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Jumping with draw reins - bad idea, right?

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  • Jumping with draw reins - bad idea, right?

    A young teenager at my barn has a nice young OTB mare that has competed at 2ft 6ins with her previous, more experienced and fundamentally sounder rider. The kid wants to move up to 3ft, and was talking this evening about how the mare has started rushing after a jump, putting her head up, hard to slow down, etc.
    She said that her trainer has told her they will start to use draw reins that will be attached at the girth between the mare's front legs. That rather horrifies me. Aren't they supposed to be attached to the girth along the horse's side? (I've never used them, so don't know much other than I don't like them on principle.)
    This kid is an OK rider, but is not firm in her seat, and has only ridden push-button horses, not a relatively inexperienced younger horse.
    I've never been a proponent of draw reins, but jumping with them? Yikes. Am I over-reacting?

  • #2
    Yes :-) If you have good hands and are an educated rider, and the draw reins are run thorough a martingale or to a yoke so the horse cant catch a leg, they can be a useful training tool. But there are many other useful training exercises that could also help and dont require draw reins.
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    • #3
      Yes, you're overreacting. At least, as far as the general use of draw reins goes. Yes, they are commonly run between the front legs, and yes, they are pretty commonly used over fences. I don't understand how you can hate something on principle without knowing how it works...

      In any case, draw reins are a useful tool in the right hands, and dangerous in the wrong ones. Hopefully the girl's trainer knows what he/she is doing.
      "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
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      • #4
        Originally posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
        Yes, you're overreacting. At least, as far as the general use of draw reins goes. Yes, they are commonly run between the front legs, and yes, they are pretty commonly used over fences. I don't understand how you can hate something on principle without knowing how it works...

        In any case, draw reins are a useful tool in the right hands, and dangerous in the wrong ones. Hopefully the girl's trainer knows what he/she is doing.
        This ^
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        • Original Poster

          Just to be clear, I didn't say I hated them, just that I didn't like them. The principle on which I base my non-use/dislike is that they seem to be a short cut, a gadget for a quick fix rather than putting in good quality groundwork and training.


          • #6
            Personally think that draw reins are fine for jumping under 3' and maybe 3'3", once you get higher than that, I think it's a little dangerous, but it really depends on the horses jumping style.


            • #7
              Originally posted by hunterrider23 View Post
              it really depends on the horses jumping style.
              ^ This along with the other things mentioned above. Draw reins may be considered a short cut by some but couldn't you also then call a martingale a short cut? Makes the horses head stay down when they want to put it up. Doesn't mean that they're a bad training tool. When used properly they can be very helpful. I would definitely run them through something around the horses neck so they're up higher for jumping but unless the horse has a phenomenal front end they are unlikely to catch a leg if they rider/trainer knows how to use them.


              • #8
                I jump with draw reins quite often. It's very important that you run them through the martingale or something (I'm sure you can imagine why) but I really like them for small cavaletti work or when I'm trying to get something done and need a little extra help.

                For instance: I was having issues jumping a fence in the dead center of the arena from left to right. My horse would never land the correct lead after the fence and I was doing some awkward twist in an effort to get her body in line, but it just wasn't working. Add in draw reins and I had just enough to put her body where it needed to be so she could learn what I was trying to ask and I could ask correctly without throwing my body.

                I don't think jumping 3'6+ courses in draw reins is necessarily a good plan, but when used correctly, they are helpful.


                • #9
                  I think the use of draw reins has its place but I would personally be reluctant to put a novice kid on a horse with draw reins and have them jump around with them. That could be a good way to wreck a horse in my opinion, especially if they are not able to control their body well enough and use the draw reins properly. I would be more comfortable with this scenario if the trainer was the one that as going to be jumping the horse in the draw reins.


                  • #10
                    Like the others have said; safe to use if attached to a breastplate or run through the martingale. In educated hands, of course. If the girl is not that great of a rider and has no experience using draw reins even on the flat, yes its a bad idea and the trainer should probably put a few training rides on this horse with draw reins.


                    • #11
                      I think the girl would be better off in the long run by learning how to use her seat and position to influence the horse. Yes, it might take longer, but I think she will be a better rider as a result.


                      • #12
                        I think they are overused to force the horse into a frame, but clearly that is not the correct usage and hopefully not the norm. That said, they can help focus the ultra spooky types.

                        Aside from the possibility of getting a leg caught, I wonder if draw reins hang on the bit more during takeoff?
                        Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                        • #13
                          Adding the same, in the hands of the right trainer, they are a useful tool, but surely not for every day use. I would never jump in them personally because of the worry of what if i miss the jump and hit my horse in the mouth. I find that to be a 'trainer only' situation.

                          If the horse is flipping inverted and rushing the fence my guess is that it's running from some kind of pain and should be addressed first. And that pain may be a rider who hits it in the mouth over fences so the draw reins would only create more of an issue but without seeing her ride it's impossible to make that judgement.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ako View Post
                            I think they are overused to force the horse into a frame, but clearly that is not the correct usage and hopefully not the norm. That said, they can help focus the ultra spooky types.

                            Aside from the possibility of getting a leg caught, I wonder if draw reins hang on the bit more during takeoff?

                            I watched Laura Kraut school Cedric in them because she says he's always been a spooker and that's the only way she can keep him bolting, so that's valid. The video was on Equestrian Coach.com. But she's Laura Kraut and he's Cedric so more than educated pair there!


                            • #15
                              In educated hands, properly put on (attached to or run through a breastplate), and over small-moderate sized fences, draw reins are a tool that can be useful in certain training situations. I might raise an eyebrow at a trainer having a young teen or inexperienced rider use them, depending on the horse and the issue/situation. I know of a couple of nasty accidents where riders who didn't really understand how to use draw reins ran into trouble. One of the accidents was on the flat--no jumps involved. The rider needs to understand how to use the draw reins and have the coordination and skill to use them properly. I have no issue with a rider like Laura Kraut using them over any size fence.


                              • #16
                                Why would anyone jump with draw reins? It is an accident waiting to happen, and forces the horse to endure its fright/hollowing paths are blocked. If a pulley effect is needed, a logical and much SAFER approach is a running martingale. (Only has effect if the horse is too high). And methodology for the use draw reins are NOT for longitudinal flexion/putting the head down, draw reins are for lateral flexibility and gradual longitudinal flexion as a result. Getting the legs caught IS a possibility (and even more so with an insecure rider).

                                All that said, does anyone ask WHY the mare has started rushing after a jump, putting her head up,etc? The seat of the rider is not steady, which means the hands are even worse...and now those problems will be part of the effect of draw reins? Pity the poor horse. Jumping at any cost to the horse('s mouth). What about basics?
                                I.D.E.A. yoda


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Canterwell View Post
                                  Jthey seem to be a short cut, a gadget for a quick fix rather than putting in good quality groundwork and training.
                                  The draw rein is just a piece of leather, it can't possibly be all that. Imean next thing you know, it will solve the Middle East crisis.

                                  It's a tool. How it is used will determine if it is used as a shortcut or a part of good quality groundwork and training.

                                  That said, if I am using draw reins o/f I prefer to use them with a yoke (chest attachment) or if between the legs, run under the yoke/chest plate/martingale just for an extra touch of safety and because I tend to ride with a longer rein, and as such would put myself more at risk for a horse stepping through them. If I rode like Laura, I probably wouldn't have that problem.
                                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                                  • #18
                                    I have jumped in draw reins with one horse that I was starting over fences while taking lessons with a trainer, and the draw reins were the trainer's suggestion. The draw reins were used more for STRAIGHTNESS than any kind of longitudinal flexion. We started with them on, jumped a couple, and then finished without them.

                                    This (ancient) video shows three different schools (though I wear the same coat to the barn every day ). The horse was 4.5 at the time, had been started over fences that month, and these were maybe his 7th-10th jump schools in his life.

                                    Personally, I don't see any huge problems with this ride. The horse is not rushing, "enduring any fright", or being "forced" into anything. For a 4yo horse in his first three weeks of his jumping career he is certainly performing to anyone's reasonable expectation. If someone is going to watch that video and think they are being used to prevent the horse from bolting off or to cover up/prevent evasions they would have to be looking with eyes peeled.

                                    That said, I don't see myself using drawreins again anywhere in the near future, mainly because I don't even own a pair and don't particularly feel the need for them. All my horses I have trained up after that one have been done without draw reins and the overall picture, loping around quiet and relaxed, is the same.
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                                      Why would anyone jump with draw reins?
                                      To effectively achieve a desired outcome of a specific exercise without having to deal with spooking, running off, or evasion.

                                      Personally, I'd rather put a set of draw reins on my mare if I'm having trouble getting the desired result out of a small exercise (I'm talking cavalettis, small gymnastics, figure eighting fences, etc.) than try to fight with her, which might leave me in a deeper hole than I started, 2 hours later with a sweat covered, angry and defiant horse.

                                      Nothing is going to happen if my horse has to "endure her fright" over a 2'6 vertical and can't have full range of her head and neck. If draw reins are used in educated, responsible hands in moderation, there's nothing wrong with them.


                                      • #20
                                        But why draw reins? It is training and a good seat which produces a calm horse. Any 'evasion' (hollowing/etc) is the problem of the rider not the horse. Tension/Defiance/etc by a horse is asking it to do something it does not understand, it is the job of the rider to go back further, figure out what is problematic with their education/timing/exercises chosen, not to bandaid a problem with gadgets. Why would a rider 'fight with a horse' at all? It is a puzzle for the rider to figure out why the horse is running/spooking/etc. And except with very clever riders the horse will compress their neck/jump flat or crooked (because the d.r. are used for longitudinal flexion).

                                        "Nothing is going to happen if my horse has to "endure her fright" over a 2'6 vertical and can't have full range of her head and neck." I would totoally agree, but by definition d.r. limit the range of motion, and used in a usually seen manner (for longitudinal flexion) closes the throat latch which is in direction opposition to a good bascule. WHY is the horse in fright? Rider behind the motion? In front of it? Fixed low hands with pain on the bars? Not ridden to the base of the fence? What?

                                        It is often said that d.r. are razor blades in the hands of monkeys. Least we forget d.r. were invented to be used on cavesons, and ONLY for lateral flexibility with PULSATIONS of aids. They were not intended to enforce bit acceptance/lower the neck/etc.

                                        IF they are used by an educated trainer they should not be used more than once or twice. And certainly not as the OP says with an INSECURE rider. What does that teach the less educated rider? To go for the gadget rather that SOLVE the PROBLEM (but it is the often chosen 'fix' for the person to 'show' (show WHAT)) rather than be taught HOW to rider and TRAIN.
                                        I.D.E.A. yoda