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Spinoff: Neck strap question...

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  • Spinoff: Neck strap question...

    How many of you ride with a neck strap? I think they are great and I've got my daughter riding with one. Me? Not so much and I probably should be! How do you re-wire your brain to reach for one when you're having a "moment." I can't ever remember it's there when I ought to grab it...I'd be sunk if someone ever roached my horses' manes.

  • #2
    I started riding Star with a breastplate (hunt style) and it did take me a bit to figure out how/when to grab it but it totally works when she has her bucking/leaping moments.

    Bucking straps didn't do anything because they are too loose - by the time it tightened up I was too far out of the tack to be saved! A neck strap for jumping I don't need. The breastplate (or yoke) sits within finger's grasp so I can grab it really fast and because it's near her withers when I grab it I get sucked into the saddle but my upper body can stay back. It actully seems to calm her down when I grab it- but probably because I'm sitting deeper. Racing folks use yokes to slow horses too, so it may have that effect as well.

    A good cycle - I'm more secure, so I stay calm, so that calms her, so she leaps less.


    • #3
      I actually prefer a neckstrap to grabbing my breastplate...
      The neckstrap is higher up, so I can keep my hand out in front of me instead of right in front of my saddle


      • #4
        I think sometimes I need two straps- one further up to be used as a jumping neck strap and the other far enough back that I can grab during the all hell is breaking loose moments. I have really short arms so the neck strap I use for jumping doesn't work when I need to lock myself into the saddle as it is to far forward for me to reach.

        I use a stirrup leather for my jumping strap and normally just the hunt style breastplate works well enough to get my hand under during moments of hold on or else I find I use my breastplate a ton when out foxhunting especially when going up and down hills or sometimes when I think I am going to have a bad spot to a fence.

        I should use them way more than I do since almost all the horses I ride are super green and either learning to jump or still so green when jumping you wish you had that strap on when it is already to late! Now that we are talking about it I am going to sit them on the hook near all the bridles so I make myself use them more often.

        I was listening to Bruce's speak on young horse and LMAO when he talked about going up the hill and grabbing some mane to balance himself when his young horse took offense to it's mane being pulled and ducked it's head and shoulder and ran off leaving Bruce stranded. A neck strap would have come in handy


        • #5
          I use a loose yoke. It's in the right location for me - not as far back as a breastplate, and not as far forward as most neck straps I see - and thin enough that I can hold it with my reins without trouble. My 5 year old can be fussy about his mouth, but responds really well to a tug on the yoke by rebalancing himself. I started by using it every time I rode - even for D - to train both of us to it, and got used to it pretty fast. Of course, it probably helps that I have a sufficiently regular incentive to grab it!


          • #6
            I use a yoke also. I make it somewhat tight, it will move some but the whole point of the thing is to stabilize me, so I don't need it to move a whole lot when I grab it or it defeats (my) purpose!

            I do not like breastplates for this purpose. The strap is too low to really help you.

            I can't seem to make myself jump even a little tiny x without it in my right hand, just snag it with my pinky finger. It is absolutely ingrained habit.

            Saved my *ss more than once!


            • #7
              I never liked using one until I started having issues with my young OTTB refusing (because I was in his face too much).

              To train myself I would grab the strap 4 or 5 strides before the fence, almost a preemptive grab!

              Now I don't have to hold it the whole course, I am comfortable grabbing it if I need it but I did have to do a few schoolings where I held it for every jump just to get used to it.

              edited to add: When I said I was holding it I don't mean letting to of the reins, just holding it with one hand and letting the reins have contact but not tight.
              http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


              • Original Poster

                What's a "yoke." Pictures?


                • #9
                  It's a loop around neck that attaches to girth

                  so, a martingale without the part that goes to the head.

                  or a breastplate that doesn't attach to the top of the saddle.


                  • #10
                    Not only have I started using a strap when I jump on my own to make me keep my hands forward enough, but I have been using a neck strap on the flat to train myself to keep my hands forward too.


                    • #11
                      I'll use a stirrup leather when I get on a horse that I know rushes fences. Keeps me from snatching rein. I actually hold on to it with one hand always so that if I go to pull back I cannot.

                      I have had students use one as well, [even for just flat work] and I fix it so that it allows them to carry thier hand in the corrent area. (i.e. not in private areas!!)
                      Again, I have them always hold it with one hand.
                      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                      • #12
                        Oh my..

                        I thought that's what the running martingale was for :-)
                        Did my horse need one? No. Did I need a grab strap? yes! Ans less likely to get loose, fall down, etc.
                        Shoulders back, hands down, leg ON!



                        • #13
                          As stated above, neck strap for:

                          -over-jumping young horses (keeps you on and is easier to grab with both hands; reduces interference with mouth)

                          -horses that rush - keeps the rider honest and reduces interfering

                          -prefer it to a bucking strap when the horse's antics are buck-leap forward - buck-leap. I like my hands in front of me and feet on the dashboard.

                          Breastplate is good for horses that like to spin.

                          Mane is always good - I like to do the one-hand-grab when I still need some steering/control; but since mane's my mainstay (), it takes me an adjustment period to rely on a neckstrap when I add that.

                          To anybody who whines when I make them use a neck-strap in a lesson, I bring out my picture of William Fox-Pitt on a winning Burghley XC round with his. That usually shuts them up

                          You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


                          • #14
                            I usually grab it a few strides out with one hand. Habit developed really quickly, when it is there I use it. Once they stop being so green I have to take it off for a while because I just love the damn thing.


                            • #15
                              Yes always.... it's habitual


                              • #16
                                I use a neckstrap (spare stirrup leather) on both my OTTBs. If we get on a good run hunting, and need to slow down quick, they respond much better to me dropping the reins to the buckle and pulling up on the strap-- or hunting breastplate, I use both. It was really hard to do at first, but apparently, race horses are trained to run harder the tighter you hold them in. I looove my neckstrap!


                                • #17
                                  See, this is why I like not pulling the mane. That way I have something to grab when things go wrong without having to remember to put anything on. I am bad about hopping up bareback to just goof off and then ending up going over a few fences. Then again with a neck strap you wouldn't have to untangle yourself after the fun stops.


                                  • #18
                                    Yoke Pictures Please

                                    I would love to see pictures of a yoke and a yoke in action if anyone has any.

                                    Do you pick it up with one hand or two? Or are you just hooking your index fingers over the top?

                                    My vice is to let my upper body creep ahead on the way to a jump and I'm wondering if I had something besides the reins to hold if I wouldn't feel more secure and stay more upright. I don't think a traditional stirrup leather around the neck will work for me....it might be too high and encourage my 'creeping' up the neck.


                                    • #19
                                      to help my student grab the neck strap (a stirrup leather), I wrapped 1/3 of it in BRIGHT YELLOW vet wrap. Sure made it ugly, but at least a brown strap on a brown horse wouldn't get lost in the pre-jump overload of things-to-do.


                                      • #20
                                        slightly off topic but my old instructor's husband rides at like BN and she would give him lessons. To help teach him to release, she braided a few looser training braid type things in the horses mane and covered them with lime green duct tape (his xc colors) to help him remember where to put his hands!