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chambon vs neck stretcher; and, do you ride in them?

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  • chambon vs neck stretcher; and, do you ride in them?

    I just started using a chambon on my horse, just light 10 minute hacks with my trainer (whose judgement I trust completely) present. Today I read a bunch of places that they should only ever be used on the lunge. Can anyone put my mind at ease that chambons are okay to be used while riding?

    I also have a few friends who swear by the neck stretcher and am wondering if I should invest in one of those instead.

    My horse is extremely lazy/quiet and while I can get him moving forward and light in the contact at the walk and trot, I just don't have the leg power to support what the canter requires when I also add hand. He is built uphill and (as I mentioned) extremely lazy so I can imagine carrying himself at the canter is hard work. I am not looking to use this aparatus overly frequently, or as a shortcut, I would just like to improve the quality of his canter and give him a baseline for the muscling as well as a frame of reference for where his head should be. I am hoping, in turn, this will also improve the quality of his jump, which is right now somewhat inverted.

  • #2
    You're not going to get too much support here, i bet, with people saying it's a good thing to ride in a chambon on a lazy horse. If you don't have enough leg to support him in the canter, how are you going to have enough leg to support him when you put the chambon or neck stretcher on?

    I have ridden in both. I HATE the neck stretcher, although some swear by it. The chambon was useful on my super green OTTB - he was naturally forward and it helped strengthen his topline. There was a thread on this earlier.. but i can't find it right now.

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    • #3
      I wouldn't think a chambon would help you have to use less supporting leg... horses in a chambon can easily get on the forehand. I would never ride in a chambon but I lunge my horse in one regularly. If I don't make sure he is going forward on the lunge it doesn't really have the desired effect. Also sometimes he gets going too flat, so I usually lunge him over trot poles to counteract that in the chambon.

      ETA: I also hate the neck stretcher unless you need more control. For training purposes it doesn't do much. If you just need more control on a hot horse, it helps a lot.

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        I agree it sounds counterproductive, but oddly enough I found him to be a lot more forward with the chambon on - and not in a bad, pissy way. Just more willing to work.

        I did find a good thread on the nexk strecher (and opinions seem to be split 50/50) but can't find much on riding with a chambon on.

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        • #5
          The only time I've seen a neck stretcher used regularly, the goal was the teach the horse to put her head down. It basically taught her to evade the bit by tucking her nose in, rather than accepting contact. Chambon teaches this properly because there is release on the poll when they stretch down and out toward the bit. Neck stretcher doesn't release unless they are right on the vertical or behind it. I know lots of people who DO ride in a chambon, and never heard of any accidents, but I am very nervous about stuff like that. I would certainly never jump in one. Or I wonder if you can put it inside of a neck strap (like the neck strap on a martingale) so that it doesn't hang down, which is where the danger comes from.

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          • #6
            I don't use either. Especially not to ride in. I've always viewed the neck stretcher as completely useless in teaching the horse anything but bad habits. The chambon can be useful, but I only lunge in them. Long story short, I am not a "gadget" person. If you have a problem, fix it correctly. Don't try to magic it away with a gadget. My 2 cents.

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            • #7
              Neither here nor there but the neck stretcher has a release if you put it on properly. You have to make sure it's only tight when they lift thier head too high so that when they put their head down it does not pull on their mouth and teach them to back off the bit.

              If you trust your coach so completely why are you questioning her methods here ?
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              • #8
                Don't use either.

                I'm not 100% anti gadget, as I have used a
                -standing martingale a couple times in the past several years (used to use one all the time and then just skipped the extra useless tacking up step),
                -a german martingale for like 5 rides,
                -drawreins like 5 times ever in my life

                but the chambon and neckstretcher I would entirely avoid.
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                • #9
                  I would never ride in side reins, a chambon or a neck stretcher simply because you have absolutely no control over them. I'm not a big fan of artificial training aids, but if I am going to use one while riding it will only be draw reins because if the horse nuts up, you can always release the pressure. I had a horse spook once in a neck stretcher, attempt to toss it's head up, and when she couldn't toss her head up she freaked out even more and flipped over with me on her. That was the last time I ever rode in anything like it.
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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by vbunny View Post
                    Neither here nor there but the neck stretcher has a release if you put it on properly. You have to make sure it's only tight when they lift thier head too high so that when they put their head down it does not pull on their mouth and teach them to back off the bit.

                    If you trust your coach so completely why are you questioning her methods here ?
                    I am not, thank you, I anticipated someone insinuating that I have seen them being used at shows so was a little shocked when 90% of what I read said they were a lunging tool only. There are a lot of well-informed people on COTH (and a lot of...well, the opposite) and wanted to hear from those who have used these tools successfully, as this forum is a good way to get a lot of answers in a short period of time.

                    I am also new to 'gadgets' outside of a martingale, in that I rarely ever use them myself, but have been around enough to witness them being used.

                    Although I do realize that everyone subscribes to different training methods, I'm interested to hear why specificially people don't like them, if you are someone who wouldn't go near one of these?

                    OveroHunter, I can see your point completely as that is one of my fears.

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                    • #11
                      I used to ride a horse for someone else, and they would sometimes have me ride him in a chambon. Honestly? I never noticed a difference in the horse either way (chambon vs. no chambon). He went the same for me with or without, and he went very well. I never understood why they wanted him in the chambon at times, but it didn't bother me because it changed nothing about my ride.

                      It was somewhat annoying to have to deal with putting on an additional piece of equipment, but that was it. Like meupatdoes, I stopped using a standing martingale on my horse because I found it useless and annoying to put on.

                      I guess I would submit that if the chambon or neck stretcher changes your ride for the better...then there is something the chambon or neck stretcher is creating artificially for you that you are not creating yourself but should be (probably steady contact). Therefore, I would suggest learning to create yourself what the chambon does for you artificially and ditch the chambon.

                      I look at gadgets like that and think about how to create with my riding the thing that they create artificially. That's really the only use I have for them.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have ridden in each a few times over the years dealing with specific issues. I don't typically ride in anything because I'm too lazy to dig out different tack for daily rides and generally would rather deal with things manually, so to speak, but I think both tools have their uses.

                        The bottom line is that you're the one riding the horse and he goes better in the chambon. Why try to fix what's working? And if you have a good trainer and she agrees then I wouldn't worry about it. I've had horses that have gone well in things I never would have thought to try (but were suggested in clinics or by trainers I trust).
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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                          I guess I would submit that if the chambon or neck stretcher changes your ride for the better...then there is something the chambon or neck stretcher is creating artificially for you that you are not creating yourself but should be (probably steady contact). Therefore, I would suggest learning to create yourself what the chambon does for you artificially and ditch the chambon.
                          This is kind of the goal. Get him to build some muscle to be able to carry it on his own, and both him and I to get the feel of what we're working towards, so that after a few uses we can ditch the chambon and do without. I suppose this is why I don't understand the hatred towards training aids that some people have.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by authentic pony View Post
                            This is kind of the goal. Get him to build some muscle to be able to carry it on his own, and both him and I to get the feel of what we're working towards, so that after a few uses we can ditch the chambon and do without. I suppose this is why I don't understand the hatred towards training aids that some people have.
                            Yep, and that, to me, is an appropriate use of the device.

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                            • #15
                              I thought you were only supposed to lunge with a chambon, but that a De Gogue is okay to ride in?
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                              • #16
                                I used a neck stretcher for a while when rehabbing my horse. I did it with the best of intentions, and had thought it through quite a bit. While I do think it helped in some ways I also probably wouldn't bother if I went back and repeated everything.

                                I had a horse who liked to stick his head straight up, and a long standing habit of fussy hands. It helped keep the horse comfortably low and engaged. For me it let me learn how to keep my hands quiet while maintaining a fair amount of contact (I'm a fairly experienced rider but had never been able to kick this habit, so my solution was to nip it in the bud). Like I said, it had a use for me...but I think careful lessons might have accomplished the same.

                                If you must, use either sparingly (which you seem to be doing already) and be fully aware of all the problems everyone here has pointed out. If you're not an experienced enough rider to feel these issues then skip it entirely.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I've never had need for a neck stretcher, but I've ridden and jumped a bunch in a chambon. I run it through a yoke to jump, because I tend to err on the side of caution, but many people don't, without issue.

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                                  • #18
                                    I dislike the neck stretcher while riding. If the horse trips, and his head is tied down he may not be able to pick up his head enough to help himself from falling down. An easy way to injure the horse and get yourself in a ugly situation, ie: rider topples off over the shoulder, horse falls on rider. Riding in a neck stretcher is asking for a situation like this, IMO.

                                    I find the german martingale is a much safer option, while achieving a similar effect, however it doesn't apply pressure on the pole.

                                    A de Gouge attached to the reins would get you the pole pressure and same effect without being tied down in a permanent position, and thus safer than the neck stretcher.

                                    Originally posted by lachevaline View Post
                                    I thought you were only supposed to lunge with a chambon, but that a De Gogue is okay to ride in?

                                    I've seen the De Gouge used 2 ways.

                                    1. Goes from girth attachment to the pole, down through bit and back to the girth attachment.

                                    2. Goes from girth attachment to the pole, down through bit and attaches to the reins.

                                    Option 1 is suited for lunging; 2 is for riding.
                                    Last edited by Satin Filly; Jun. 6, 2012, 10:55 PM.

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                                    • #19
                                      I also would never use a chambon or neck stretcher. You have to learn to ride back to front, everything else is worthless. I have a couple of friends who tried the chambon, it never worked for them.... Muscle in and of itself will never teach a horse how to carry itself, riding properly will.

                                      Sorry, I have never found short cuts in fundamental riding technique.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        the neck stretcher will sure make your horse look pretty when you ride with it, but take it off and youre worse off than before. I hate them with a passion.

                                        I would not ride in a chambon (sp?) either, whenever I see people riding in them its just too gadgety.

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