Draw Reins. - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 22 Old 09-23-2009, 10:16 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
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They're a good training aid if used by someone who actually understands how to use them, and on a horse that genuinely requires a little extra assistance to soften it's jaw and drop it's head, as opposed to the many people that put as many different gadgets on their horse as possible because it 'looks cool' to have multiple pieces of tack on a horse at once.

I used draw reins for 4 rides on my old QH x appy mare. She was extremely downhill, hung onto the reins and stuck her nose out.
All draw reins do, if used correctly, is to allow the rider to exert a little downward pressure on the bit should the horse throw its head up or hang onto the reins, using a small amout of contact on a second pair of reins, much like riding in a double - there is no contact on the curb unless the riders choses to take up a contact on the second set of reins - so that there is no pressure exerted on the horses head from the draw reins whatsoever until the rider choses to put pressure on. The pressure is simply an annoyance, that makes life uncomfortable for the horse to have it's head up, and comfortable for it to soften the jaw and lower it's head.
If the rider knows what they're doing, it is really up to the horse whether there is pressure or not.

It took my mare only 2 rides in draw reins to understand that she was the one controlling the pressure, then after that I rode in them only once a week for 3 weeks to put in a little reminder. After that we had no dramas at all with head carriage. I also think that the added help of draw reins for a few rides allows a rider to focus more on the hind legs and driving them, as lets face it, it IS tempting to think more about head set than hind legs because you can SEE the head when you're riding.

Although in saying this and being FOR the use of draw reins with an experienced rider, they should not be used on horses that tend to back away form the contact and won't come off the leg, as draw reins will further enhance this, they may make the horse's head and neck look beautifull and 'round' but the hind legs are doing nothing and the horse is on the forehand, achieving nothing.
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post #22 of 22 Old 09-24-2009, 01:03 PM
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This is something I've been debating a LONG time - I have seen a lot of wasted horses from the use of draw reins, and seldom seen anything good come of them. BUT I have recently found a circumstance where I have thought of using them as a training aid...

The horse that I am currently riding has the habit of travelling with his head in the air - not because of any back, neck or physical issue (this has been checked) - and not because of any lack of training or improper musculature. That's just how he would naturally travel, especially when there are things to be seen and he's excited. When working he will round naturally, and if it's quiet enough in his surroundings he will (himself) relax through the neck and poll and come into the oh-so-desired "frame", regularly however, he'd prefer to travel what we call "up and in" - his haunches will tuck under him, and he will round through the back but he'd prefer it if he could stick his head in the air to look around rather than focus completely on what we are doing. He's a bit "ADD" we like to say....
He has been going through a process of retraining this past year from being a hacking pony to re-learning his dressage and starting to show hunter, jumper and hopefully next year some combined training.
The thing he has forgotten though, is the true meaning of a "half-halt" - he will collect and bring himself into a more animated frame, but he doesn't understand that I'm asking for him to look for the contact and relax through the top.
I'm considering using draw reins for one or two rides as a secondary aid to a half-halt when I go to use it - I expect if I decide to try it I will use it after a good long-low warm up and with a lot of poles set down for walk trot and canter to use the draw before and after the poles if needed in reteaching the response to the half halt.

What does everyone think? Would this be a good situation to try a draw rein?

I think in essence he just does not understand what I am asking (a), and he'd just rather be his old "A.D.D." self and look around than focus (b)....

So what do y'all think?

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