This Should Be Interesting: DRAW-REINS - The Horse Forum
View Poll Results: What do you think?
Yes, I'd use/have used them. 23 45.10%
No, I'd never use them. 22 43.14%
I don't know. 4 7.84%
Other answer (please elaborate). 2 3.92%
Voters: 51. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 51 Old 01-08-2010, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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This Should Be Interesting: DRAW-REINS

I'm curious to know what everybody's views are on the use of draw-reins. This will probably start a debate.
...Well, I can guarantee it.

In my classical-dressage nazi opinion, there isn't a single use for them in my training regimen. I haven't, thus far, found an issue that isn't either caused by my riding or can't be fixed by softness and feel. I've only ever seen them mask the issue, only for it to arise when the draw-reins are taken off. I also see often that people don't check for issues like misfitting tack, soundness issues, etcetera. Allow me to highlight the most common/stupidest reasonings I hear from people using them:
  • "My horse is throwing her head." Well, what are you doing with her head in the first place? When a horse is throwing it's head, it can be caused by misfitting/unsuitable tack, pain or neurological problems, or something you are doing.
  • "I'm trying to teach him not to flip out in transitions and stuff." Or, you can let him find his balance with time and care while maintaining forward. You're only closing the front door here and discouraging him from doing so.
  • "He bolts." Do you want him to do a forward roll? Why is he bolting in the first place? To escape something, perchance?
  • "He rears." Well, Captain ******, you now sail on the Fail-Boat.
  • "I'm teaching her to go round." ...Don't even get me started. Read here, thank-you.
  • "She won't listen to my hand." I wonder why. And you think increasing the hand aid will make her listen?
  • "He's a stallion!" Okay...? And your point is...?
  • "It tells him I'm the boss." You aren't the boss, you are his partner. And submission through harshness does not equal respect.
  • Countless other reasons...
Perhaps I've only seen the crappy side of things, perhaps not. But if somebody could tell me a good reason for using them, or a good result coming from them, then do tell. Not that I'll ever use them anyways. But, best to learn!
And, of course, I'd like to hear your opinions. I'd also like to hear stupid reasonings you've heard from people using them as well, to add a little entertainment to this thread! ~

sing mε a blazing northεrn sky.

Last edited by dressagexlee; 01-08-2010 at 12:21 AM.
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post #2 of 51 Old 01-08-2010, 12:31 AM
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I agree and you could substitute draw tie-downs or martingales for draw reins and the excuses would all be the same. I voted for "I'd never use them" but it should have been "I have never used them". I guess there is a possibility that I would use them if I thought it would really help a horse and I was out of other ideas but I have ridden many many horses and have not needed them yet.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #3 of 51 Old 01-08-2010, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Yes. There is sometimes that unorthodox horse, hm? Sometimes when all else fails, that may be what makes it click in their head. ...But, I've never seen it or heard about it, at least not from somebody who actually knows what they are doing.

sing mε a blazing northεrn sky.
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post #4 of 51 Old 01-08-2010, 12:37 AM
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I agree with what both of you have said. Most of the time if a horse acts up with me I look to figure out what I did wrong to cause it, because it normally is me. If its not I work to start fixing it immediately.

P.S. i love the he is a stallion. My step-dad's stallion rides as nice as any gelding because it is And if not a quick reprimand is enough to remind him, no need to add more equipment.

Last edited by SmoothTrails; 01-08-2010 at 12:39 AM.
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post #5 of 51 Old 01-08-2010, 12:52 AM
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i think they do more harm then good truthfully.

i also hate when people use them to 'set his head'

Gypsy & Scout <3
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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post #6 of 51 Old 01-08-2010, 01:00 AM
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LOL - I opened this thread expecting to see someone wanting to use draw-reins to help get their horse "on the bit"

This was going to be my response:

I would never use draw-reins
- they force the horse into a outline so that the real problem is being masked
- not only is the head position forced but it is also an overbent version of where the horses head should be
- it is soley a quick fix for a horse that is not working correctly
- it encourages the horse to fall on the forehand and lean downwards on the reins, which is the complete opposite of what you want (being a horse soft in the hands and in self-carriage)

To summarize: The design of draw-reins means they cannot possibly be encouraging the horse to work correctly, therefore they should never be used as a training aid.

If you have trouble getting the horses head down/round/on the bit - it is almost NEVER the head that needs to be fixed, it is the horses way of going ;)
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post #7 of 51 Old 01-08-2010, 02:23 AM
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In the past 25 years riding I have never used them
On my 8 horses now I don't use them
In the future I shall never use them

enough said
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post #8 of 51 Old 01-08-2010, 06:54 AM
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In general, I dislike them for all the reasons already mentioned. I particularly dislike being able to look across a schooling area and see, from a hundred yards away, the false head set created by their use. We used to derisively refer to them as "chambon heads."

IF someone rides with tact and feel, and can release the rein pressure as soon as the horse gives, they can be used without negative effect, but of course a rider with that kind of tact and feel can accomplish the same result without draw reins.

I have used them only twice, out of frustration, with OTTBs who were so confirmed in traveling inverted and hollow that no other training method I could find was successful in influencing their way of going. I found that lunging in a surcingle with a draw rein running from high on the surcingle, through a loose ring snaffle and then through the forelegs for gradualling increasing amounts of time helpful. (Both horses mentioned continued traveling inverted and above the bit in donut side reins.) This setup *does* release as soon as the horse gives, and started some muscling on their topline that made it easier for them to go correctly under saddle. I liked the lunging because it allowed me to see how they were using their backs and hindends. I also used this method for about 4 - 6 weeks; once I had made a chink in the hollow/inverted/braced habit we went on from their using conventional methods. I rode in the draw reins them a couple of times and found it was way too easy to abuse them or muddle the "you give, I give" message.

Am I endorsing this method? Not really. As I said, it was out of frustration and after exhausting all the other, non gadget driven, methods I prefer. Somewhere there may have been a rider or trainer so tactful and so consistent that they could have reschooled these horses with a plain snaffle bridle, but I couldn't find them and or learn to be them.
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post #9 of 51 Old 01-08-2010, 07:28 AM
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I have used them, and i have no problems with them, i have problems with how PEOPLE USE them. they can be very bad and unforgiving if they arent used correctly. Alot of people use them as an excuse and easy way to get the horse into the 'right' head position. I used them for my first horse who was a tb that would throw his head up and almost hit me in the nose, then he would carry it that way. I was quite little but i always used them uder the eye of my instructor or my mom, never alone. I like them because you can let them out and release the hrose so quickly.

i like them when used properly, any training tool can be used improperly.

If there are no horses in heaven... im not going.
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post #10 of 51 Old 01-08-2010, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by kevinshorses View Post
I agree and you could substitute draw tie-downs or martingales for draw reins and the excuses would all be the same. I voted for "I'd never use them" but it should have been "I have never used them". I guess there is a possibility that I would use them if I thought it would really help a horse and I was out of other ideas but I have ridden many many horses and have not needed them yet.
Took the words right out of my mouth. Never used them, probably never will unless there's some odd situation where nothing else has gotten any kind of response from the horse, and any physical reason for the horse's issues had been ruled out.

I also agree with ridergirl. Draw reins are just that: a tool. Its the hands on them that make them good or bad. If used at all, best used by very experienced hands, or under the supervision of a very experienced coach or trainer.

I have seen way too many "testimonial" pictures of inverted, strung-out horses supposedly reformed by draw reins. 9 out of 10 were overbent, behind the vertical, and heavy on the forehand.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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