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Gadgets. A big NO or a GO?

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Can you tell the difference in the way of moving a horse lunged with or without a gadget?

this is from a Facebook discussion initiated by Kirsty Rawden Veterinary Physiotherapy
Horse Working animal Halter Horse tack Bit

Red: Braced neck muscles
Yellow: Braced Brachiocephalicus muscle
Purple: Dropping back
Blue: Weight forward and down
Green: Behind the Vertical
Pink: Toe first landing

Horse Liver Working animal Horse supplies Horse tack


Horse Working animal Liver Tree Horse supplies

Yellow: equal stride length
Purple: Lifting back
Blue: Weight lifted
Green: On the vertical
Pink: Flat foot landing
Orange: Hind quarters engaging


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Super Moderator
Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
3,124 Posts
I really don't like that particular gadget and would never use it. Having the mouth yanked on by the horse's own elbows doesn't seem very productive or fair. There are some I like, though. I think side reins -- adjusted and used correctly -- have a place. And I sometimes use a "neck stretcher" (terrible name, but good "gadget") with Elle. It's a long bungee cord that goes over the poll and down through the bit, with clips on either end to attach to the saddle or a surcingle. Left to her own devices, Elle will just splat around, strung out on the forehand, but giving her some structure to work into gets her stepping under herself and using her back end.

Any gadgets should only be used for a few minutes each way, though, and the horses should have a chance to warm up without it on, and to stretch out again after without it, too. They can be intense and need to be used respectfully.

But that gadget? Boooo. 馃憥

994 Posts
Never been a big gadget person. Wouldn't use that device. I think I would have preferred the same horse being lunged with gadget and then without to really comment on the movement and differences.

Super Moderator
18,137 Posts
I'm not into that gadget shown....

Certain training aids to show the horse a different way to move, and what when they work with not against can help them to balance and feel....
To hold the false and force...keep it!

I've used a few "gadgets" under direction of my bosses watching eyes while I learned, was taught how to and why and how to quickly release the pressure cause the animal is in trouble or creating evasion techniques many gadgets can create...
Without some tutelage from knowledgeable horseman/women to teach and educate the user proper....nope, won't even mention cause the damage to the animal when used wrong is cruel and unfair to a animal not understanding what they did wrong to be "tortured"...

Super Moderator
27,717 Posts
When used properly by someone that knows how to use them, training devices can garner great results. Due to previous experiences, I do not use them because what I end up with is a heavy on the forehand "broken" mover and I find that I don't know how to get the proper frame once I do away with the device (because I never had it right in the first place).

I am taking much longer to get end results without training devices, but I am getting there end I think I'm better off for it...

51,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I thought it was interesting how the poster put out the arrows. I'm never sure if one is seeing what they WANT to see, particullarly in a photo. But, the thing about stride length being even, and foot nuetral landings, that's cool. It's hard for the uneducated eye to really tell when a horse is stepping with a lift and a stretch into the bit, or is leaning foward hard into the bit. What is the difference between how this works, and , say, the neck stretcher, or side reins, or ? is it the direction from with the pull comes? is it that the line be stretchy or not? I honestly don't know what makes one a counterproductive measure and the other helpful.

16,601 Posts
I have ridden with and without various gadgets. Used some on the ground and done some purely without. Used properly and kindly, I don't have a problem with just about any gadget, just like I don't mind most bits, if they're used correctly. The problem comes in when they're not used correctly out of ignorance or out of spite, in cruel hands or just hands that are rough through lack of education. So, my word on just about any of them is, use with caution. If you don't know how to use them, don't. And you don't know how to use them if you don't know if you're seeing progress or correct carriage or footfalls or .......... I'd say in 98% of hands, the correct answer is NO. Don't use them. You can get the same or better results without shortcuts or gadgets, by lunging over ground poles to encourage proper carriage, and relaxation. A horse that's landing toe first is not landing properly, so can't be relaxed and so can 't be moving properly from there on. So take off the rig and just go back to basics. There's a reason why a lot of old trainers took a fair long time to train an excellent horse.
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