Draw/Sliding Reins - Uses & Abuses

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Draw/Sliding Reins - Uses & Abuses

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  • 1 Post By Jierda

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    05-14-2012, 03:34 PM
Question Draw/Sliding Reins - Uses & Abuses

Just looking to get some information on draw reins. I'm just curious if they do have a place and time or if they are just never acceptable? Does there use differ from english to western? I've used them once, under the supervision of my coach, in a year's worth of weekly lessons. Thank you so much for your imput!!
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    05-14-2012, 03:35 PM
I've never had to use them and am strongly opposed to people/trainers that use them as a shortcut/gadget. However, I think there IS a time and a place for them. I just haven't been there.
    05-14-2012, 03:40 PM
Originally Posted by equiniphile    
I've never had to use them and am strongly opposed to people/trainers that use them as a shortcut/gadget. However, I think there IS a time and a place for them. I just haven't been there.
I agree, that's why I added how often i've used them. Say once out of 50 lessons? My coach did explain the "stigma" about them being naturally evil in all situations, but also explained that they do have a use, and a time and place. Just wondering some more opisions on the same.

Thanks Equiniphile!
    05-14-2012, 05:03 PM
Originally Posted by equiniphile    
I've never had to use them and am strongly opposed to people/trainers that use them as a shortcut/gadget. However, I think there IS a time and a place for them. I just haven't been there.
Agreed. I've never seen my trainer use shortcuts with any of the horses she has trained & she works with some difficult horses. She did break them out to use on a mare of hers who she was having difficulties with. I can't remember what the exact reasons where right now, but I know she'd never have used them if it wasn't absolutely necessary to accomplish something else.
    05-14-2012, 06:57 PM
Can anyone describe what a "proper" use for draw reains would be? What do you hope to accomplish?
    05-14-2012, 07:15 PM
I believe my trainer was using them to get proper flexion from the mare while being able to focus on pushing her up & forward into the bridle. She had to ride this mare with two dressage whips on both sides to get her to go in a straight line >.> This mare was like a weasel.
    05-14-2012, 07:42 PM
Draw reins, when used correctly, help to teach a horse to collect and be on the bit. If a horse doesn't have a lot of strength or is in any way used to carrying themselves collected, it can take a lot of out them because it forces them to carry themselves differently than their muscles are used to. They would clip to the girth between the front legs and clip to the bit to run next to the regular reins. They are held with some tension, to help draw the head down to just in front of the vertical, but NOT to crank the head down into rollkur. You do not want the horse to break at the poll. Rather, you want the horse to hold themself and not lean into the draw reins, so no cranking! Draw reins require a very, very, very soft hand to use.

My instructor has had me use them a couple of times, but very sparingly and only when she was trying to teach me to teach a horse to collect with a rider. I think my instructor wanted me to know how to properly use them, because for a long while, I had a fear of using harsh tools with horses (whips, spurs, etc). I don't claim to know how to use them properly or well, and I would only use them under this specific instructors supervision.

Another method with similar effect, is using bungee cords while lunging them. Also to be used sparingly, but again, it has a similar effect.
    05-15-2012, 10:28 AM
Anyone else??
    05-19-2012, 04:03 PM
As far as I know, with draw reins you create another attachment for you to use between the horse and the horse's girth. This way, you cannot just control the length of the reins, but also the space you give your horse to lift his head. It gives you the opportunity to tell your horse exactly where to put his head. What you have to watch for while using these is that the horse will eventually tire, especially if you are using the draw reins to train the upper neck muscles that the horse uses for a 'correct' headset (in quotation marks because there is no one correct headset). When a horse tires, just like your own muscles, it will start hurting and protesting. Most people do not realise this and only start using their draw reins more - this is how you ruin a horse both physically and mentally. So if you use draw reins to do something with your horse it isn't used to - start with them as long as possible to get the horse used to it and only ride with it for 15 minutes at a time, then give your horse a break.

One thing I am definitely against is to use the draw reins without a normal set of reins. The idea of draw reins is that you can ask your horse to flex down, when the horse does, the draw reins should be SLACK (if you see anyone using tight draw reins for more than a few minutes to get the horse to see the point, they are using them wrong). Now if you happen to be using just draw reins, every single cue you will give with the reins will not only end up in the mouth, but it will also pull the horse's head down like it's on a pulley. Often I see people lunging their horses with double sliding lunge lines, where the horse has the chin almost on the chest. Is there any good or any point in this? Absolutely not. IF you were to use a draw rein like that, whether riding or lunging, your horse needs to be absolutely responsive to the bit and give on the lightest touch, so you won't need more than a light touch (and won't keep pulling the horse down). The thing is, if your horse is that responsive, why use a draw rein at all?
While lunging, the thing is imo completely useless, as you do not have the defined control you have with draw reins while riding. You can just as easy use fastened sliding side reins, the rope Joidigm talked about, which I have used a lot and with great success. They are great, as long as you don't pull them too tight. The point of them is that the horse can control its own headset in an area you will set out for him with the tightness of the rope. This way, they can lift their head (to the bounds of the rope) when asked to collect or extend, and drop it when you allow them to relax. It's much of an approvement over single sidereins with the rubber ring in the middle - with those the horse can only assume one comfortable head-neck position without overbending its neck.

Hope this helps you (:
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