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equineangel91 10-17-2008 10:51 AM

Side Reigns and Riding~~NEED ANSWERS
OK. I lunge my standardbred in side reigns very often. WHen i do he lowers his head and lifts his back BEAUTIFULLY!. Im trying to train him to use his back and bend because he is still very stiff trying to bend, and one side is stiffer than another. The side reigns are helping so so much on the lunge, he looks like a perfect little dressage horse on the lunge

but now heres the thing. Even though his muscles are really building up and he can clearly carry himself, ones he's off the lunge, his head goes up much much too high and he doesnt always use his back correctly. Now sometimes he has good days were he collects and can use his back, but his head is stull up and sort of fighting

question: ive heard of people riding in side reigns. Now I"ve been hesitant to do this simply because it seems a bit unnatural and i DO NOT WANT A QUICK FIX. However i've been giving it some thought. What do you guys think of riding in side reigns. Maybe just riding in them for the first 10 minutes and then taking them off? maybe using them off and on throughout the lesson. Or maybe just starting with them on, taking them off, and ending with them on?

I dont want to just totally ride with them on, because that would just be using a tool as a quick fix, and i dont want that.

but im thinking maybe if I were to use them for the first 10 or 15 minutes of his training and rides, it would be beneficial, helping him stretchi his back and get accostumed to recieving cues and aids with his body in that frame. I haven't been able to get him in as good a frame under saddle as I can get him on the lunge.


ill be riding him tomorrow. HOpefully for about an hour or an hour and a half. He has soo much stamina so he can work for quite a while. BUt i need to know if i should try this tmr, and if so how should i try it, what intervals do you think.

so what do you think????:razz:

SonnyWimps 10-17-2008 03:08 PM

I find that side-reins in general are only a quick fix to any problem and doesn't teach a horse how to properly carry themselves without them.

Do lots of transitions...up, down, and so on. Ask him to backup (if he knows it) then to take off in a straight canter. Also keeping his head up high can mean pain also. Have you checked to see how the saddle fits? It may not pinch while being lunged in it, but with someone's weight it might

G and K's Mom 10-17-2008 06:53 PM

I would agree with Sonny. He's using his back with them on because he has to, to get a release.

Standardbreds in general can have a high head set. Is he an OTT? If he's raced the first thing I would is get a chiro out to have a look at him. The way the racing harness is set up it makes them carry their heads high and puts strain on them. Secondly I would be looking at my tack.

To start your warm up do lots of long and low, give him his head with a long rein. Start at the walk and move up into a good clip of a trot letting him fully stretch out. When you start asking for collection do it slowly, taking our reins up bit by bit.

While going around the ring, up the long side to a corner collect him up and then go diagonal to the far corner letting him extend, when you get to the corner collect him back up again. It really gets them working off the hind end.

You wouldn't want to be putting side reins on to start or at the end of a work out, that's when you want them to stretch out.

Spirithorse 10-17-2008 09:27 PM

This is one reason why I never advocate side reins. Sure your horse looks good when he has them on, he's being forced to carry himself that way to find the release, but once the side reins come off....well you know. Side reins are a quick fix, and in the long run it fixes nothing. Your horse hasn't learned a thing from you using them. IMO ditch the side reins.

Do transitions. Walk, halt, back up. Then walk, trot, walk, halt, back up. You get the picture.

Have you had him checked by a chiropractor? If not I would do that first.

Also, I would HIGHLY recommend getting Karen Rohlf's book/DVD set. That will help your horse's stiffness and high headedness. I do this with my warmblood and it's completely changed the way he moves. Karen is absolutely amazing!

equineangel91 10-17-2008 10:49 PM

well his tack all fits. his saddle fits like a glove, practically like it was costum made and he's very healthy

usually the moment i take off th eside reigns he'll stay in that frame on the lunge, since he's warmed up that way. I thought maybe the same would apply, like startig with them on would get him worked in the frame and then after taking them off, he'd be warmed up using those muscles and continue to hold the fram just like on the longe....

I dont konw, it seemed like maaaybe it would help as a training aid

of course i woud never simply lean on them solely

but thanks so much for the opinions, this was my whole struggle ya know, the idea that its just a quick fix vs if its more a training aid to start.

upnover 10-18-2008 11:15 PM

I would highly advise against it purely from a safety viewpoint. My vet just told me some statistic i wish i could remember about siderein accidents and how they are one of the top causes of accidental death second to tying accidents. something like that. basically horses freak out, they pull against the side reins, flip over, die. riding around in side reins just sounds like a bad idea to me.

from a training stand point, i'm not entirely against side reins but i don't love them. i think they can assist on certain horses with certain riders but they're just an aid and can't be all you're doing to teach your horse to carry himself otherwise they'll never learn. You get a million times more results by teaching your horse to go on the bit by using your own aids. Then they go on the bit because you've asked them to, not a couple of straps holding his nose in.

kickshaw 10-19-2008 08:46 AM

i would also advise against it - too dangerous.

if your horse wont flex at all undersaddle, IMO it's time to go back to basics. Have a ride or two that is all/mostly walk, leg yeilds and circles and walk-stop transitions. Master the walk, then move onto the trot/etc.

It sounds as if the side reins have become a crutch for your horse -- gotta take those training wheels off sometime!

luvs2ride1979 10-19-2008 05:11 PM

You should not use side reins when in the saddle.

When you ride, you need to ASK him to lower his head and use his back. I like to bring my inside rein back a couple of inches, keep my outside rein steady, and cue with my inside leg (squeeze or rubbing the back of your heel up his side). Keep the inside rein steadily back and the inside leg cuing until you feel the horse's head drop and back come up. IMMEDIATELY stop cuing and give with your hands. Give him a pat and a "good boy," even if he only dropped a little. Keep asking until he'll give his head easily and keep it down, but be sure to REWARD HIM for every little effort. It is a LOT harder for him to go round and forward with you up there.

ETA: Remember to keep him going forward when asking for rounding of the back. If you don't keep that forward impulsion, it's easy for a horse to tip on the forehand and get strung out behind. You will end up with false collection/rounding where the horse's neck looks right, but the back is still dropped and the hind end isn't engaged properly.

You might also want to check your saddle fit and add a ThinLine pad over a regular thin pad. ThinLine pads work GREAT by encouraging a horse to round his back. I can definitely feel a difference with mine, and my saddles are all professionally fitted. They have a 30-day guarantee, so if it doesn't help, you can send it back.

I would also recommend some Dressage lessons with a Classical Dressage instructor.

jeddah31 10-19-2008 07:42 PM

I agree with everyone else..

OT I know, but I just have to tell you guys how stupid people are.. I used to work at a riding centre (in Australia) and they used to put side reins on the ponies the kids were riding to try to prevent them from eating the grass!

equineangel91 10-19-2008 11:31 PM


Originally Posted by jeddah31 (Post 170072)
I agree with everyone else..

OT I know, but I just have to tell you guys how stupid people are.. I used to work at a riding centre (in Australia) and they used to put side reins on the ponies the kids were riding to try to prevent them from eating the grass!

wow ... thats the dumbest thing ive heard in a while!! lol

i decided against the side reigns for him. despite his head not being in correct position, after some serious circles and figure eights, his back is DEFINITELY lifted and working. so we'll be working on the head position without side reigns, though ill still use them once a week on the lunge...he does quite well in them and usually only gets lunged once a week as a good warm up..

thanks so much for all of the opinions and help guys =D

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