something I think is wise.
              2) The pressure is much like a gag. Brings the bit up and back into the teeth. If horsie goes to stretch its head out, it pulls up on the mouth and down on the poll...conflicting pressure that causes the horse to retract/contract from the pressure...not stretch.
              3) Riders rarely adjust them while riding/lunging...so how do you let the horse adjust itself longitudinally as you lengthen/shorten? Not many people take the time to even let the horse warm up with it off/loose...forcing cold muscles to work in that manner is not good for the horse.
              4) Rider cannot give and take as needed. Encourages riders to ride front to back.
              5) The neck stretcher in action kind of holds the bit...so the rider will not be able to "feel" the mouth in the same way.
              6) The type of pressure exerted by the neck stretcher encourages the horse to break at the 3rd vertebra. A very hard fault to correct.
              7) As the pressure is more on the poll than the bit, the device does not transfer over to ridden work very well as the pressure is very different.

              Heck, I hate it enough to have written about it:

              http://www.compassionatehorsetrainin...Stretcher.html
              You make some very valid points - thank you. Lots of things to think about.
              http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

              "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

              Comment


              • #8
                id rather see a nice set of draw reins rather than the stretcher (i know i know) but I have seen the draws used in success with a horse that is very stiff.

                Im not a fan of either, and they are doubled with regular reins so as to be innefective once a high headed pony is ready to listen more than a few stries. A couple of trainers here are strarting to use the draws off and on on arab and tbs to help stretch so I wont completely disregard them anymore.
                ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                  id rather see a nice set of draw reins rather than the stretcher (i know i know) but I have seen the draws used in success with a horse that is very stiff.

                  Im not a fan of either, and they are doubled with regular reins so as to be innefective once a high headed pony is ready to listen more than a few stries. A couple of trainers here are strarting to use the draws off and on on arab and tbs to help stretch so I wont completely disregard them anymore.
                  My trainer uses draw reins very effectively - always doubled with regular reins and only when needed. She has great success with them. I used them once with my gelding and was pretty pleased with how nicely he worked in them.
                  http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                  "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My favorite lunging accessory is a Vienna Rein (http://www.dressageextensions.com/Pr...l.asp?KEY=2238). I've had great success with it, stays out of the way until/unless the horse hollows. I also like that it can be adjusted independently on each side.
                    When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
                      My favorite lunging accessory is a Vienna Rein (http://www.dressageextensions.com/Pr...l.asp?KEY=2238). I've had great success with it, stays out of the way until/unless the horse hollows. I also like that it can be adjusted independently on each side.
                      I have seen these in catalogs but not in use. I would be more comfortable using them rather than side reins. Side reins scare me (saw the outcome of a horrific accident involving side reins).

                      Thanks for the input.
                      http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                      "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "encourgages horse to round its back"

                        Right...

                        I have used those vienna reins before. I do like them to an extent. I agree they have some benefit over side reins in that they make some allowance for the horse to lift or drop its head, but if used incorrectly they can really encourage the horse to curl under and behind the bridle.

                        I think they can help teach the horse about bit pressure, but I do not think they can teach the horse to "round its back" as they horse will take the easy way out and just curl its neck before it decides to work/build new muscles and round its back.

                        The main thing I don't like about them is that they have no early warning system. Sidereins and the neck stretcher at least have some give, so the horse has some lighter pressure before the full pressure. With the non-stretch lunging draw reins the horse can really be suprised by them, and you have to be very careful that they understand to give to that sudden pressure rather than fight it.

                        There is a reason the dressage masters of days gone by came up with things like voltes, shoulder in, travers and such...it wasn't to be fancy, it was because those are the things that really teach the horse to be round and to use its back...not gadgets.
                        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CHT View Post
                          The main thing I don't like about them is that they have no early warning system. Sidereins and the neck stretcher at least have some give, so the horse has some lighter pressure before the full pressure. With the non-stretch lunging draw reins the horse can really be suprised by them, and you have to be very careful that they understand to give to that sudden pressure rather than fight it.
                          Good point! The way I improved that aspect of them is this - I attach them to a bungee loop on either side. I just buy those resistance bands (http://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Firm-F...th-DVD/5184571) and cut them and tie them into loops. I have snaps on the reins (so they attach like side reins) and snap them to the loops. That way if they bump them it's not a hard stop. And leather does have some give in them. And I would never attach them tight enough that they had to curl behind the bit to get away from pressure, especially on a horse who is not ridden over the back or on contact.

                          I also want to add, that I am not saying that this will teach your horse to go over his back and you should not ride your horse. But it can be a useful tool if you need it.
                          When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That is a great idea with the bungee!

                            It wasn't your post I was commenting on...it was the ad for the Vienna Reins...Gadget ads and bits ads really make it sound like they will fix any training issue no skill required!
                            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I used the neck stretcher for a short time with my OTTB. I think it was okay on the lunge but that was it. It eventually was a way for me to stop my stirruos froim banging around when I long lined my horse. It worked well for that! At least it is not a very expensive piece of equipment..
                              Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                              Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                              "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                why not just lunge the horse properly so it learn to seek the bit fdo? or, teach the horse the meaning of the bit in hand or dbl lunging.

                                the problem with fixed gadgets is there is no release.

                                the problem with draw reins is that it teaches the horse to evade the bit and there are better ways to teach the horse the correct responses.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  i've found that for ammies whose horses need a little bit of help while lunging, but who aren't necessarily comfortable adjusting sidereins correctly by themselves yet (for the reason stated above), that the neck stretcher has been helpful. as with any other tool, used correctly and judiciously, it can be helpful.
                                  Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch
                                  www.DifferentTimesEquestrianVentures.com

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by mbm View Post
                                    why not just lunge the horse properly so it learn to seek the bit fdo? or, teach the horse the meaning of the bit in hand or dbl lunging.

                                    the problem with fixed gadgets is there is no release.

                                    the problem with draw reins is that it teaches the horse to evade the bit and there are better ways to teach the horse the correct responses.

                                    I do lunge him and I also long line him. We are making pretty steady progress. I was just curious as to whether this would be another tool, to have in the tool box, or not.
                                    http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                                    "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Timex View Post
                                      i've found that for ammies whose horses need a little bit of help while lunging, but who aren't necessarily comfortable adjusting sidereins correctly by themselves yet (for the reason stated above), that the neck stretcher has been helpful. as with any other tool, used correctly and judiciously, it can be helpful.
                                      v

                                      Thank you! Just want to make sure I do right by my boy
                                      http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                                      "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Sometimes, for us mere humans, a little hardware is helpful based on the past history of the horse and/or human or combination thereof.

                                        Sometimes what is 'proper' and 'book learned' does not work in a given situation.

                                        Been there, done that. Horse was better for it. Haven't used it since. But I still have that in my collection of things to try. In the case of this particular horse, the fact that the 'neck stretcher' releases pressure when the head goes forward and down was the thing that helped the is horse the most. This horse finally learned it was ok to SEEK the contact rather than grab and run with all its might.

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