neck relaxer?
 
 

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neck relaxer?

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  • Whatis a neck relaxer horse
  • Horse relaxers

 
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    09-29-2008, 09:48 AM
  #1
Foal
neck relaxer?

At the ranch where I board my horse, the BO uses what I believe to be a neck relaxer on two of her horses. When I first saw this I didnt know what it was being out of the horse world for about 15 years. She told me it was to encourage them to carry themselves the right way. She called it a bungee?

Anyway I have had my horse for 3 months now, and I have been working on collection. I ride him about 5-6 days a week. We were doing great and everyday improving more and more. But recently I have been having a problem keeping him collected, especially in the canter. I decided to try and use the neck relaxer on my horse to see how he did, I had it very loose at first to see how he reacted. He was fine with it and slowly I would shorten it up but never too short cause this was the first time, and he was great! I used it agian two days later and I loved it! My horse didnt seem to mind either.

I noticed he was more sweaty after our workout, probly cause he is using all his muscles correctly.

But now Im having doubts if its the right thing to use and before I use it for a 3rd time I wanted to ask you guys what you think of neck relaxers? Are they good, bad?

When I ride him with it, I keep my reins loose almost to the buckle.
I have noticed when I don't use it and im struggling to get him to collect, I pull on his mouth more then I should, so I thought this would be good for him.

Please help me, I want to make sure it is safe and the right thing to use, I don't want to use anything to harm him.

Thanks!
     
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    09-29-2008, 11:50 AM
  #2
Showing
I'm not a great believer in training aids as a quick fix so perhaps someone else who has used one could tell you how it works.

What I am a believer in is obtaining results with proper training methods - and they are certainly more time consuming to do it that way but they stick. Even with the devise you are using, you still need to maintain contact with your horse's mouth. Riding him on the buckle while having the "relaxer" in place will not translate to the proper head carriage once you remove it. Try riding him in a training fork (English it's called a running martingale). That way you still need to maintain contact for it to be effective. I would also try riding with softer hands since you mentioned that you have a tendency to be in his mouth pretty heavy if he is not responding.

If your horse is getting resistant to collecting, I'd first check with any physical problems then I would consider one of several other things. Becoming ring sour is pretty common if you use the same techniques each and every time. You may need to stop and just take him out for a hack every few days instead of ring work.

Just some options to consider.

I find that bringing a horse into collection needs to be done from the rear end. You need to drive him into your hands with your seat and with your legs so that his front end becomes lighter as his rear end moves forward. As you hold him slightly with your hands and drive him with your other aids, his head will naturally break at the poll. Anything that holds his head down is only creating the illusion of collection.
     
    09-29-2008, 02:48 PM
  #3
Foal
Training aids are not my cup of tea. It's just a personal choice, but I don't believe they have much benefit and I never use them. Perhaps you could bring your horse to a clinic or have a reputable coach give you a lesson on your horse and give you suggestions. Collection definitely isn't something that is learned overnight, take your time and you'll probably find a better method. Sweating is also a sign of pain. I'm not saying this is what is wrong with your horse, but I definitely wouldn't rule it out. Perhaps its muscles are getting tence and sore from being held in an 'unatural' position.

Best Of Luck!
     
    09-29-2008, 09:31 PM
  #4
Foal
When your riding him with the bungee, the idea of it is to be there to support you as a rider and assist with helping you work on your aids and at the same time working on the horse. You shouldn't be relying on the bungee to hold your horse on the bit.

Shorten your reins so your hands are holding him collected, but then if he goes to chuck his head, the bungee is there to catch him-to reinforce your aids..

Riding on a loose rein with the bungee is completely useless, because your not holding the horse yourself. It's there to help you, not take over all the contact. When you go to take up the reins without it, the feel will be completely different and the horse wont respond to you, because the bungee has done nothing...

Ride with it a few more times.. but take it off 3/4 of the way through your ride and ride without it.. then 1/2 way through your ride.. then just warm up with it.. then not at all.. something like that
     
    09-29-2008, 09:53 PM
  #5
Banned
Like the first two posters, I'm not keen on mechanical devices. I find they hinder progress once you take off the device.
I've seen many horses used in training forks, and used so often than when you take off the training fork they will not properly hold themselves, and they don't know how to properly carry themselves with the device off
     
    09-30-2008, 08:13 AM
  #6
Super Moderator
I like to use the bungees when I feel like I'm getting to naggy with my hands. You have to be careful with it though because your horse will carry his head low and you'll feel like you are doing well, when you are actually traveling on the front end because as one of the above posters said, you still have to give all your aids, you still want the horse on the bit and you still want him moving from his rear end.

I don't use bungees often, mostly when I feel like I'm getting naggy on my reigns. If you are planning to show, training devices are wonderful aids when used properly. It's nearly impossible for an amateur rider to hold a horse together by themselves w/out the use of training aids. Trainers on the other hand have the knowledge and the skill to take a green baby and put them together and hold them there without a fight... people like me that are still learning as we go... why bother fighting and struggling ALL the time???
     
    09-30-2008, 11:28 AM
  #7
Yearling
I agree with jeddah31 and farmpony84. I think you'll be fine. I look at it this way, if the relaxer works for you and your horse, then use it. What is worse, nagging the horse to death or using a device designed to help with the problem. What it does is teach the horse how to give to pressure on its own by encouraging the horse the lower its head without strapping it down... if the horse's head comes up the stretcher comes in contact, if he holds his head properly he doesn't even know it's there...it's not restrictive nor does it force a horse into a frame or on the forehand...it's for horses who raise their head to evade the bit - helping them to understand how to travel both round AND forward.
     
    09-30-2008, 09:12 PM
  #8
Foal
I actually own a neck stretcher/ neck relaxer, although I don't use it because I don't have a need for it any more.

I agree with the people who don't like training aides, and agree also that collection comes from behind.

However...

Sometimes the horse can have all the push in the world from the hind end, but if they lock their neck (typical of the horse that tends to get nervous) they will never come on the bit. If you have exhausted your options, or are getting frustrated with the 20 minutes of flexing the neck every time the horse gets nervous, then the neck relaxer is a nice tool. It encourages the horses neck into a position where the muscles have to somewhat relax, hence the name.

But make sure like someone else said that you are keeping contact with your reins. Other wise you are simply letting the neck relaxer hold the horse up, which is going to incorrectly teach the horse to hang.
The idea is to encourage correct muscling so that when you do ride with out it, the horse is strong enough to hold himself there as well.

The other nice thing about the neck relaxer is that although it feeds through the bit, it essentially uses pressure at the pole to encourage a correct head set.
     
    10-04-2008, 06:20 PM
  #9
Zab
Yearling
Is neck relaxers those elastic strings that goes from the saddle(girth?) to the bit and up over the horses poll?

Only thing it does is pulling the horses head in. That he's sweaty might very well be because he's trying to fight it, and that he can't stretch his neck, which makes a lot of ''mjölksyra'' collect in the muscle.. which is rather tiring and after a while, painful.

I've never once seen a hrse using his rear to collect with thse elastic strings pulling the nose in.

If you have problems collecting him, it's better to ride in excercises where he has to put weight on the right muscles and to get strong. When he's strong enough, he'll collect.

Did you know that the only aid you ever have to teach a horse is to seek the bit (follow your rein)? You can't do that with hel reins or mechanical reins. Use your seat and outer rein to make him collect, and make sure to praise him for every step.
The result will be true and the horse will be healthy.
     
    10-05-2008, 09:19 PM
  #10
Foal
[quote="Zab"]Is neck relaxers those elastic strings that goes from the saddle(girth?) to the bit and up over the horses poll?

Yes.


Only thing it does is pulling the horses head in. That he's sweaty might very well be because he's trying to fight it, and that he can't stretch his neck, which makes a lot of ''mjölksyra'' collect in the muscle.. which is rather tiring and after a while, painful.

That could be why he's sweaty, although if he's very well behaved in it then he's probably not fighting it.

I've never once seen a hrse using his rear to collect with thse elastic strings pulling the nose in.

If you have problems collecting him, it's better to ride in excercises where he has to put weight on the right muscles and to get strong. When he's strong enough, he'll collect.

Using it as a tool to collect the horse won't work, I agree... And if you aren't asking for collection properly while using the neck relaxer, then you wont truely get collection.
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