So I was thinking about getting a surcingle and caveson, along with some side reins, before my trainer moved she taught me how to use side reins(she had been using them to train my horse), she just attached them to the billets of the saddle like this...
So Would buying the surcingle and caveson be a waste of money or is there actually a benifet of using it over how my trainer taught me? I mean I found all 3 on horse.com for $55 including shipping, but I don't want to spend the extra money if I don't have too, Thanks!
I get a lot of use out of my surcingle when I have a horse coming back into work, as they can comfortably use their back without the added weight of a saddle.
Surcingles also allow the user to alter the angle to which they attach side reins, when the horse becomes more advanced one can attached the reins to a higher ring to encourage a more advanced 'frame', you can also long rein far more efficiently using a surcingle.
Really it depends why you're lunging your mare. If it's just a quick pre-ride lunge to warm her back up and tune her mind in, you are perfectly fine attaching the side reins to the girth :)
A side note here not totally related, but by the looks of your horse I would probably not be using side reins at this stage. Your horse appears (and I could be totally wrong, a photo is only a millisecond snapshot of the horse's position) but it appears to have the tendency to duck a little behind the contact and thus shorten the neck, which results in a dip where the wither joins the neck. I would be investing in something like a Pessoa system, which encourages the horse to stretch out and down from the wither while engaging the hindquarters, side reins have the same purpose, but the Pessoa is a little more user friendly than side reins, which require a very good 'feel' and 'eye' for when and how to drive the horse up into the contact, they are quite a tricky tool to use correctly, and if not used correctly they offer very little advantage, rather than may be a disadvantage. I would really like to see your horse working with it's nose on the ground, tracking up and stretching nice and long from the wither :)
Alex S, the aim is not to 'teach collection' unless you think of collection as a horse having its head 'down'?
I lunge in side reins because they offer an outside rein and contact for the horse to work into. Without a contact the energy you create in the hind quarters is merely lost from the outside shoulder, creating a crooked horse that is on the forehand, thus lunging becomes entirely pointless unless lunging a very green horse with which you are only teaching voice aids and having it learn to go forward.
Side reins/pessoa's can be a very good tool for teaching a horse to use its back and 'connect' from the hind end to the forehand. It is all good and well to 'poo poo' these aids if you have only had a limited and short sighted experience with their use, but if you look further into why they are used you will discover that in fact, they are very helpful and do NOT force the horse into submission unless being misused.
The OP's horse appears to need some help to learn how to use it's body and build topline, and I do not believe that the OP has the experience, from the little I have read of their posts, to have the feel, timing and overall knowledge to assist this horse under saddle with developing swing and stretch over the back. In this case, I think the use of a pessoa in particular will be very helpful.
It's all good and well to preach that each and every rider should never use these aids to assist them, and that they should be able to do it with their own riding ability under saddle. But I feel that is like saying every netball player should be able to shoot goals with a 95% accuracy whether they are a goal shooter or a defence player. The reality is that not everybody is up to the level of riding where they understand how to create a soft, swinging back and connection to develop topline and strength across the whole body, eventually leading to collection (dressage collection, not just the 'on the bit' version), not because they are a 'bad rider' but because it takes years of training and education to really get the idea, and even then some people just don't ever understand how to do it.
Kayty, you make several reasonable points which I agree with.
Originally Posted by Kayty
and I do not believe that the OP has the experience, from the little I have read of their posts, to have the feel, timing and overall knowledge to assist this horse under saddle with developing swing and stretch over the back.
I am not familiar with the OP and I do not know her history, however there seems to be an awful lot of people who throw on side reins to get a headset.
If I was wrong in my reaction, I apologize.
Thats ok, I completely understand where you are coming from and 100% agree that there are far too many people who jump straight in and throw on a pair of sidereins to jam the horse's head down and make it look 'pretty' and 'collected'. I believe however in this case, that the OP has a little more sense than that. The side reins in the photo shown are not jamming the horse's head to it's chest, the mouth is relaxed and it does not show much tension, but also appears to be the sort of horse that will evade the contact by ducking behind it, as can be seen by the significant dip at the wither/neck, hence why I believe a pessoa may be of more use in this instance :)
Thank you both for your reply, this photo was taken on 10/10, which if I remember correctly was one of the first, if not the first time my trainer used side reins on Bella, she's improved a lot since then, My trainer was great with her, she was coming out and working with her about 4 times a week, but sadly my trainer moved back to Michigan the end of November, so now i'm on my own, she taught me a lot in the short time that we worked together, but I don't know a whole lot about english, I started riding when I was about 11-12(i'm almost 25) but I was a self taught western rider, when I got pregnant and I had my son I didn't ride for almost 3 years so i'm still trying to built up my confidence, and balance, especially in a dressage saddle lol, so as of right now i've only walked and done a tiny bit of trotting on Bella, she is a pretty forward horse and much bigger then the 14.2hh arab/quarter I learned on, so it's been a slow journey for me to get up to the point where I feel confident enough to even ride her(she was a wild woman before Brittany started training her) She has made AMAZING progress , when I got her at the end of may I couldn't even lead her, she would just run circles around me and practically push me over, now she leads perfectly and is great under saddle, very collected at all the gaits, It's going to be difficult working without Brittany, I wish I could find another trainer, but everyone around here charges 50+ an hour to come to you, Brittany only charged me 20 a session and she would often be out there 3 or more hours with me....sorry for the ramble, I ramble when i'm stressed, and the thought of not having Brittany come out and help me stresses me out lol...Kayty, what is the pessoa? I tried to search it on horse.com and couldn't find it, Thanks
When I lunge I don't use side reins, side reins don't let the horse move freely. I use elastics that go from the girth up through the chest to the bit and back to the saddle. They let the horse stretch but also keep them in frame. I noticed it helped my horse alot because he as a very soft mouth and took awhile accepting contact. So the elastics had contact but didnt retrict him from bending and stretching (and also leaning on the bit)