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Question about Vienna lunge reins

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  • Question about Vienna lunge reins


    I have done a search on the forum for this topic and am looking for some constructive help here.

    We have a horse we are trying to help with his back. he is a third level dressage horse and is obedient on the lunge. We have been using side reins with donuts and keep them properly adjusted so he can use himself and stretch.

    It has been suggested to us that we would be more classically correct if we used Vienna LUnge reins. I have purchased a pair form Dover (nice quality, BTW, I was pleased) but have heard some horror stories about horses freaking out with these.

    I do not crank things down. I take things slow and let a horse get used to things. I am just curious if people have anything to say about their experiences switching over to these reins, or not, or any thoughts in general.

    All kind, helpful replies greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    What's going on with the horse's back? Viennas encourage a downward stretch much better than donut reins -- for some horses -- but depending on the horse's issues, there are other things you can do as well.

    The Dover reins are fine as long as they're not used on a really BIG horse. When I borrowed a set of Dover Viennas to use on my gelding (16.1 hands), they were BARELY ling enough for him. If I'd had the option, I'd have used an extension on the girth part of the Viennas to make them longer and more comfortable.

    As with any side rein, tighten them gradually and watch the horse's reactions. Properly adjusted, the bottom halves of the Viennas should have a little play in them -- a soft loop between the bit rings and the girth. Not enough for the horse to put a leg through, though!

    In the past, I've made Vienna Rein extensions out of Western throatlatch leathers, baling twine loops and other random spare bits of tack. so if you think your Viennas are a bit too snug to start, there are lots of cheap ways to add a little length!


    • #3
      I used Vienna reins on my dressage horse when I first started him. I did it like you...slowly, a little at a time. He isn't one to dink around when working so I've never had an issue with feet getting tangled. If he's a dinker, you might want to consider lunging him *open* first until he gets his dinkiness out and then *close* up with the side reins.
      Ride like you mean it.


      • #4
        I've found horses to have less issues with vienna reins than with conventional sidereins. I've had a great deal of success with them, they allow horses to stretch down comfortably and in their own time.


        • #5
          Well, in my (not-so-long) experience, Vienna reins encourage stretching down, but still allow some freedom of movement from the horse's neck. They also allow for a great deal of adjustment, which allows to adjust the horse's movement according to its level of training.
          Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

          Originally posted by DottieHQ
          You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.


          • #6
            I don't know any classical masters that promote Vienna reins. Perhaps I just haven't encountered them?
            What are you NOT liking about the work in traditional side reins?
            chaque pas est fait ensemble


            • #7
              Originally posted by ThreeFigs View Post
              The Dover reins are fine as long as they're not used on a really BIG horse. When I borrowed a set of Dover Viennas to use on my gelding (16.1 hands), they were BARELY ling enough for him. If I'd had the option, I'd have used an extension on the girth part of the Viennas to make them longer and more comfortable.
              Yes, this is important. Also, I don't like the Dover Vienna reins as well as the Lauffer reins I got from Europe. However, they are also a little on the shorter side:


              • #8
                I have used both vienna reins and the donut side reins, at different times with different horses. They do encourage a horse to reach down. As with any other tool, time and experience using them improves (I'm hoping) their use.
                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                • #9
                  I have no clue whether Viennas are "classical" or not. However, I have found them to be useful for horses who

                  A) Have a hard time finding their balance in a "frame."


                  B) Hold a lot of tension along their topline.

                  If your horse is truly at 3rd level, however, then I doubt he has either of these problems. I think your time is better spent in the saddle.


                  • #10
                    The use of sliding side reins (vienna reins) were originally to set an even connection when the horse was highest/most open (in piaffe). The use of s.r. in general is to introduce even connection with light bending to a greener horse. NEITHER was intended to allow 'stretching' (which by definition is fdo) or greater opening of the throat latch.

                    A horse finds a 'connection' by meeting a steady connection, not by creating longitudinal flexion ('a frame'), lateral flexibility is what develops (slowly) longitudinal flexion. And horses will only properly fold all their hind leg joints if they take a proper hh. For the back to be properly involved (hindlegs folded/forehand raised/etc) the horse but be seeking the horse by chewing /opening the throat latch and carrying with their top line.

                    On a lunge (with sr..in trot only) the horse should take hh (on a caveson) and be laterally flexible/fold the hind leg/stay up and open and into the connection with a steady tempo and a light bend. Then remove them and let the horse seek fdo completely (w/o mouth pressure...hence the caveson) and swing over the back.

                    Leveraging the horse (with a closing throatlatch via gadgets) might 'frame the neck' (perhaps even artificially lift the chest),but the flexion will be at the third vertebrae and the hindlegs will go wider and only push the load.
                    I.D.E.A. yoda


                    • #11
                      Hmm, no one has sought out the USDF Instructor manual?

                      SLIDING SIDE REINS can be of invaluable help with horses that have conformational shortcomings and re-schooling projects that refuse to use the back correctly. Particularly if combined with ground poles they are an excellent device for
                      teaching the horse to work over the top line. Unlike standard side reins they do not tighten as the horse tries to change
                      the position of his head and neck. Because they are not fixed at the bit rings, sliding side reins encourage the horse to
                      stretch forward and down. (See appx: Development of the Top Line by Heike Bean and Sarah Blanchard.) There are two
                      versions on the market. One is Y-shaped and attaches at the girth between the front legs, then divides and draws through
                      the bit rings to the side of the girth or surcingle. The other version consists of two separate pieces which allows for a
                      variety of triangular methods of attaching them. This makes them suitable for a number of purposes including beginner
                      lessons and work-in-hand.
                      Personally I used them quite a bit this summer. I find sometimes horse tend to lean on donut side reins. Not really easy to lean on the sliding side reins.

                      You also see them a lot in Germany, kids riding horse that are bitted up in sliders.
                      Hopeful Farm Sport Horses
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                        The use of sliding side reins (vienna reins) were originally to set an even connection when the horse was highest/most open (in piaffe). .

                        Vienna and sliding side reins are different. Sliding side reins may be attached at the girth or on any of the surcingle rings, whereas viennas go down between the horses front legs and attach there. Viennas are good for horses who need a long, longitudinal stretch, i.e. the tight-backed high headed horse. For my horse, who likes to travel low and is plenty relaxed, the viennas throw him right on his forehand, while sliding sidereins encourage him to work in a more "up" position, since I can set them higher. The sliding side reins are more versatile, IMO, and both are better than the fixed kind.

                        The Klimkes like the sliding kind--they discuss them in their Training Young horses book.
                        2007 Welsh Cob C X TB GG Eragon
                        Our training journal.
                        1989-2008 French TB Shamus Fancy
                        I owned him for fifteen years, but he was his own horse.


                        • #13
                          They all have totally different intentions, but VR are not for longitudinal flexion. And is there such a thing as longitudinal stretch...aka which should be fdo.
                          I.D.E.A. yoda


                          • #14
                            I have both types (Vienna and Lauffer reins) and use both. Sometimes interchangeably, sometimes one of the other exclusively, depending on what the horse needs. STSF is right in that the Lauffers are more versatile.