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How to use draw reins correctly?

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  • How to use draw reins correctly?

    Although people have their own opinions about draw reins (about the use of them)... I was just curious on how they work and how to use them correctly?
    I don't need to use them now...I'm just curious.
    Last edited by jumperguy45; Jun. 9, 2013, 10:05 PM.

  • #2
    I don't use them. They are a shortcut. Good flat work is so much better. About the only time I'll put them on is if I'm getting on a greenie that's a bit "up" and I'm feeling insecure.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!

    Comment


    • #3
      I use them on my horse. I have always been taught that you use a lot more leg than hand to get the horse moving across the ground and into the bridle like you do with normal flat work as opposed to using more hand and little leg which gets them balled up and moving up and down.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        In my opinion they are a short cut, but sometimes you need to take a shortcut. Usually you would take this shortcut with a sale horse that needed to catch up or be at its best once someone tries them out inorder to have a higher chance at the horse being sold or if there is a show coming up and your horse is behind on schooling as well because of an injury or etc. I would not use them on a horse that I plan to keep for several years and compete at high levels with...this is where I would put in the many hours of flatting. With these shortcuts you have to use them sometimes because you are running a business at the same time.

        I got most of this from the George Morris Hunter Seat Equitation book and from my experiences.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jumperguy45 View Post
          In my opinion they are a short cut, but sometimes you need to take a shortcut. Usually you would take this shortcut with a sale horse that needed to catch up or be at its best once someone tries them out inorder to have a higher chance at the horse being sold or if there is a show coming up and your horse is behind on schooling as well because of an injury or etc. I would not use them on a horse that I plan to keep for several years and compete at high levels with...this is where I would put in the many hours of flatting. With these shortcuts you have to use them sometimes because you are running a business at the same time.

          I got most of this from the George Morris Hunter Seat Equitation book and from my experiences.
          So if you knew all this...why did you ask?
          Come to the dark side, we have cookies

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jumperguy45 View Post
            Although people have their own opinions about draw reins (about the use of them)... I was just curious on how they work and how to use them correctly?
            I don't need to use them now...I'm just curious.
            OP
            Come to the dark side, we have cookies

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
              OP
              For posterity?

              Comment


              • #8
                Well. This got strange in a totally different way than anticipated.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  My question was how they work and how to use them properly...not when to use them or the debate of draw reins (there were mentions of the use and debate of draw reins, I really don't care it was interesting to hear other's opinions about the topic). What I ment about my experiences is what I've seen and heard from others.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jumperguy45 View Post
                    In my opinion they are a short cut, but sometimes you need to take a shortcut. Usually you would take this shortcut with a sale horse .
                    I'd hate to buy a sale horse from you - or anyone else that thinks this way
                    it's a great way to sale a horse to the wrong home an' that's about the best you can say of it ...

                    Shite like this is why I bought a horse with zero handling.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mint Julep View Post
                      For posterity?

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        @alto
                        I apologize. I miss worded what I meant to say (that's why I don't like messaging on the web because things can be misinterpreted or typed wrong). I got that paragraph from what I have learned/seen/noticed from trainers and influences like George Morris (reading his books, which is where I got the sale horse thing from... but I am still learning and trying to figure out this amazing sport). I have never used draw reins...that's why I started this thread to learn more about them. To be honest they actually scare me a bit. I believe in taking the time to properly school a horse instead of using draw reins. Although, I also understand why you might take this shortcut when you ABSOLUTELY have to. I respect your opinions and I don't like getting into these back and forth things with people. Btw I really like your threads that you post!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, it depends on how you use them. If you are using them as a means to pull the horse's head in and to give a false appearance of being 'on the bit', then use they are a shortcut and the horse will learn to work hollow and probably behind the bit.

                          But that's not the only way to use them.

                          They are helpful with horses who have no concept of working with a lowered neck, and who don't have a schooled response to contact (e.g. they come further above the bit when contact is taken up). Sure, you could apply contact and wait (and wait, and wait, sometimes) for the horse to guess the right answer then reward that, but draw reins allow you to provide a massive hint and guide the horse in the right direction, reducing the time spent working incorrectly and being confused.

                          Always ride with normal reins as well as draw reins so you can use the draw reins only when needed, and hold the draw reins slightly looser. When the horse inverts, the extra length of rein needed will help engage the draw reins, and you can give a squeeze with your little finger if needed. As he lowers his head in response, soften the contact forward so that he can stretch forward and down and isn't forced to tuck his head down and in. That's the key to using them effectively rather than badly.

                          Don't use them to force the head to stay low - try to work on a kind contact with your snaffle rein, and only use the draw reins when needed (mainly through letting the horse 'hit' them through his own resistance). I can't imagine you would need them intermittently for more than a couple of rides to re-school the horse, then tuck them back in your tack truck for the couple of years until needed again to provide initial guidance to the next badly schooled project.

                          Edited to add: Drawreins don't have to be a shortcut (if used as above). Sometimes they are the most efficient and kind way to get a horse working properly - but only if you are using them briefly to get the horse from 'completely wrong' to 'more or less along the right lines'.

                          Disclaimer: They shouldn't be used regularly, or by uneducated hands etc.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thank you!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kalidascope View Post
                              Well, it depends on how you use them. If you are using them as a means to pull the horse's head in and to give a false appearance of being 'on the bit', then use they are a shortcut and the horse will learn to work hollow and probably behind the bit.

                              But that's not the only way to use them.

                              They are helpful with horses who have no concept of working with a lowered neck, and who don't have a schooled response to contact (e.g. they come further above the bit when contact is taken up). Sure, you could apply contact and wait (and wait, and wait, sometimes) for the horse to guess the right answer then reward that, but draw reins allow you to provide a massive hint and guide the horse in the right direction, reducing the time spent working incorrectly and being confused.

                              Always ride with normal reins as well as draw reins so you can use the draw reins only when needed, and hold the draw reins slightly looser. When the horse inverts, the extra length of rein needed will help engage the draw reins, and you can give a squeeze with your little finger if needed. As he lowers his head in response, soften the contact forward so that he can stretch forward and down and isn't forced to tuck his head down and in. That's the key to using them effectively rather than badly.

                              Don't use them to force the head to stay low - try to work on a kind contact with your snaffle rein, and only use the draw reins when needed (mainly through letting the horse 'hit' them through his own resistance). I can't imagine you would need them intermittently for more than a couple of rides to re-school the horse, then tuck them back in your tack truck for the couple of years until needed again to provide initial guidance to the next badly schooled project.

                              Edited to add: Drawreins don't have to be a shortcut (if used as above). Sometimes they are the most efficient and kind way to get a horse working properly - but only if you are using them briefly to get the horse from 'completely wrong' to 'more or less along the right lines'.

                              Disclaimer: They shouldn't be used regularly, or by uneducated hands etc.
                              Great explanation
                              Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Agree, very good explanation.

                                They truly aren't ALWAYS a short cut. I don't use them often but have used them in the past to help horses learn to stretch forward and down. I have even had success teaching horses that want to tuck in their nose behind the bit and get up and down to work into the contact more. The secret is Never be the one that applies pressure on the drawrein. The horse is the one that applies pressure on the DR. They are helpful in being able to keep contact while the horse stretches out and down- it is easy to just let them slide a bit to follow - can be more consistent to the horse than trying to follow with a static rein that doesn't slide.

                                That being said, they really aren't for every rider or every horse. I don't use them a lot but have found them helpful for some horses that just didn't have a clue what to do with contact.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Yeah, draw reins are often used as a short cut but they aren't meant to be used thusly. My old jumper was a PITA and if he had draws on we could have a productive flat. It gave him a sense of boundary, I think, because he didn't fight them and seemed to enjoy his work much more once he softened and actually came up through his back. Other than that, I didn't and don't use them, but I know how to and I have no problem having them as a tool in my toolkit.

                                  If I was not experienced in them I would not use draw reins without getting good instruction first. They can create a lot of problems that are really hard to fix- I've seen and ridden enough horses who have clearly been ridden in draws improperly way too much. The false frame they can create (when used incorrectly) is absolutely not useful for longterm soundness and/or or for a jumper.

                                  Actually, the only time I think draws are appropriate as a short cut is in situations like after a big grand prix, when the winners come back out for their ribbons and a victory lap. A lot of times most if not all of them have draws on for this part, to lend some control and civility to the proceedings. If I had just piloted a GP horse around I would want a bit of extra leverage, especially when I was asking the horse to stand in a line and then canter nicely in a circle with a bunch of other GP horses!
                                  You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The only time I've ever used them was on the OTTBs that went around with a locked jaw and head high up in the air, bolting with me. Otherwise, I've never used them.

                                    However, in the times that I've needed them (just to show them the way down to the ground), I've always kept a loop in the draw rein and held them like a pelham - that way, the only time they've activated is when they stick their heads up in the air like a camel. Lots and lots and LOTS of leg to push them back onto the bit. Don't ever use them for jumping - at the schooling show this past weekend, i saw a girl using them, and I was terrified that her horse would put his front legs in-between and catch himself. As it turns out, her horse was balled up in front of the jumps and caught quite a few rails behind, so I think she would have been better off without them.
                                    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                                    So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You've had some good responses here.

                                      Personally, I don't use draw reins to "fix" or "train" anything; I'm more likely to use lunging in sidereins for those purposes. When I've used DR, it's been for control, in the interest of safety; such as a fit UL horse rehabbing from injury, or the first few rides on a confirmed bolter-and-bucker. In these cases, the draw reins limit the horse's ability to Get Away from the rider, in a scenario when you can't afford to lose control (the horse or rider is likely to get hurt).
                                      “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                                      ? Albert Einstein

                                      ~AJ~

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        They are a tool for a skilled rider, just like some kinds of bits and different exercises for the horse. In the wrong hands, they can be detrimental and a crutch. Kalidascope described it very well.
                                        Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

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