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When is it okay to use draw reins?

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  • #41
    Meh. I tossed/sold mine long ago. I knew how to use them properly, but felt that if I couldn't achieve a connection/frame/carriage - whatever you want to call it - without them, then it wasn't happening, so back to basics. That being said, I can cite two instances of draw-rein use that I feel were "okay:"

    1) I had a 16.3. h.h. Appaloosa eventer. He was nine when I got him, complete with Appytude, a lot of jumping talent, and a distaste for dressage. I never used the draw-reins to achieve "better dressage." I did use them on occasion to let him know that he could NOT cart me around at will. I rode him in a french link snaffle with reins on the snaffle and the draw reins, only using the draw-reins when he tried to take off. Rarely used them more than once every couple of months, just a reminder.

    2) The other case was a mature, though young, Arabian that had been trained using one of those training forks some Arab trainers (regular show circuit trainers) use that runs the reins through rings on the horse's shoulder - headup - hollow back cranking. The trainer trying to retrain him used the double rein snaffle/draw rein rig for a few months. There was no way that horse was going to reach into the bit/stretch down no matter how much you rode him forward and encouraged that posture. He automatically hollowed and put his head up. Careful use of the draw reins enabled him to figure out he COULD put his head down. After that, sympathetic forward riding brought his back up and he did quite nicely, sans drawreins.

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    • Original Poster

      #42
      Originally posted by 2tempe View Post
      THIS^^. Actually it sounds like your horse is coming along as one would expect from a large young horse. The increasing consistency will come.
      Thank you, 2tempe. I wondered whether we are "exactly where we are supposed to be." My trainer has us doing lots of transitions, bending, leg yields, etc, and he is a generally good boy.

      I ride anywhere from 2-5 horses 3-5 days a week, and do sole barn care for 21-26 horses 2-3 days a week. I'm pretty strong. This is the only horse I've ever come close to feeling over-horsed by, and I do think it's a size/physics thing. All the other greenbeans I've worked with are smaller, and I haven't found this same issue to crop up with them in quite the same way. Maybe because it's easier for me to help them balance with my core and with my seat than it is with this guy. I've never used DR or any other training aids with any of the other horses I've worked with thus far, but wondered whether there is a place for them on occasion.

      All the feedback has been fantastic--thank you so much!

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      • Original Poster

        #43
        Originally posted by littlecreek View Post
        I am a H/J person who has used draw reins maybe 2 times in 20 years. That saying, I wonder if trying your guy in a german/olympic (lines that go thru the bit rings and clip onto reins), set very loosely, and see if it helps. I think those devices are good as they are self rewarding, whe the head returns to where it should be the pressure is off, and set loosely might be there enough for backup if he gets silly. I think one ride isn't going to ruin him for dressage and it might give you a sense of a bit more control.
        Thank you. I actually picked up a used pair of these today to try on a pony for one of my H/J students with a green pony, but maybe I'll try my guy in them too. I actually don't like the action of draw reins, and wouldn't ride with them attached through the legs, but I think setting the German martingale very loosely might be something to try at least once.

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        • Original Poster

          #44
          Originally posted by ken View Post
          Need clarification - you say he is quite strong, but you are working on going forward? I'm interpretating this as he is leaning on your hands, especially when trying to find the balance in the canter - is this correct? If so, then draw reins are going to make it worse. You're going to end up with a heavier horse that is scrunched in the neck & not through in the back.

          Work on transitions between gaits. You can also incorporate circles. When he gets strong, transition down & re-balance. If the canter is too difficult under saddle - lunge him in a big area (not a little circle) in side reins. He needs to find his own balance - not from your hands & not by pulling his head down & in.

          Take your time & do it correct from the start. Going forward into contact is a really important step & not one you want to skip or shortcut. For a while, it is going to feel like you can't go 5 strides without a transition or circle & then in a few months you will realize that your horse is carrying himself
          Yes, we do a lot of these transitions! I physically can't carry him, so we work a lot on the self-carriage. And yes, we've done that transition/circle every 5 strides thing, and then had a eureka moment after a while. Sounds like we're doing everything just as we should be, and I need to stop watching the H/J riders with so much envy of their quick fixes :-)

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          • Original Poster

            #45
            Originally posted by JB View Post
            My interpretation was the horse was getting physically stronger from the work, as opposed getting strong and ignoring

            "He's become quite strong, which is a blessing and a curse, and I am tiny!"

            I don't think she'd say it was a blessing in any form if "strong" meant ignoring/leaning
            Yes, this! He's getting stronger and stronger from the work, which is wonderful, but it also means that when he tests by picking his lovely big head up and stubbornly refusing to go into the left rein, for instance, I can't simply push him over as easily as I used to be able to. Like any greenie, the stronger he gets from the work, the stronger he gets with his testing, too.

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            • Original Poster

              #46
              Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
              OP, just be patient with your horse.
              Keep at it until your 110lb seat and 110lb of leg can ride the horse with consistency and lightness. It may take a while. But if you make even just .5% progress every ride you'll have a whole new horse next year.
              Thank you! Will try my 110 lb best!!!!

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              • Original Poster

                #47
                Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                .

                I was riding a horse that was giant necked and would go around on a longer rein all day swinging and through and the trainer I had said, "He likes going like that. We have seen enough of that. He could do that all day. How about we do some dressage."

                It made an impression on me about my own idea of training and the flow.
                Hahaha, yes, my guy LOVES the long and low, and will do that all day long. It's the working into contact so I that one day I can start to shift his weight onto his hind end that is the complete bear of a training b*tch--I mean opportunity!

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                • Original Poster

                  #48
                  Originally posted by myrna View Post
                  I am "gasp" using draw reins that have elastic built into them on my new to me youngster (5 going on 6).my european coach wants me to ride in side reins,but i just can't do it.The draw reins are attached on the side,like side reins,and help with lateral stability.After 10 or 15 minutes i am only using the regular reins so am not dependant on the draw reins,plus i have ridden for more than 40 years.They will not be on him for long,just to make sure forward and straight are the only way to go.
                  This is what I'm hoping to achieve!

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                  • #49
                    I have not read all the replies to forgive me if this is redundant.

                    Draw reins should be used to reinforce the lateral aids.. They are a lateral tool and should be attached to the sides of the girth, never at the chest unless your goal is to crank your horses head in, and I dont think that is what you are asking about.

                    So the question you want to ask yourself is, am I having a hard time controlling this horse laterally *from the girth forward*? and if so, why? before you go to DR, you should focus very intently on what your horses response to your lateral aids is. Chances are when you refocus you may find your answer without the draw reins. IF you cannot move your horse off your leg, he is either ignoring you, doesnt understand the aid or is moving his feet too fast (note I did not say FORWARD) to move off your leg. If he is moving too fast, slow him down. If he doesnt understand, train him. If he is ignoring you, back your leg up with a spur or the whip tapping behind it. If it turns out he is being a big bully who pushes on your leg, pops his shoulder when you correct him and then bolts, get out the draw reins. Otherwise, the answer is going to back to the basics.

                    Personally I use draw reins when hacking out spooky horses in the company of my nine year old daughter on her Nanny pony. In the arena they are just another rein to deal with so I may as well wait for a curb rein, more fun
                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                    ---
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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                    • #50
                      Originally posted by aWp View Post
                      Yes, this! He's getting stronger and stronger from the work, which is wonderful, but it also means that when he tests by picking his lovely big head up and stubbornly refusing to go into the left rein, for instance, I can't simply push him over as easily as I used to be able to. Like any greenie, the stronger he gets from the work, the stronger he gets with his testing, too.
                      If you're brave enough, you might start another thread with video
                      Of course there are some things that you need to be on the horse to feel - does your trainer ride the horse? does he/she have the same issue?

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                      • Original Poster

                        #51
                        Originally posted by alto View Post
                        If you're brave enough, you might start another thread with video
                        Of course there are some things that you need to be on the horse to feel - does your trainer ride the horse? does he/she have the same issue?
                        Oh my god, that is really scary!!!! I'd rather ride my big, huge, strong greenie in a Parelli clinic than post a video on COTH!

                        However, in the interest of getting the help we need here is a couple of links that show the good, the bad, and the ugly. Please go easy on his rider. She is a recovering jumper rider, switching to dressage for the sake of the giant thigh blocks.... She knows about the problem with her feet being too far in the stirrups, and that her horse is not nearly forward enough, and that she really doesn't look too small for him, even if she feels that way....

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yNap...ature=youtu.be

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6ZlU...ature=youtu.be

                        Unfortunately, my trainer was in a horrible riding accident years ago, where she was nearly paralyzed, and hasn't ridden since. I've ridden with a couple of other dressage trainers, and this woman has them all beat HANDS DOWN when it comes to seeing and solving training issues as they arise. She is pleased as punch with where we are. But then again, she doesn't have to ride the big bean every day like I do

                        I had a Grand Prix dressage trainer out a couple of months ago, and he would not even walk forward for her without kicking out single every step. Her solution? To tell me my rubber reins were too thick, I needed to ride in a half-pad, that my horse clearly didn't know how to give to the bridle. Well, kept my reins and nixed her. I think that trainer was used to riding horses far more finished than mine is. I don't know of any other traveling dressage trainers/young horse riders in my area who will come to me. One of the hunter trainers at my barn is a lovely soft rider, and she has the same problems I do. Her fix would be draw reins and spurs. I thought spurs in dressage were only for lateral work, not forward momentum?

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                        • #52
                          videos are marked - "private" go away

                          OK I made up that last part

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                          • Original Poster

                            #53
                            Hahaha, alto, should be fixed now!

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                            • #54
                              I see nothing in that vid that shows a necessity for D.R. It is rather timing the aids, using figures (ie circles) to allow the horse to move into the outside rein/become connected. The only problematic bits are the rider dropping the hands and the horse going owww briefly.
                              I.D.E.A. yoda

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                              • #55
                                I usually don't post on these training threads but somehow I feel compelled. I feel draw reins would be very detrimental to this horse. He is resisting forward. Get him forward and in front of the leg and most of the other issues will correct themselves.
                                Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
                                friendship without envy or beauty without vanity?
                                Ode to the Horse. ~ Ronald Duncan

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                                • #56
                                  Sounds like you need work on your half halts - not draw reins. If the horse doesn't half halt, then HALT. Rinse, repeat.
                                  Boss Mare Eventing Blog
                                  https://www.youtube.com/user/jealoushe

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #57
                                    Originally posted by kelliope View Post
                                    I usually don't post on these training threads but somehow I feel compelled. I feel draw reins would be very detrimental to this horse. He is resisting forward. Get him forward and in front of the leg and most of the other issues will correct themselves.
                                    Thank you! I agree! I will point some of the h/j draw rein advocates at my barn here!

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #58
                                      Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                                      Sounds like you need work on your half halts - not draw reins. If the horse doesn't half halt, then HALT. Rinse, repeat.
                                      I'm sure this is my ignorance showing, but I'm not sure how the half halt works on the lack of impulsion problem we've got going on? Can you tell me more about what you mean?

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                                      • #59
                                        He is not resisting forward, he is going, just hollowing when the connection is being lost.
                                        I.D.E.A. yoda

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                                        • Original Poster

                                          #60
                                          Thank you all for the replies! I've got a lot to work on here. No draw reins for my guy, that's for sure. Thank you for the confirmation of that! I took the links down as I've got enough to work on for a while! I'll post "after" video when we get everything straightened out!

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