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Use Of Neck Stretcher

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  • Use Of Neck Stretcher


    Thoughts? I think it may really help Chester, and one of my Facebook friends uses it/loves it. Anyone else have feedback?
    Proud member of the COTH Junior (and Junior-at-Heart!) clique!

  • #2
    I use neck stretchers on all of my horses. The key is to make sure they are long enough that they can reach down and out. You don't want it set up so that when they try to reach down and stretch and round that they are forced to go behind the bit. I use those more then sidereins. I teach all my students how to use them, and you wouldn't believe the difference in how the horses use themselve, the muscle build up, and how much more round they go. I will note I have never used the dover one. I made ours out of surgical tubing as it has a lot of stretch and I can just grab the right size for that horse.


    • #3
      Good tool in some instances. But if you don't know how to use it, I would recommend holding off until you can get a demo from an experienced trainer. Then you can evaluate whether it will help your horse or if another method would be more appropriate.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pasha View Post
        Good tool in some instances. But if you don't know how to use it, I would recommend holding off until you can get a demo from an experienced trainer. Then you can evaluate whether it will help your horse or if another method would be more appropriate.
        Very right Pasha. I should have said I show all of my students how to properly use it and work with them a few times before I have them do it on their own. And still every now and then I still every now and then check on how they are doing.


        • #5
          How is this different from a Chambon?
          pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

          Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill


          • #6
            Info on neck stretcher to consider before using:

            GrayCatFarm, the neck stretcher is very different in action from the chambon. The chambon goes from between the horse's front legs to the browband, then down to the bit. It releases pressure with any lowering of the pole and does not really work to affect the head. It encourages lowering and stretching, with bit pressuer that is straight up, so against the corners and not the bars/palate.

            The Chambon is meant for lunging, not for riding. It is not a head set device, but rather meant to stretch out the back (so you want the back free of weight).

            The neck stretcher on the other hand pulls down on the pole and down/back on the mouth. It tends to encourage the horse to break and the third vertebra rather than at the pole.
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


            • #7
              Thank you, CHT!

              Am currently using Chambon on a horse and it does exactly as you said. We start with lunging to remind him that it's there, but we are also using it for riding and for jumping small stuff with trainer supervision. If he doesn't throw his head up, it is not active at all. He is beginning to appreciate that he actually controls the pressure, and it is encouraging him to round with a rider. His upward transitions are greatly improved. Looking forward to the day I can say that about his downward transitions.
              pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

              Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill


              • #8
                Hmmmmmmmmm, with further thought.. are they "his" transitions, "our" transitions or "my" transitions? It is a team effort after all!

                Okay, back to topic.
                pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

                Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Couture TB View Post
                  I use neck stretchers on all of my horses.
                  Originally posted by Couture TB View Post
                  Very right Pasha. I should have said I show all of my students how to properly use it and work with them a few times before I have them do it on their own. And still every now and then I still every now and then check on how they are doing.
                  Hi CoutureTB. Can you elaborate on why you use the neck stretcher on all of your horses? It sounds like you use it every ride as part of the tack, and I'm wondering what you find the utility of it to be for you and your lesson riders.

                  The only time I've ever decided to use a neck stretcher is when I'm lunging a young horse that's going well using voice commands, prior to going to side reins. Personally, I would NEVER ride with this device, so I'm curious if we're talking about the same thing. This is essentially a bungee cord that goes over the poll, through the bit, and attaches underneath the horse at the girth.


                  • #10
                    I have all those tools in my basement too somewhere, a neck stretcher, a chambon, de gogue, harbrdige rein, Abott-Davis training rein,... all are along a similar line.

                    Very important to realize that especially under saddle these things are only of some use when you are sure to have a well forward horse, coz you can end up with the pretty down head set and horse nevertheless not engaging his hindend sufficiently and stepper under deep enough.

                    What bothers me about many of those is that often they are not comfortable to a horse, especially when attached to the girth in between the forelegs. You start cantering and it rubs & hits the chest. You don't see it, coz you are sitting on top, a harbridge always chaffed my horse's chest and it would hit his chest when cantering.

                    And like was mentioned before often those gadgets are not long enough, I know they are not for my 18hh-ers.

                    It's seldom the horse can fully stretch it's neck down to relax on a long rein in between schooling plus if the horse honestly spooks at something, I can tell you the damn gadget is big time in your way, coz it doesn't help you to help the horse relax and overcome the thing that spooked them and because their heads are forced down, restricted to bring head up to look at what's scaring them, it makes them ever more spooky.

                    I'm very okay about them for lunging, not for riding.


                    • #11
                      Here's a C&P of what I wrote recently on the Dressage Forum:

                      I'm venturing over from H/J land since the title caught my eye. Unfortunately I think the neck stretchers are a bit too popular over here so I've seen them widely used. I have one in my bag of tricks that I will break out on rare occasions to give the horse a "frame of reference". I start the ride with it loose so he can feel the movement but absolutley no restriction even if there was a giraffe impression. After a 5-10 minute walk warm up I adjust it down, walk another minute or two for the horse to get accustomed to the feel then start the trot work. I've found that the horses tend to seek the steady contact of the neck stretcher and when properly adjusted for the individual it gives them soft boundaries to help them understand where to place their body. At most I'll do maybe 15 minutes of trot work in the stretcher then take it off, thereby allowing the horse to "remember" the feel of where the stretcher put him without it acting as a boundary. I won't put a stretcher on a horse if I can't make it totally loose, usually I'll create a baling twine loop if I need to fit the behemoths. I absolutely won't even try a neck stretcher or draw reins on a horse who tends to curl behind when they get concerned, I feel that the neck stretcher causes them to worry about being blocked so they curl up even worse. Anyway, might not be the most typical H/J use of the neck stretcher, but then I did spend a couple years under a dressage coach before returning to the Hunters.

                      "Beware the hobby that eats."
                      Benjamin Franklin