Side reins and their uses?

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Side reins and their uses?

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    04-24-2013, 11:27 PM
Side reins and their uses?

First, let me apologize for all of my posts recently. I feel like I've been posting these stupid little questions all over the place. I'm having a hard time finding previous threads with answers/information that I'm looking for.

If I'm lunging my mare with side reins on, what am I doing to/for her?
What I'm wanting to do is build up her topline (I'm doing other exercises as well, hill work and tons of trotting)
I'm kind of worried that she's not using her back and butt, no matter what I do. A few times today I saw her using her back.

I'm worried that I'm going to mess her up and really set us back.
Should I, or should I not, use side reins to help her build up some muscle?
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    04-24-2013, 11:35 PM
If you need to ask, then probably shouldn't use them

Side reins CAN help build up some muscle, but as with any other aid it is very easy to build up the wrong muscles. If you have them set to tight you cause a horse to hollow behind them and you build the reverse of what you are looking for.

Some horses go nicely in them, my Emmy is naturally high headed (arab) and just by loosely hooking up the side reins she drops down and starts working properly. If you are not sure someone helping you would make all the difference.
Boo Walker likes this.
    04-24-2013, 11:37 PM
My mare's head isn't high, she's usually pretty level, but I know she goes around hollow backed, and before I start taking lessons (for both of us) I want to build up some muscle so it's not a huge strain on her
    04-24-2013, 11:46 PM
If you want to use them, find an experienced person who can teach you how to use them first. Side reins are great tools for building topline and encouraging a connection (in fact I very rarely lunge without them now) however if used incorrectly they can flip a horse over backwards in extreme cases, or at the minimum encourage the horse to back off the contact and stiffen the back.
    04-24-2013, 11:49 PM
I wish there were more horse people around where I am. I asked my trainer what she thought today and she said that my mare looked good, but nothing else. So I figured I would ask on here.
I noticed that every once in a while she'd really round up, but it was never consistent. Maybe they woman I'll be taking lessons from could help me, though I've never seen her using side reins.
    04-25-2013, 12:27 AM
You could try putting ground poles down and lunging her over them, makes them round up and use themselves some ideas here Lunging Over Poles
aforred likes this.
    04-25-2013, 12:41 AM
Trotting over ground poles under saddle is also good, as is trotting long and low as part of your warm up routine.
    04-25-2013, 12:50 AM
Thanks guys!! Maybe I'll try all of this on Friday!
    04-25-2013, 03:13 AM
Side reins (properly set) allow the horse to move steadily into a connection, but they are meant for use in trot (because they do not allow the telescoping of the neck in w or c). The main use of lunge work is that it creates lightly lateral flexion which allows for the horse to develop axial rotation/bend and working into the outside rein, and therefore greater straightness/self carriage. With a caveson they allow for the use of hh which keep the horse up/open/active/connected. They should be attached roughly where the knee (of the rider would be), in a straight-line from mouth of horse to hip. The horse should not be allowed to go too low or closed which would cause the horse only to push with the hind legs. What develops a topline is self carriage, not (longitudinal) flexion. Caveletti really need the use of the neck for proper bascule, so any use of them should be limited with side rein.

The question is what you are seeing when you say you "saw her using her back". Are you talking about axial rotation? Over tracking?

Make sure that the sr are not too shortened, or the horse too low. And take them off and allow the horse to relax/telescope in some trot/walk work at the end.
    04-25-2013, 01:02 PM
The only use I've found for side reins, that I personally would endorse is to help bring a horse back from injury. They do imply that the horse should maintain contact and if lunged in correct correctly, well help align the topline and build muscle there.

I will also lunge a baby in them, set loosely so the horse gets used to a little movement of the bit.

They are NOT mean to be ridden in.

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