Draw Reins - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-31-2012, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Question Draw Reins

I use draw reins on my horse and it has been said that if you use them correctly that it is a good tool. Now when i use them in a french link full cheek snaffle, she will go behind the bit and curl up her neck. I try to put more leg on her to prevent this, but its not working. Should i take off the draw reins and do the flat without or keep the draws on and ignore it. (when i ride my mare in draws, i keep them very long and not shorter than my snaffle rein) Thanks
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-31-2012, 10:34 AM
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Welcome to the Forum!

I have ridden with draw reins. Once I switched trainers I realized that they don't really solve all of the world's problems.

If I were you I would get her off of them. I have seen so many horses ruined by them (ie. horse looks great with them on and falls apart when they are off). Definately do not ignore her going behind the bit.

Work on getting your horse to come to the bit properly, then there will be no need for such gadgets!
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-31-2012, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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My mare is really hard to get onto the bit and it doesn't matter how much leg you put on her or how much you collect her, she won't get onto the bit and puts her head high in the sky. How can i get her into that frame to help her topline and back?
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-31-2012, 02:45 PM
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I have never used draw reins. I am not a big believer in gadgets and quick fixes, I do believe in proper schooling and taking as much time as the horse needs. It is very easy to ruin a horse with them. They may have a place in the hands of a very accomplished rider with very good feel and timing in their hands, but even then they are not used to replace proper schooling.

You will need to go back to basics with your horse. First off you are going to have to forget about where her head is and in what position it is in. You are going to have to work on getting her relaxed and moving her forwards. I would spend a lot of time just riding her on a nice long rein and letting her move forwards, forget about her head, get her to relax and let her move forwards, she should soon start stretching her neck down and forwards maybe even start seeking a light contact. Take as much time as she needs for this to happen, it could be a day, a week a month she will let you now when she is ready. Only then can you begin to start thinking about your contact.

Do you ever take her out in the fields or trails for rides? If you do and you have access to some, it may be a good place to ride her, she will most likely go forwards and more relaxed naturally on her own than in the ring or arena.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-31-2012, 02:50 PM
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You could also set out ground poles all around your riding area and ride her over them on a long rein, it can help her to stretch her neck forwards and down.
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-31-2012, 06:07 PM
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Draw reins, like a German Martingale, are both very useful tools in the hands of a good trainer and are a nothing more than an ineffective gimmick in the hands of a novice.

When used sparingly on tough horses that have been poorly ridden by bad riders, they can really help to get a spoiled horse back to thinking right and not fighting their rider. Used any other way, they just teach a horse to duck behind the bit and dump over on their forehand. Both are worse habits to correct then the original problem of traveling high headed and hollow backed.

I have used gag bits very effectively to get horses working right that have learned to duck behind the bit. Again, they should be used sparingly and gotten off the horse as soon as it learns to come up to the rider's hands.

I would use lateral exercises like 'leg yields' and two-tracks to get the horse back to using its hind end and back. It is difficult for a horse to 'fold up' and yield to a rider's single leg and rein at the same time. Leg yielding exercises and circles with reverse bend will work every time, especially in a gag bit.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-31-2012, 06:17 PM
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Ditch them. If the end result is her sucking back behind the contact, regardless of the various debates about draw reins, they are not working for this horse. Fixing a horse that ducks contact is very difficult. You now have to back the truck up and encourage this horse to stretch and seek the contact. Lots of forward motion and big circles to get this horse thinking outside rein.
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-01-2012, 07:19 AM
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I agree with Cherie and all that she has said.
The problem with draw reins is that the not so experienced rider had the horses head in the correct position but the hocks are still in the next county.

Ditch them and learn how to get the horse on the bridle from your seat and legs.

I will say I have a horse here that goes as if he is on the bridle but he isn't. He was ridden in draw reins a lot and my biggest problem is to get him to work long and low.
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-01-2012, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by rubyhorse View Post
My mare is really hard to get onto the bit and it doesn't matter how much leg you put on her or how much you collect her, she won't get onto the bit and puts her head high in the sky. How can i get her into that frame to help her topline and back?
Time and teaching.

It can take some time for a horse to learn to carry themselves on the bit. It also takes good riding, muscle/fitness and balance. These don't happen overnight. Draw reins give immediate satisfaction. That's a big reason why people like them. Horse looks good in no time flat with no teaching.

She can do it but you both need to work at it.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-01-2012, 12:27 PM
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Ditto: Ditch them! Generally just bad over all for the horse. Making a horse do something and teaching a horse to do something are NOT the same thing.
Plus, the problems you will install by using them will far out-weigh any benefits you think you're getting quickly.
The horse will start shutting down mentally because there is no escape and then you're in real trouble. And, the stride will continue to get shorter and shorter. Trouble all around you.
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