11-11-2013, 08:20 AM
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I never use side reins when riding, bar from older school horses with beginners.
Lunge in them, yes. It helps the horse to drop its head without forching the issue, as tying reins to the girth do.
For a youngster? I wouldn't. I did, once, and the pony reared, lost balance, went down and reared again. THANKfully, did not topple. They aren't balanced enough, and for training a young horse I like to be able to dictate rein length and stretch without having to adjust every two minutes.
If the horse already has a decent head set, why would you put them on?
My four year old was gifted to my trainer. Her niece got on and rode with them on, and the next day I got on and he was extremely reluctant to move his head and neck past the 'fix' position that the side reins give.