Why do you need 2 reins... and those weird bits...
 
 

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Why do you need 2 reins... and those weird bits...

This is a discussion on Why do you need 2 reins... and those weird bits... within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Why do dressage riders have to sets of reins
  • Pelham double bridle

 
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    05-13-2009, 07:05 PM
  #1
Foal
Question Why do you need 2 reins... and those weird bits...

I`m really just curious. I have never been to a dressage competition, but I do a lot of dressage movements in my ring riding (simple stuff like leg yield, flexes, bends, half passes, turns on haunches, etc). I have never ridden with anything other than a simple snaffle (even when riding western). Partially because I learned to ride with a snaffle, and I`ve just always used a snaffle. Really I don't know much about bits, except that some are harsher than others and some are made to fix specific problems etc. I guess I`ve never looked into it because I`ve never had a need to switch away from a snaffle. My question is though, what are the double bridles for. As far as I know you can either have 2 bits with 2 reins or a bit with two places for reins. Do each of the reins give different cues. Is it something that is neccesary to achieve more advanced moves. Do you half halt them all seperately..
     
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    05-13-2009, 07:14 PM
  #2
Showing
Dressage requires very very fine communication on a very small scale. Getting a horse to perform advanced movements without looking like you're doing anything is a difficult task.
The idea behind a double bridle is that the horse is carrying 2 bits in its mouth - one snaffle, called a bradoon, and one curb bit, called a weymouth.
The horse SHOULD be ridden on the snaffle 90% of the time without the curb engaged.
The curb rein comes into play when you need that little extra "listen to me" finesse that comes with some of the more advanced moves.



The second bit you are referring to, the single bit with two places for reins, is called a Pelham, and is illegal to use in the dressage ring. The difficulty with a pelham is that they don't convey crystal clear signals because you are using one bit for both snaffle and curb reins, so you will always have a little of each even if you're just trying to engage one rein.

Regarding half-halting, sometimes you do need to half halt on both weymouth and snaffle reins, but as I stated earlier, a horse should be ridden on the snaffle rein for the majority of the ride.
     
    05-13-2009, 07:21 PM
  #3
Foal
That's really interesting. I always wondered the same thing. I have never ridden dressage, but I always wondered when I would see it on TV. It is a beautiful sport though and I love to watch!
     
    05-13-2009, 07:44 PM
  #4
Weanling
Wikipedia has a wonderful description. :)
Double bridle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
    05-13-2009, 08:18 PM
  #5
Trained
You don't half halt with the reins, sorry kids :P

Otherwise JDIs description was good. I would just like to add that most of the time, in a properly used double the snaffle and curb are going to have contact. It is considered a serious fault to be hanging on any rein, especially the curb, but letting the curb rein hang loose is also a fault. Really, the double bridle just seperates the aids and makes the front end more accessable with much less movement in the rider's hands.
     
    05-13-2009, 08:59 PM
  #6
Foal
Anebel... how do you half halt. I was taught a half halt involves deepening your seat, sponging the rein. Then again, I had a cheap 20$ an hour hunter coach who had taught me to stick my bum out while posting.

So essentially, could those advanced moves be performed without the double bridle, even if it meant the rider having to move. (I realise that this would be of no use in a competition). Not that I plan on stressing out my horse with more advanced moves, I`m just trying to understand the concept really.
     
    05-13-2009, 09:11 PM
  #7
Trained
You half halt with your body. It is really tough to explain the half halt over the internet, but basically you are rebalancing the horse, asking it to come onto it's haunches while becoming more active in the hindlegs. Because pulling on the reins nearly immediatly halts any hind end activity, by doing that during a half halt you are basically screwing yourself. If I ever get a video of me riding I'll find a half half and post it.

Yes, in fact there is a controversy over that whole thing in the FEI right now. Double Bridles are currently mandatory at most FEI levels (Juniors, Young Riders, PSG, I1, I2 and GP) and this restricts some horses from competition who can't handle a double bridle. Because we are breeding horses more sensitive, many of them don't need the double, or go completely screwy with it on.
Still, even in the snaffle, the rider should not have to drastically change position to get a different aid.
     
    05-13-2009, 09:13 PM
  #8
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by horselover85    
anebel... how do you half halt. I was taught a half halt involves deepening your seat, sponging the rein. Then again, I had a cheap 20$ an hour hunter coach who had taught me to stick my bum out while posting.
Take a read of the portion I had mentioned about half halts here

My Article part 1

Quote:
Throughout all of this training it is imperative the rider understand the half-halt and the halt. To explain them I offer this.

The halt is achieved by the deepening of the riders seat and stimulation of the horses hindquarters to reach forward and underneath his body, thus accepting a greater load of weight. The stimulation is the result of the riders leg pressure on both sides of the horses body causing the "lifting" of the spine to meet the rider's seat.

The rider will keep his upper body straight and push through the small of his back into passive and sustaining hands. They will accept any pull on the reins if necessary and remain unchanged. Once halted the rider allow a slight relaxation of the upper body and at the same time will advance the hands slightly to give the horse a period of relaxation. This relaxation is a vital part of the training process because without them nervousness and restlessness will set in. Any roughness or excessive action on the part of the rider will cause the failure of a soft and fluid stop.

In the half halts the method is the same with the sole difference being that the hands will allow the motion to continue. In this case the driving controls will outweigh the restraining ones.

As far as half-halts it is the one subject that seems to create endless discussions and usually ending in no one being any the wiser than before. When you go to forums dealing specifically with dressage and you still see the endless pages of discussions by well known trainers and no real resolution then we are in good company.

Different trainers create descriptions of what it is and what it does to the point that we appear to be entering a country with a different language. Combine this with its use that will vary as the horse progress causes its interpretation to be based on one horses reaction. However when applied equally to another the cause and effect can differ greatly.

On the basic level the half-halt is used to signal the horse that a decrease in rate is being asked for. It could also be a signal to improve its balance or lighten the horses weight on the reins.

On the highest level the half halt becomes the merest whisper of controls in that it is created with the seat and hinted at with the reins.
Quote:
Originally Posted by horselover85    
So essentially, could those advanced moves be performed without the double bridle, even if it meant the rider having to move. (I realise that this would be of no use in a competition). Not that I plan on stressing out my horse with more advanced moves, I`m just trying to understand the concept really.
All GP movements can be performed with a snaffle. To bring that sharpness and degree of animation that takes it from the realm of nicely done to expressively done, requires the finesse that only a good rider with understanding leg aids (spurs included) and complemented by the double bridle can bring about.
     
    05-13-2009, 09:21 PM
  #9
Trained
Very good article Spyder!
     
    05-14-2009, 09:22 PM
  #10
Showing
Sorry, was talking about rein contact, but you are correct, you half halt with your body.

Stupid mistake on my part.
     

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