Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,627• Horses: 7
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First you'll need to get your horse tacked up. If you happen to have a surcingle, you can use that - if not, you can get one for about $25 from Dover, and possibly less off of eBay. Of course, you also don't have to buy that - you can always just tack your horse up with his saddle pad, saddle, and girth, and the side reins will attach around the billets of the saddle. You will also need to bridle your horse, and remove the reins. (If he wears any kind of curb bit, you'll also want to leave off the curb chain).Hope that's not too confusing. :)
As far as buying your side reins (if you don't have any). I prefer the ones with donuts, like these ones.
Either way, once you have your horse's saddle or surcingle, and bridle on, grab your lunge line, whip, and side reins and head to your arena (or any flat, well-drained area). The side reins hook from the bit (the back of the snap should be facing out) to the surcingle loops or underneath the billets of the saddle, and then comes back on itself to buckle. You'll want to start off using them on the longest setting, so your horse can get used to the feeling of them. After he's trotted three or four circles around you with them on the longest setting, you can move them up one or two more, so that when he raises his head, the side reins cause contact on the bit, and the contact goes away when he stretches down. In that way, it should quickly become clear to him that it is easier and more comfortable to reach down, than to resist the pressure from the side reins.
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