Side Reins: Your general opinions appreciated - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 31 Old 02-14-2010, 10:08 PM
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Do not make the inside side rein shorter than the outside one. It creates false flexion. They should be the same length just as they'd be if you were riding.
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post #12 of 31 Old 02-15-2010, 12:58 PM
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I use side reins on my horse when lunging just tight enough to feel a consistant pressure but loose enough to allow freedom of movement. In canter she used to throw her head up and run the transition due to previous bad training now shes able to make a more balanced transition due partly to the use of side reins.

mechanical device that that MAKES the horse carry himself in a way that he doesn't/can't do's a shortcut
if used properly it cannot 'MAKE' the horse carry himself but encourage better self carriage.

Trust in your instincts and your horse.
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post #13 of 31 Old 02-15-2010, 01:10 PM
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I have a pair of side reins and a surcingle, but I don't generally use them since my TB has a very sensitive mouth so we're still on the search for a good bit, and he is an OTTB--he leans in to constant pressure. However, used correctly, I think they can be a useful training tool.
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post #14 of 31 Old 02-15-2010, 01:29 PM
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I'll use side reins on Rocky occasionally, but only when lunging. Because we're still working on him using his hind end at the trot and canter, i find that side reins really help him. That constant pressure encourages him to stretch down and engage his muscles correctly. And it's easier for him because ill admit that i dont yet have perfect hands. it eliminates my error. however, I dont keep the side reins on for long periods of time and we always work on the same stretching down under saddle. I'm hoping pretty soon that he won't even need them and we can do all of our work under saddle.
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post #15 of 31 Old 02-15-2010, 04:44 PM
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I use side reins all the time on my horses. Moderation and gradual conditioning are the keys. They're really useful for building muscle and teaching balance. My TB's trot has gotten much more controlled and rhythmic since I started using them. I don't think they restrict movement at all, in fact, they've had the opposite effect on my horses. I was always taught that side reins are only a lunging tool, never for riding. Although I have seen people ride with them.

"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is ultimately to be at peace with himself.
What a man can be, he must be.
" Abraham Maslow, 1968
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post #16 of 31 Old 02-15-2010, 05:02 PM
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I don't use the side reins as a 'gadget' to build muscle. The muscle building on a horse in light work is only a positive side effect of their use. For me, as stated in my original post, is to give the horse a steady contact onto which they can come onto, using their back to reach into the rein.

So for those who boo side reins or any other lunging 'gadgets'... do you care to explain the way that you lunge which apparently does a better job of getting your horse to reach for the rein, swing their back, stay straight on their line and remain in self carriage without dropping the shoulders or swinging the hind quarters?
Because without an outside rein at least, where does the energy from the hind end go???? Straight out the shoulders, that's where. How is this benificial????
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post #17 of 31 Old 02-15-2010, 05:37 PM
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I love side reins! (Actually, this thread just made me realize that I should really use some on Jazz...) I find that lunging a horse two or three times a week in them for about ten minutes in each direction has great effects. For the horses that I have worked with at least, they have encouraged them to stretch over their back, and therefore allows them to work through their back from the hind end.

I wouldn't ride with side reins. However, I've sometimes wondered if they might be beneficial for trainers to use with their beginner riders - particuarly for lunge line lessons, as it wold keep the horse working correctly (instead of hollowing through the back, becoming tense, raising their head, and poking their nose out). For the horse, it would sort of be like that beginner rider had perfect hands, wouldn't it? If they were going to be used off the lunge, I can only think that they would have to be very loose (I know that loose side reins aren't all that effective, but it would still be useful for keeping the horse from becoming inverted when it is subjected to a beginner rider (LOL), wouldn't it?)
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post #18 of 31 Old 02-15-2010, 06:18 PM
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I don't think they should be used undersaddle at all. Just on the lunge. I can see my horse becoming confused with "two hands" asking him different things. But perhaps for a lunge line lesson, for which the rider would drop their reins and work solely on their seat and leg aids, it could be beneficial for the horse to still have that steady rein and work correctly.

I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it
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post #19 of 31 Old 02-15-2010, 07:57 PM
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lol I'm not ignorant of them at all. I used to lunge horses in side reins, draw reins, etc. before I found a better way and quit using devices to get what I want.

If the horse has confidence issues going into the bit, I do it from his back, stroking the reins to get him to reach for the contact and to achieve longitudinal flexion at w/t/c...also working on finding that 'sweet spot' where he feels completely balaned so that he feels comfortable stretching....then when I pick up contact and he reaches for it, to get him to come up into a more uphill posture I simply change my position and start doing exercises to help lift him up...."snakey" bends, pushing him sideways while on a circle, etc. Soon I have a horse who is very confident in the contact because I've taken care to show him that I will always use a soft hand on him, and he feels physically able to go into the contact because he's balanced.

Also, if a horse needs to learn to use his body better, I use trot poles and hill therapy.
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post #20 of 31 Old 02-15-2010, 08:53 PM
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Yes under saddle it all comes from driving the hind legs up towards to hand to create a swinging back and a contact in the bridle.
However, this is about side reins on the lunge.

So, if you are anti-all gadgets, how does your horse lunge and 'reach for the bit' with no outside rein contact???? And don't use the excuse 'horses shouldn't be lunged if they are trained correctly' as that is a load of crud sorry. Lunging is very usefull when you don't have the time or cannot ride, bringing them back into work, working on forwardness and balance in a young/green horse without having the added pressure of an un balanced rider on its back- and unless you are some top GP rider i highly doubt that you are in absolute perfect balance so as not to interfere with the horses balance in the slightest.
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