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Training aids for riders

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  • Training aids for riders

    I just got Dressage Extensions catalog and came across some interesting training aids for riders. One is Steady Hands
    http://www.dressageextensions.com/Pr....asp?KEY=22651
    and another one is Soft hand
    http://www.dressageextensions.com/Pr...l.asp?KEY=2287
    Has anyone seen them in action, do they work?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Equus_girl View Post
    I just got Dressage Extensions catalog and came across some interesting training aids for riders. One is Steady Hands
    http://www.dressageextensions.com/Pr....asp?KEY=22651
    and another one is Soft hand
    http://www.dressageextensions.com/Pr...l.asp?KEY=2287
    Has anyone seen them in action, do they work?
    I recently started using the "rein-aids" with my mare, they are the same as this
    http://www.dressageextensions.com/Pr...l.asp?KEY=2287

    It has made a radical change in my mare, especially at the canter. She has always been very light and sensitive in the mouth, and hard to get a good feel of. She goes in a happy mouth and is still too light. Shortening my reins just pissed her off, and I did not feel like I had the hands or experience to really hold and drive like so many instructors recommended.

    I tried the rein-aids on a whim. Since using them the last 5 rides or so I have had 3 of my best rides ever. So, I am not above using tools if they work, and I certainly cannot see the harm in making my horse happier ad more comfortable.
    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

    Comment


    • #3
      I just dont agree with these things.
      Steady hands come from a strong seat and body control.
      www.spindletopfarm.net
      Home of Puerto D'Azur - 1998 NA 100 Day Test Champion
      "Charcter is much easier kept than recovered"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by STF View Post
        I just dont agree with these things.
        Steady hands come from a strong seat and body control.
        How can you "not agree with" a 2" piece of elastic that is limited in the amount of give by a solid piece of leather?

        With my mare, even professionals had a hard time getting her consistently soft yet solid in the bridle. For the first year I owned her she would not take contact. We use tools every day with horses, people lunge with side reins, wear spurs, carry a whip, experiment with different bits, saddle pads, whatever it takes for our horses to be happy and comfortable in their work.

        If 2" of elastic makes my horse noticeably happier in her work, and gives her an "ah-ha" moment, then I am damn well going to use it.
        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

        Comment


        • #5
          If you get the reins with the built in elastic, they are even legal for showing

          Comment


          • #6
            I just want to add another insight as well. I know we have all entered into viscous circles sometimes with a young horse where it seems we just cannot get past a certain issue. Mine was canter transitions, no matter what I did or who I worked with, I could not get past my mare wanting to throw her head up at the trot-canter transition. It was one part balance, one part my hands and seat, one part habit. Since using the rein-aids this week I have gotten several wonderful canter transitions, and a lightbulb has gone off in my head and my mares.

            Say it IS a riders hands. Is it better to struggle for months (or years!) trying to steady one's hands while their horse is annoyed, inconsistent, pulling, in turn making it physically difficult to learn how to steady your hands? Or maybe would it be better to try a TOOL that will make the horse happier, make him/her steadier in the bridle, and allow to rider to learn how to ride better?
            On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
              allow to rider to learn how to ride better?
              I guess that's the question (and I'm not taking a position here).

              Does it allow the rider to learn to ride better or does it prevent the rider from learning?
              Ring the bells that still can ring
              Forget your perfect offering
              There is a crack in everything
              That's how the light gets in.

              Comment


              • #8
                She can not agree... because it's OPINION. And we're all entitled.

                I used to use elastic sidereins at times with certain students. I don't see it as any different, just more expensive. I also will have students un-velcro their saddle pad billets and hold with their reins. Or grab a piece of mane. Or grab the grabstrap if it's long enough... again, same principles, just cheaper.
                InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

                Comment


                • #9
                  I bought a horse that had been ridden solely in Rein Aids. I couldn't touch her mouth with a regular snaffle and contact was intermittent with a KK Ultra. She was even worse for my instructor. It took a couple of months before she accepted the bit and allowed contact to remain steady without flipping her head. I would never use a Rein Aid on a horse, after that experience. I hadn't realized how much of a crutch they were when I tried her, as I'd never heard of them before. If I'd seen her ridden without them I doubt I would have bought her, at least at her then stage of training. Her previous owner did mention what a lifesaver they were (I dealt mainly with her instructor, I didn't meet her until the day we signed the paperwork/gave her the check) and that she needed to get her own set. But I didn't realize that the horse was nearly a rearer when ridden without them.

                  It didn't take too long to retrain her, but for me, it was a scary time, dealing with her behavior, especially not knowing her before bringing her home without Rein Aids and never having ridden a horse that rejected contact so strongly. I can see how they'd be useful for a beginning rider on a schoolhorse in order to save the schoolie's mouth, but I would never use it on a personal horse, too much work to undo.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For me, it allows me to ride this particular horse bette. I have been able to work on steadying my hands, and giving more with my elbows, softening my arms, and sitting more vertical be because she is not fighting my hands.

                    I don't have the worst hands in the world, nor the best. I can ride most horses, both young and trained and get them forward and round. IMO, they are what they are, a tool that can work for some horses and riders in specific situations. No more, no less.
                    Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
                    I guess that's the question (and I'm not taking a position here).

                    Does it allow the rider to learn to ride better or does it prevent the rider from learning?
                    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't understand how the thingy with the elastic lets the rider learn what a softer hand feels like, because the elastic softens everything you do- thus removing any chance of feedback from the horse.

                      In other words, without the thingy, if you're too harsh with the reins or your hands are otherwise too 'hard', then you get some kind of negative response from the horse- ranging from tenseness and a worse ride to things like avoiding contact and otherwise letting it be known in No Uncertain Terms that the horse is Not Happy. Meanwhile, with the thingy, if you're too hard on the reins, that's muffled before it gets to the horse, so the horse might be going along happily, but you the rider are learning exactly nothing about softening your hands- because you have no way to know if your hands are soft enough or not! (In fact, I would wonder if long-term use of the thing actually results in riders with harder hands on average, because of the muffling effect of the elastic.)

                      I mean, I can see where it might have a place- if your horse is so tender-mouthed that you just can't be 'soft' enough, or if you have some kind of difficulty whereby you simply can't soften your hands to the necessary extent, or in the case of newbie riders who aren't really at the 'improving rein aids' stage yet- but I can't really see how it does much as a LEARNING aid for the rider. If anything, it seems like it'd be better to call it a sanity-saver for horses stuck with ham-fisted folks.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jesterjigger View Post
                        I bought a horse that had been ridden solely in Rein Aids. I couldn't touch her mouth with a regular snaffle and contact was intermittent with a KK Ultra. She was even worse for my instructor. It took a couple of months before she accepted the bit and allowed contact to remain steady without flipping her head. I would never use a Rein Aid on a horse, after that experience.
                        You're assuming the rein aids caused the behavior. I am betting they were a result of the behavior.

                        As for whether they help or hinder a rider- depends entirely on the rider, doesn't it? If it is a rider who is going to continue to work on herself no matter what, then maybe it will make the initial work easier on the horse. If it's a rider who is constantly looking for shortcuts, then obviously they are a shortcut

                        If you have a sensitive mouthed horse and a rider who is trying but not progressing instantly to perfect hands, I'd think the horse would be happy to have them

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ambrey View Post
                          If you get the reins with the built in elastic, they are even legal for showing
                          REALLY?!? That just doesn't sound kosher to me. I dunno, it seems like they would be an unfair advantage. And a big part of dressage is the horse accepting the bit and the rider having independent, effective hands, two things which elastic reins seem to nullify.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ambrey View Post
                            You're assuming the rein aids caused the behavior. I am betting they were a result of the behavior.

                            As for whether they help or hinder a rider- depends entirely on the rider, doesn't it? If it is a rider who is going to continue to work on herself no matter what, then maybe it will make the initial work easier on the horse. If it's a rider who is constantly looking for shortcuts, then obviously they are a shortcut

                            If you have a sensitive mouthed horse and a rider who is trying but not progressing instantly to perfect hands, I'd think the horse would be happy to have them
                            No, I'm saying that the rein aids did nothing to help the behavior, and in fact, made the behavior worse, when the hands were no longer muffled by the rein aid. They are a crutch that may lead the rider to believe that all is well, when in truth it is not. This mare still braced and sometimes threw her head up even with the rein aids on, but not nearly as much as without them, I knew she hadn't had steady training so I chalked it up to greenness. I think that they set her training back quite a bit though, because they are a crutch. I think it would be better for the rider to have real time and honest reactions to what they're doing, instead of being led to believe their hands are better than they are because of a gadget.

                            I tend to believe what is said here about them though, http://www.sustainabledressage.com/t...s.php#rein-aid

                            "What they will not help in the long run, is the problem itself. If you use these inserts, they will do the elasticity for you, and you will only reinforce by habit that a tense grip on the reins is OK, and the subsequent bobbing of the hands is OK, since the rein-aids soften it before it reaches the mouth. You will never learn to feel the soft chewing of the horse being on the bit."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              instead of being led to believe their hands are better than they are because of a gadget.
                              Soft hands come from a solid postion, balance and good seat, allowing the hands to follow and be soft. A forward thinking feel comes from the seat, not the hand. So, yes, I agree.... a gadget.
                              Being my opinion........
                              www.spindletopfarm.net
                              Home of Puerto D'Azur - 1998 NA 100 Day Test Champion
                              "Charcter is much easier kept than recovered"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                agree with jesterjigger and stf

                                read this thread on bit advasion as well ,http://www.meredithmanor.com/feature...t_evasions.asp

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I don't see how any elastic rein thing could do anything positive, including softening mistakes with the hands. I think it's more about convincing people it does that than actually doing it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I dunno. I bought a set for my fussy pony, but we have not used them much. I think the reason I don't really see what the hubbub is about is that I didn't think they made that huge of a difference, although as I said we haven't used them much.

                                    I guess I wonder- if a set of $40 reins will do the same thing as a year of intensive training, why is the latter automatically better? If a horse goes well in a KK but is fussy in a link snaffle, we don't intensively train to make them accept the latter. It's just a piece of tack. If your horse likes it, it's even legal in the show ring.

                                    And like any tack, if your horse will only work in this one particular type and not in most of the commonly available types, you should probably tell potential buyers. I'd say the same if the horse went ballistic if you put anything but a KK in his mouth or rode without his sheepskin fuzzy teddy bear pad.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Ambrey View Post
                                      I dunno. I bought a set for my fussy pony, but we have not used them much. I think the reason I don't really see what the hubbub is about is that I didn't think they made that huge of a difference, although as I said we haven't used them much.

                                      I guess I wonder- if a set of $40 reins will do the same thing as a year of intensive training, why is the latter automatically better? If a horse goes well in a KK but is fussy in a link snaffle, we don't intensively train to make them accept the latter. It's just a piece of tack. If your horse likes it, it's even legal in the show ring.

                                      And like any tack, if your horse will only work in this one particular type and not in most of the commonly available types, you should probably tell potential buyers. I'd say the same if the horse went ballistic if you put anything but a KK in his mouth or rode without his sheepskin fuzzy teddy bear pad.
                                      I agree 100%. One could call anything a "gadget". How about a flash or dropped noseband? A certain type of bit? A treeless saddle? How about a double bridle? A roller spur? A gel pad?

                                      And I agree that it says something to me that the reins are legal to show in. Once you get proper contact with them they are actually as solid as "regular" reins.

                                      It's funny you bring up the fuzzy pad. My mare is also radically different when ridden in a Mattes pad (and I had her saddle completely reflocked by one of the best saddle makers/fitters in the business IMO). He told me some horses simply go better in them no matter how well the saddle is fitted. I suppose I am using it as a gadget and should be able to ride her without it or I am not riding well enough?
                                      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                                        I agree 100%. One could call anything a "gadget". How about a flash or dropped noseband? A certain type of bit? A treeless saddle? How about a double bridle? A roller spur? A gel pad?
                                        Or how about a whip and spurs? We've just come to accept some "gadgets" and not others.

                                        Don't get me wrong, some gadgets are shortcuts or crutches, if only because they aren't allowed in the show ring. If you ride with side reins, or a german martingale, or a pelham (shhhhh!) you're not saving yourself any work in the long run, just shifting it around or avoiding it for the time being, because eventually your horse will have to go without to show.

                                        But if your horse prefers something and it's allowed in the show ring, isn't that usually a good thing?

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