Pessoa and other "balance" training systems - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Pessoa and other "balance" training systems

I am looking for opinions on the Pessoa or other Balance training systems similar to this one at dover Balance Complete Training System | Dover Saddlery

All opinions welcome. How do they work? Do they really help the horse learn to use their back? Are they user friendly especially for a horse who does not know how to move with forwardness or impulsion yet? Do they work best with a bit in use with them, or caveson only? Are there models that "bump" the horse's mouth? I have seen some where the strap that goes behind them is also attached to the lines that go to the mouth making it bump the mouth with each stride and I have seen some that attach to the surcingle separately. Is there anybody who makes up their own similar setup themselves that they think is better, and how do you set it up?

I am really interested in this equipment but as I have no knowledge or experience with them I want to learn as much about the pros, cons etc before going this direction. My current trainer doesn't use them herself, but she isn't against her students using them either if they use them correctly and if the situation wit the horse warrants it. Her trainer in Germany did use them on some green horses.

Thank you for your input.
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 02:36 PM
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My vet actually gave me one of these to help my horse rehab from his back issues. I've used it for 2 weeks so far and have seen an amazing difference in the development in his back muscles and his poise. He went from being too weak and painful to hold a rider on his back to automatically holding himself round and strong enough to hold a rider again.

The Balance training system is the same thing as the Pessoa except way cheaper. I think at Schneiders you can just buy the breeching system and pulleys if you already have a surcingle and caveson/bridle. I don't use the caveson and bit it came with since it is crap. The snaffle it comes with is longer on one side than the other so I just use my own bridle and bit. They can be either really helpful or really harmful depending on if they're used correctly or not. Having it too tight will make them painful and stuck behind the bit and having it too loose will cause it to bump against the horse. Have a second person help you adjust it so the whole apparatus is taut and even on both sides. This way I've never had a problem with it bumping my horse or not keeping my horse forward (well he was already forward to begin with). The instructions it comes with aren't really instructions but just pictures of the different levels you can set it on. I went on to Youtube and looked at some videos so I could figure it out.

It's a tough workout and can really make their muscles sore at first. I think most people who ride maybe use it 1-2x a week. I have my horse on it 3x a week and it makes him really tired going in it for about 20 min right now. I keep it on the longest, lowest setting to work his back. I'm typically an anti-gadget person and I was reluctant to use it at first knowing my horse has had bad history with gadgets in the past. But overall I'm very impressed with the improvement he has made with it in such a short amount of time. People at my barn keep asking me if they can use it for their horse too after I meticulously spent so much time perfecting the adjustments on my own horse. XD
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 04:01 PM
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I do not think this is an appropriate tool for the level that you and your horse are at right now. I don't like them for 99% of horses anyway (won't say there is absolutely no place for them, but instances where they are appropriate are rare), but certainly not for a horse who has yet to achieve forwardness. They are difficult to get adjusted correctly, particularly if you do not have a very experienced person to guide you, and an incorrectly adjusted Pessoa will create a whole host of problems. I also do not believe that this is a good tool for *teaching* a horse to use its back - to the extent the Pessoa has an appropriate use, it is strengthening the back of a more trained horse who already knows what is being asked of him.

I do not mean any disrespect, but your side reins video a while back showed that you are not yet ready to use side reins correctly in your lunging program, and the Pessoa is 1000x more complicated (and more disastrous if used incorrectly) than side reins. Focus on your riding and enjoy your horse; save tools like this for well on down the road, if ever.
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 05:59 PM
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My instructor loves using her Pessoa on horses that need to learn how to better balance themselves and get their hind legs more under them. However, she knows how to use it properly and although she's let me use it in the past, she's taught me and I usually prefer to have her there anyways.

Indie might be having her first session in it, or side reins, this coming Wednesday during my lesson.. since I don't know how she'll react and I trust my instructor to know how to handle anything that may arise.

So I definitely agree with the people above.

Forever loved, never forgotten; my beautiful Indie. <3 Hoofprints on my heart.
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 07:43 PM
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Draft, you've obviously not seen them used properly.

They are very useful tool for building muscle in young horses and encouraging using thier back end and rounding thier backs. If adjusted properly ou can have them in a long low outline and learning to balance themselves.

It is also very useful with horses who bolt as they end up pulling against themselves and not you which means you can hang on and the horses learn that bolting doesnt get them anwhere.

Obviously they need to be used properly and I stronly feel that if you cant longrein effectivly then you shouldn't be using one but they are a very valuable tool.
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RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

Last edited by faye; 10-28-2012 at 07:45 PM.
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 08:12 PM
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I have seen them adjusted properly, but I am still of the opinion that they are not appropriate for a horse that does not have any concept of engagement yet. I am entitled to my opinion, as you are to yours.
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post #7 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 08:45 PM
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As we all already know, I love the Pessoa system. I have yet to not have positive results with it.

That said. Unless you are properly trained in using it, you can cause more issues then you started with.
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thank you all for your input, it really does help me to think this thoroughly. Draft, have you seen the lunge video I posted less than a week ago or are you talking about the one from a few months ago?
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-29-2012, 10:30 AM
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Google Linda Tellington-Jones. She uses a similar system and explains why she does. The difference is she just uses wide tensor bandage. It provides gentle yet firm pressure. it's worth checking out.
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-29-2012, 01:30 PM
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I dont have any opinions except that when i horses back was sore my vet suggested i look into getting one. I never did find one and he healed up fine. but yeah lol

Beauty is not diminished by those who refuse to see, hear,feel or in any way sense it. If you refuse to see beauty its you who is weakened.
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