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Side reins or no?

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  • Side reins or no?

    If you had a young horse who got a bit hot at shows, and you wanted to longe her before riding, would you chose to longe in side reins or without?

  • #2
    Definitely with. I would never lunge without sr. My purpose for lungeing is for horse to work and to get horse obedient warmed up and: By getting poll lowered encouraging stretching down horse will use and soften back and be more focused as result. I like sliding side reins so horse can stretch down and out.


    • #3
      Well, JMO, but I don't like to depend on the longe to quiet a horse, but that's just me. I mean, how long would you have to longe to wear her out? Second, I find that side reins tempt you to use them for ill (to put a horse into a shape that he is not ready for) so I don't use them either.

      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


      • #4
        I'd go with properly adjusted side reins. I agree that the horse needs something to stretch into. This is not about wearing a horse out, but about getting its attention and putting it in a working frame of mind.
        Proud COTH lurker since 2001.


        • #5
          If the horse is already working comfortably in side reins at home, I wouldn't hesitate to use them at the showgrounds.
          Patience pays.


          • #6
            Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
            Well, JMO, but I don't like to depend on the longe to quiet a horse, but that's just me. I mean, how long would you have to longe to wear her out? Second, I find that side reins tempt you to use them for ill (to put a horse into a shape that he is not ready for) so I don't use them either.

            Well, wearing horse out and putting horse in shape not ready for are not typical goals in lungeing a dressage horse. Sounds like other disciplines. Safety is key. My side reins never temp or persuade me to use them is some weird way! :-)

            You might find this useful. Clarifying why we lunge dressage horses. From the USDF Lungeing Manual (given out at the USDF Instructor Certification Workshops):

            I. Classical Theory for Lungeing the Horse
            A. Intro
            When lungeing the horse, just as when riding, the criteria of the Pyramid of Training must be the guidelines for all work. Mastery of lungeing will enhance the work under saddle, but cannot replace it. On the other hand, bad lungeing because of lack of knowledge or through negligence, can ruin a horse as easily as bad riding.

            B. Training Pyramid diagram

            C. Reasons for lungeing horses

            1. Training young horses
            (Familiarization phase, acceptance of tack and aids, confidence building, improving relaxation and balance, preparation for mounting)

            2. Supplementing the training program
            (As a warmup for horses which are too fresh, cold backed, cinchy, tight in the back or in the loins, not coming through the withers, or generally take a long time to loosen up, improve relaxation, regularity, impulsion, obedience, especially in transitions)

            3. Improving conformational shortcomings
            (ewe neck, strong muscle in under neck, no muscle in front of withers, weak in back, loins, quarters, etc. Improving the top line. Useful: sliding side reins, work over ground poles and cavaletti).

            4. Retraining problem horses or horses from other disciplines
            (reschooling horses from other disciplines (off track, ex jumpers, etc). Improving top line, connection, restoring confidence in the bit with horses that have been ridden with too much hand, improving impulsion, etc. Useful: sliding side reins, work over poles and cavaletti.

            5. Excercising horses that cannont be ridden.
            (after layup or injury, sore back etc, owner or trainer not able to ride, conditioning).

            6. Preparation for work in hand
            (half steps, piaffe, passage, long reining).

            D. Desired Results of Lungeing
            1. Improves communication between trainer and horse, teaches obedience.
            2. Improves condition of horse.
            3. Improves development of the top line.
            4. Improves balance, resulting in better quality gaits.
            5. Improves lateral and longitudinal suppleness.


            • #7
              I think it depends on the horse, but a definite yes to side reins if longeing at all.

              My horse is a freak at shows, and longeing is a bit of a rodeo with him, to my frustration. He knows he's not allowed to rear and buck on the longe, but he gets so wound up he does anyway. Even with side reins. The side reins help him remember he's supposed to be working, not playing - and he more quickly comes mentally back in my direction. There is no tiring my horse out, so longeing him is in no way meant to do that! Without the side reins and encouragement to stretch, all he would do is get more fired up.
              Originally posted by Silverbridge
              If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.


              • #8
                Apologies. I saw the words "young horse" and leaped to the conclusion that the horse had neither the balance nor the musculature for self carriage and just went from there.

                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                • Original Poster

                  Let me explain further... I do not want to "wear her out". She has not been away much, as she is young. When we do go away, she gets a bit excited, looky, and inattentive, at the start of the ride. She is young, and I am not young. I would like to use the longeing to let her get over that part in the early work, without me being on her back. She is good on the longe at home. I did longe her at a clinic when she was very excited at the start. After a few rounds on the longe, where indeed, she played and blew off some steam, she was ready to work. That time, I was without the side reins, but it still worked well.

                  Reviewing the USDF longeing information above, we fall into C #2, suppelmenting the training program.

                  Side reins this weekend then.


                  • #10
                    Isn't it a rule that if you longe at a USEF/USDF dressage show you are required to use sidereins (or at least that is what I remember from a few years back)?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hca86 View Post
                      Isn't it a rule that if you longe at a USEF/USDF dressage show you are required to use sidereins (or at least that is what I remember from a few years back)?
                      Nope. At least, if so the very attentive TDs at the shows I've been to failed to call people on longeing without.
                      Originally posted by Silverbridge
                      If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.


                      • #12
                        IMHO - it depends on what you mean by "hot". If the young horse is simply needing to blow off some steam but won't really blow a gasket and is used to and works well w/ the side reins, then yes, I'd use them. I, however, rarely lunge because it just winds my hot horse up... it is better to simply climb on and focus him on me. But I do put them on if I do decide to lunge at a show.

                        However, if the young horse is really on the verge of losing it's mind BUT you need to work it so it can get its mind back in its head, I'd try having a lunge line going from bit to stirrup to hand to give you flexion to the middle, more control and yet can readily give the horse some room should the horse stand up. I personally have never used the technique I just described but I saw a experienced horse person use it to get a horse forward (trying to run backwards and/or rear) and its brain back in its head. The horse had previously stood up in side reins and it looked extremely dangerous.... So the person took them off and used the lunge line in the manner described. It worked. But... a very experienced person...

                        Sorry - just saw your further description... I'd use side reins if I were you.


                        • #13
                          If the horse is used to side reins, then yes I would definitely lunge with them on. My DWB used to get totally fired up and distracted if lunged without them. My goal is not to wear the horse out by any means as another poster suggested. Remember that dressage peeps like their horses to have an engine! My goal is to supple and relax my horse which just does not happen on the lunge without the side reins. (However I do only use the ones that are half leather and half surgical tubing so they have a ton of give in them and the contact is steadier.)


                          • #14
                            If the horse is hot and new to the experience what about asking the show manager if you can stable the night prior so you can walk on a long rein prior to the other horses arriving and so settle the horse prior to using the sidereins on the longe line to encourage stretching and not give the horse a greater opportunity to prepare to relax?


                            • #15
                              Wouldn't dream of it.

                              My young horse's show regimen is: get off trailer, remove horse clothes, go to a quiet place and lunge in halter only to let him stretch out after the trailer ride, get him relaxed and moving FORWARD and paying attention to voice commands.

                              Then walk him around and make him touch his nose to all the Scary Stuff, however long it may take (ISTR 4 hours at his first show! ).

                              Much better for the young horse in the long run than trying to cram it into a frame when it just got off the trailer.
                              "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                              • #16
                                ^ No one is suggested cramming anything into anything. Side reins can offer security through positive balance, guidance and focus to a young (or older) horse without being tight enough to even bring him onto the vertical. For some, being "free" in a halter on the end of a line invites distraction and imbalance.
                                Patience pays.


                                • #17
                                  Meh, my horse likes the routine of a quiet warm up at home in SR, or Vienna Reins, and so we do that at shows. Big Meh. A total of 7-8 minutes TOTAL...largely in transitions between walk/gait/walk/walk/canter/walk/canter...etc....just like playing the scales on a piano.

                                  Yall act like she's suggesting stuffing a horse into SR, getting on her cell phone, and longeing the horse for 4 hrs on a gravel parking lot.


                                  • #18
                                    Another dissenter here. I don't like side reins. What most people call "stretching" in side reins is actually breaking behind the poll and/ or ducking behind. If the horse truly tries to stretch side reins are a disaster waiting to happen.


                                    • #19
                                      Yall act like she's suggesting stuffing a horse into SR, getting on her cell phone, and longeing the horse for 4 hrs on a gravel parking lot.

                                      True true I kinda went there. You know what they say happens when you assume. I let my bias against side reins get the best of me.

                                      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                                      • #20
                                        after all these years, i am no longer a SR fan. but if i do chose to use them i make sure they are adjusted properly - for me long enough that the horse needs to reach for them a bit, and i only use leather with no elastic and no donuts as those go boink boink boink and really can be a bit much.

                                        i prefer to dbl lunge, because it gives me an outside rein. but i dont think that is allowed at shows.