Question about side reins/surcingles.

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Question about side reins/surcingles.

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    02-07-2012, 06:17 PM
Question about side reins/surcingles.

My surcingle has multiple rings. Rings on the side, rings up near the wither area, and rings above those. My horse is not in good shape over winter so I want the gentlest ring position for my side reins to attach to. Can someone tell me which ring positions on the surcingle are for beginning training and which are for a horse that's in shape/more advanced?
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    02-07-2012, 06:49 PM
You need to start with the lowest one but even before that, you need to start with someone who knows how to use them. Your question makes me think that you are not familiar with using them. They are not as simple as just hooking them to either the top ring or the bottom ring. If your horse is not accustomed to them and you are not familiar with them either, you and your horse could be in big trouble.

Sorry to be so blunt but could be scarey stuff.
    02-07-2012, 08:22 PM
If your horse is new to them, start by attaching only the outside rein to the lowest loop. Make sure, at the halt your horse can poke her nose out past the vertical. Otherwise they are too tight.
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    02-07-2012, 10:50 PM
The side reins should never be attached to any rings below the point of your horse's shoulder. The tension on the side reins should be slightly slack when your horse is standing at rest. The inside and outside reins should be adjusted to the same length to keep your horse straight on the path of the circle. Best suggestion? Spend a few dollars and get a used copy of the Pony Club manual off Amazon (I prefer the British Horse Society version). All my students have a Pony Club manual as a reference guide (British version is one manual while the US version is on for every level).

Above advice is very important as well. Make sure you can lunge your horse quietly with contact on the longeline before you attempt to add side reins. No turning into the center of the circle while wearing side reins so make sure you can stop your horse out on the circle broadside to you.

Sorry this is so long but it is a huge question!
    02-07-2012, 11:49 PM
Thanks for your help everyone!
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    02-08-2012, 02:12 AM
It depends on your roller, but my lowest D ring is level with the shoulder, and then one between the front legs.
As said above, it is best to start by attaching only the outside rein to the shoulder ring. I then like to either run the lunge rein up through the inside bit ring, over the poll, and clip to the outside bit ring / OR / Run the rein through the inside bit ring and attach to the inside roller point.
    02-08-2012, 10:32 AM
Quick question, if the side rein is only attached to the outside ring, with the inside rein unattached, won't that pull only on that side and slide the bit in the horse's mouth because there isn't a rein on both sides of the mouth keeping the bit in place? Thanks for any replies.
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    02-08-2012, 07:39 PM
There is still a rein on the inside - your lunge rein.
    02-08-2012, 08:25 PM
The outside rein shouldn't be adjusted so tight that it actually pulls the horse's head off center. Personally I always use two side reins because my lunge line is never attached to the bit but to a halter or lunge cavesson. I do know people who like Kayty attach to the bit which is acceptable. However your contact must be steady and following from your elbow like your rein contact when you are riding. I have my students use a halter or cavesson so there is no chance of accidentally punishing a horse's mouth.
    02-08-2012, 08:28 PM
The idea with not attaching the inside side rein is so a horse that is new to side reins won't feel trapped by having both attached at for the first time using them. You control the bend by massaging the bit from the longe line, but he still has a place to put his head if he feels trapped and panics. A good way to teach a horse to rear is to slap tight side reins on and tell him to move forward into the pressure.
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