what is your take on side reins?

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what is your take on side reins?

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  • Safe to walk in side reins
  • Viennese side reins use

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    05-21-2011, 01:02 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
what is your take on side reins?

I'm attempting to get my three year old miniature to round out a little bit and begin to carry her head at a good angle (at the moment she stretches it out at the canter and holds it like a giraffe at a trot) because her neck was beginning to look rather ewed and undermuscled. I've been doing a lot of long and low walking with her as well as flexation exercised, and its making a little bit of a difference, but I'd really like to see more. I want her moving really nicely before I try teaching her to jump in-hand or to pull a buggy this fall.

This was five weeks ago.
(pardon her feet. That was 6 weeks of growth right there )

And then two and a half weeks ago

Here's a video of her walking/trotting (we're not doing too much at the canter yet, as I want her fully balanced and in a bit better condition before we canter often)

View My Video

My question is, do you think she would benifit from using a surcingle and sidereins? I've heard that used correctly, they can help a horse flex and carry themselves better- but I wanted to be sure that I've heard CORRECTLY xD and I don't know a whole lot about them, so I figured its better safe than sorry. I know that sidereins should only be used at a trot and canter, and that horses should be warmed up and cooled off without them attached, but is there anything else? I don't really know which ring to attach them to in order to maximise good use...anyone know? Or do you think I should do something esle, and forget the idea of sidereins? I was hoping to just use some very basic elastic one-piece sidereins. I don't want to over-equip her. So what do you think? And if you don't like the idea of side reins, I'd love to know why, and maybe get some others ideas of what to do to strengthen her neck? ^^ thanks guys
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    05-21-2011, 03:12 PM
I use side reins as part of training to get my boy under saddle. I think they're very useful and have a place as part of training. As with anything, of course, if used improperly they can be detrimental.
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    05-21-2011, 03:23 PM
I personally much prefer Vienna reins.
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    05-21-2011, 03:34 PM

First of all, looking at the photo of her neck, it doesnt appear to be developing so very badly. The muscling looks fairly correct, from what I can see in one photo.

Watching your lunging her, I was wondering why you kept twirling the lead at her all the time? That is the signal to go, but once she starts to go, you should not keep cueing to go. She should carry this forward on her own, with you only cueing if she slows down. By constantly swinging the cue at her, you dull her out to is so that it has no meaning .

As for building her topline and neck, getting her to go up and down hills or over cavaletti will help a great deal. I think it is hard to get a horse to reach forward and down on the halter only. It is much more effective when done with a bit in the mouth.

I am not much of a fan of sidereins, but since you cannot be in the saddle to effect this training, in this case, they may be helpful.
    05-21-2011, 08:44 PM
I agree with JDI, if you're going to use anything use Vienna reins.

They teach the horse to learn to carry itself, and not to lean on the reins. You may have a challenge finding some that fit her though... perhaps try to make some?
    05-22-2011, 05:52 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Thank you, all, for replying. Tinylily- when I was first 'teaching' Sour to lunge about six months ago, I admit that I knew absolutely NOTHING about it. So, when I was lunging her, I would twirl the rope constantly. You're absolutely correct. It's dulled her considerably. When I finally had someone actually teach me to lunge, I had the task of retraining her, and it hasn't been until the last few weeks that I've really gotten her to move out without me consistantly moving the rope. I changed to a lunge whip to just point behind her and so far its working pretty well...but in the video I was still using the wrong method. we're slowly correcting my mistakes though!

Her neck it's extremely ewed or anything, and the work we've done has already helped a LOT. However, I still find her undermuscled. If you look at her first picture, there is almost no muscle in her upper neck and the muscle where her withers and neck meet are underdeveloped. Her topline isn't horrible, but it's not where I want it to be either. In the second picture its much more correct, as you can plainly see a bit of the developing muscle structure. Ofcourse, she's only three, so as she matures I'm hoping she'll bulk up a little also. She's a bit scrawny at the moment!

As we are in Texas, we have no access to hills or anything. We have a fairly uneven trail that I work her over twice weekly, but that's the best I can do as far as hills. We do have a few poles that I could set up for her, but I wasn't sure how much I should be working her over that sort of thing at barely three. Will trotting them a few times one or twice a week make any difference?`

I'm not familiar wth Vienna reins. Do they use bit contact, or no? And yes, I think it'd be rather hard to find them for a 34 inch horse xD

Also do you guys know how far apart I should place the poles for her? I think for a large horse its like 4-5 feet, but her legs are WAY shorter than a regular sized horse's xD
    05-22-2011, 10:35 PM
I like side reins and neck stretchers. No better way to let a horse learn to balance on their own. Builds neck muscle quick too.
    05-22-2011, 10:49 PM
Here is a fairly decent website with info on Vienna reins. Lauffer / Vienna Reins

You may be able to make your own with an old set of draw reins or something.
    05-22-2011, 11:01 PM
If its ok with Endiku, I would like to piggy back off this question. I signed on to ask a question about side reins and figured I could get my question answered and maybe a little more info for Endiku....

On a lunge in side reins, should you canter your horse? Is it safe? Will it make them back sore?

I have heard you should never canter your horse in side reins, but my gelding needs some canter work so I wanted to check the validity of this statement. Your thoughts?
    05-23-2011, 01:51 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Thankyou, Carleen! I'll read that later ^^

And Wancata- I think I might be able to answer that...although someone should definitely double check what I say.

From what I understand, side reins are fine for both trotting and cantering, as long as their heads are allowed to move some and aren't held too tightly. Its actually walking that can be bad with sidereins, because it often makes the horse too forewards at that pace. The only reason I could see it being 'unsafe' to canter with sidereins attached is of you had a harsh bit and when the horse stretched out to take a stride, it would pop him in the mouth and make him sore.

If you're still not sure though, you could always canter him without any sidereins.

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