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madeline97 11-10-2012 09:18 PM

Opinions on Draw Reins??
 
Okay so for about a year and a half now I have been trying to get my quarter horse mare to really collect herself well, and she is more than able. The problem is, she just doesn't. I've used draw reins before, but VERY conservatively, as I've always seen them as an "easy way" around training the right way (no offense to anyone, I know there are certain situations in which they are justifiable, she just hasn't been one of them!), but I'm questioning whether they might be. I always thought that draw reins were bad if you used them to just yank their heads into the vertical, which would leave the hind unengaged. But my question is, since she already has the muscles and flexibility at the poll, would they be of use? My thought is that I could use them only once a week or so (as needed), just to remind her to stay collected and in my hand. Once she tucks her head, her whole frame rounds out quite nicely because of all the prep work we've done, so it would be helping her whole frame, not just fixing a part of the problem!!

Thanks in advance for your opinions!!!

BTW: I really do know how to use them and all, and I've spent SOOOO much time trying to get her collected that this is definitely not just a short-cut, but I guess I'm just trying to convince myself that she really needs them haha:)

boots 11-10-2012 10:55 PM

It sounds like you plan to use them prudently. Give it a try. If you like the results -- good. If you don't see carryover into your other riding -- nothing lost.

Muppetgirl 11-10-2012 10:59 PM

Be careful that you're not just creating a headset with the draw reins, if she is truly pushing through with her hind end and softening in your hand her head set will come naturally........Goodluck:-)

SorrelHorse 11-10-2012 11:01 PM

Collection comes from behind; You need to really drive her up from the hind end.

That being said I do use draw reins on occasion. I have had horses who just respond and feel better with that extra help. They are a more steady pressure than just your hand.

I have ridden a couple colts in them with good results; Sometimes I still use them on Ruger. He starts being a real brat, I put him in the draw reins for a week, take them off, and the next ride he is back to being ultra soft in the face, remains rounded up and when I ask for the hind end engagement he tucks without raising his head or losing the softness. I also don't ride with mine very tight either, and sometimes will just drap them on the saddle and ride with my main rein and only pick them up if I need them.

You are going tog et a lot of people probably who will bark at you for using them, but personally I think they are a good once in a blue moon tool. I do not ride Ruger with them at all anymore; They served their purpose with him already.

tbcrazy 11-10-2012 11:16 PM

I like draw reins as a complimentary tool in ADDITION to my regular reins, that is my BIGGEST pet peeve, when I see people riding in draw reins as the ONLY rein :/ If they don't become a crutch, they can be a valuable tool. I think this is where people go wrong with them, as you said, they use it as a substitute for time and patience.
That being said, I had a horse that for his own benefit, REALLY needed a gentle reminder to relax his frame. He was SO SO SO upside down, it would have been really easy to crank his nose to his chest and hold it there. After talking with his vet and the chiropractor (who is a vet), I explained how I wanted to use them to start to encourage him to relax into a frame and lower that head- he was pretty sore in the poll and back as a result of not knowing how to relax. He had months of groundwork before I got on, and many chiropractic sessions. Knowing that it takes YEARS to develop a good topline, the draw reins were used as a gentle reminded, paired with leg and seat aids to get him engaged from behind, to start to relax down and round his back. They worked beautifully, and ONLY when he was relaxed- I do not like fighting a horse with draw reins because I think in a lot of situations it ends up creating MORE tension, which can create more problems then you started with. Just my thoughts on them, it sounds like you've done your homework and know what you're doing!

tbcrazy 11-10-2012 11:32 PM

I'm sorry- I made a couple edits to my post but I couldn't figure out how to change it in the original post I made!


I like draw reins as a complimentary tool in ADDITION to my regular reins, that is my BIGGEST pet peeve, when I see people riding in draw reins as the ONLY rein :/ If they don't become a crutch, they can be a valuable tool. I think this is where people go wrong with them, as you said, they use it as a substitute for time and patience.
That being said, I had a horse that for his own benefit, REALLY needed a gentle reminder to relax his frame. He was SO SO SO upside down, it would have been really easy to crank his nose to his chest and hold it there, but it would not have "fixed" him at all. He learned how to evade the bit form a previous rider, but was very un-balanced so small circles to get him to give to pressure and drop his nose would have been a little counter productive. After talking with his vet and the chiropractor (who is a vet), I explained how I wanted to use them to start to encourage him to relax into a frame and lower that head- he was pretty sore in the poll and back as a result of not knowing how to relax. He had months of groundwork before I got on, and many chiropractic sessions. Knowing that it takes YEARS to develop a good topline, the draw reins were used as a gentle reminder, along with leg and seat aids to get him engaged from behind, to start to relax down and round his back. They worked beautifully, but I used them ONLY when he was relaxed- I do not like fighting a horse with draw reins because I think in a lot of situations it ends up creating MORE tension, which can create more problems than you started with. Along with arena work, he did lots of "hill work" to strengthen his hind end, back, and stifles- arena work alone would not have been enough. Just my thoughts on them, it sounds like you've done your homework and know what you're doing!

SorrelHorse 11-11-2012 12:10 AM

Agreed on the rein thing. I ride them like I would ride in a double bridle or a pelham; My main rein through the snaffle and then the secondary rein being the draw. So normal reins are primary.

Kayty 11-11-2012 05:10 AM

Draw reins will not and cannot get a horse collected.
The only times I have ever considered or employed the use or draw reins as a training aid, has been on a handful of ottbs who were so badly reliant on the bit to stay upright, that putting them in draw reins for only a handful of rides to give then the confidence to soften their jaw and poll. From there, it was straight back to snaffle reins only.
You say your mare softens at the poll with no problems - therefore, there is NO need for draw reins here. Their use on your horse would result only in encouraging her to drop behind the bridle. Thus feeling 'soft' in the hand but actually is entirely forced and in no way, shape or form collected.

You say you've been trying for years - that tells me that this is very much a rider education issue, not a horse education issue.
I suggest you find a good dressage rider to put a few rides into her, and if they are any sort of a decent Dressge rider, as long as your mare is sound, will have her in some semblance of collection in its early stages within a ride or two.

Instead of looking for gadgets, you will learn much more to enlist the assistance of a qualified and proven Dressage coach.
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Elana 11-11-2012 08:40 AM

Agree 100% with Kayty.

If you think draw rins will collect a horse you do not have a good understanding of collection. Draw reins the way you are considering using them will have you riding the horse front to back. Collection comes from BEHIND.

To help your horse, you need to develop her abdominal muscles. Trotting up hills on a loose rein.. and I mean pretty steep hills. Trotting over caveletti.. and I mean training her to trot over poles on the ground.. starting with two and working up to 8 and then gradually raising them until they are about 8 inches off the ground. Getting her to trot over them with impulsiona nd a loose rein (get in a two point position and you can do this riding western) so she can extend her back and tighten her abdominal muscles.

Understanding how to use a half halt and how to drive the horse forward into the bridle is how you get collection. Teaching the horse to raise the root of her neck..

Here is a link that may help you visualize what collection is.. and it is not riding the horse front to back.. but riding the horse back to front.
Biomechanical Riding and Dressage 1

I know it is "dressage" and that seems to go against "western riding" but it doesn't. Collection is collection and any horse will need to use its ring of muscles to properly collect.

Elana 11-11-2012 08:43 AM

BTW the judicious use of spurs will do more to help a horse collect than the use of draw reins. :)


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