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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I used Sidepulls for about 20 years. I used them on everything from finished horses to breaking babies and beleive in them strongly until I had a horse run right through them and had a bad accident. Took down 3 fences and one post.
I backed away from them for 4 years but another post got me interested in giving them a try again. My young guy is about 1 1/2 years into training and is extremely light on the bit and responsive to leg and voice commands.
His problem now is I am loping alot, every chance I get and I want to steady him for the tight turns of a trail, for the washes , just about everywhere I am going but I can not pick up the reins, stready him with the reins because to just pick them up gets him backing right down.

Well I tried the side pulls 2 weeks ago and gave them a good try again. They lack the response of a bit, the weight of a rein is lost on them . His stops are just as good but they are verbal and shift of weight. Turning by neck reining is worst but the big thing for me is I can support him, stablize him in the lope, positions his head, hold him together nicely in a tight turn. I short I can pick up the reins alittle and not have him come down too far with contact.
I will continue to use the side pulls supporting the lope because now as a 5 year old he will learn to spend alot of his time at that pace.
I don't recommend the side pulls for someone without the skill the knowledge of using them. Sensitivity is lost and you could end up with a heavy headed horse.

Anyway for those that don't know what side pulls are this is my daughter on my old endurance horse. He is wearing side pulls.
 

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Used correctly they are useful. The problem is most of the time they are not used correctly.
 

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Just out of curiosity...you can't touch your reins or your horse slows drastically? Can't you pick up on the reins, add leg and steady them? I mean I'm glad that the side pull seems to work so well for your current situation but I don't personally like to switch "bits" when a horse is unbalanced or not doing what I want because I feel that creates a hole in their training. My guys go on loose reins and contact and know the difference between them by the amount of driving aids I use. If I pick up the reins yet want them to continue at the same pace I add driving aids with my seat and legs to maintain pace and use the reins to help balance, support, steer, etc. Whatever I need at that time. Maybe you could go back and teach your guy how to change paces within a gait and to learn that picking up the reins means you're going to say something but that it doesn't necessarily mean slam on the brakes?
 

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I think like with any other tools they work for some horses and don't for others. The sidepull I used to start my horses with was nothing but a wide leather noseband with the headstall and reins. Almost 0 stopping power of course, but you could control the turns, back up and such. I think it's a great thing to use on quiet horse when you put the beginner on to keep him/her away from the horse's mouth. I don't think though sidepull is a great thing to use to progress in training (probably with the exception of the trail rides).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just out of curiosity...you can't touch your reins or your horse slows drastically? Can't you pick up on the reins, add leg and steady them? ?
I won't give him conflicting signals. To pick up the reins means to slow down. I never want him to lean on the bit or disrespect it. To push with my legs is to move out. So if I pick up the reins and at the same time as he slows down I push with my legs I am confusing him.
He things "" What does he want? Me to slow down or move out??"
I won't confuse him.
But at the same time I am manuvering around some tricky spots and want to be able to hold his head steady, sit him on his hind end, ride with some contact and I find the side pulls work for me. I can take up the slack in the reins without him backing right off.
He is new to loping. I will not lope alot on a young horse but since he just turned 5 his loping education is beginning in ernest.
Right now the footing is fantastic, just the right moisture, most of the fields are bare but planting has begun and in another week I will probably loose all of them so I am taking advantage of what I have right now.
I ride about 2 hours almost every single day this past month, working on the lope until it becomes a normal gate.
Down the road, in a few more years of conditioning and him growing older I will expect him to maintain the lope for hours on end with no interference from me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think like with any other tools they work for some horses and don't for others. The sidepull I used to start my horses with was nothing but a wide leather noseband with the headstall and reins. Almost 0 stopping power of course, but you could control the turns, back up and such. I think it's a great thing to use on quiet horse when you put the beginner on to keep him/her away from the horse's mouth. I don't think though sidepull is a great thing to use to progress in training (probably with the exception of the trail rides).
These side pulls actually have bit to them. A good snap on the nose with them sets just about any horse on their butt. They are not there for stopping but if I need them I am sure of them. I ride with them everywhere including along busy highways.
I just know I have control, I have bite if I need it but if you take the reins up gentley you can apply pressure to the nose setting him back on his hind end, steadying the head, guiding closely where he places his feet.
Again I do find neck reining suffers with them because he doesn't feel the shift of weight of the rein as quickly.
I will alternate back and forth between the bit and side pulls, choosing each for what I want to do that day.

I have had people help me get a saddle on a young guy, use the side pulls and have them hold a young horse for me to get on and then after leading me a few minutes turn me loose, open the gate and off I go into the woods. I find given a hour or so on a totally green horse, alone you can teach him alot in short order and bring him back to the barn quite calm/well wore out maybe :D but calm, relaxed and listening.

Like I posted early I only every had one horse run through them and end in a wreck. All others listened fine even though they never were ridden before. They work great for stops and turns on a new horse IF YOU KNOW HOW TO USE THEM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If my daughter was involved in a sprint race and I considered the 25 miles as nothing but sprint races she rode in a snaffle for more control.
 

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Ok, I'm a bit confused. Can someone post a close up of sidepulls that are connected to whatever it is they connect too? I really don't have a clue what they are, or how they work. I've always wanted to know though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, I'm a bit confused. Can someone post a close up of sidepulls that are connected to whatever it is they connect too? I really don't have a clue what they are, or how they work. I've always wanted to know though.
My side pulls are old, about 25 years old but they are just a stiff rope across the nose, I covered it with soft leather but it is a stiff rope across the nose and soft strap under the chin to hold it in place. the reins attached to the stiff rope across the nose by a ring on either side where any snaffle reins would attach.
Any pull is just a pull on the nose like a halter only with a little more bite then a halter.
 

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Ok, I think I get the jist of it. So the only thing different than a halter is that it has a bit too?
 

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Ok, I think I get the jist of it. So the only thing different than a halter is that it has a bit too?
A half breed side pull has a snaffle.

Interesting comments on those folks that say they should not be used by inexperienced riders. We use the half breed for green riders on seasoned horses so they don't hang on the horses mouth. Works very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A half breed side pull has a snaffle.

Interesting comments on those folks that say they should not be used by inexperienced riders. We use the half breed for green riders on seasoned horses so they don't hang on the horses mouth. Works very well.
I didn't know the side pulls have a snaffle.

As for using it for green riders on an older horse to prevent the novice from hanging on the mouth?? I agree. Put a soft leather halter on and give them that to hang on.
I assume most people are training or keeping their horses soft and supple, not hanging on their faces. I certainly wouldn't let a green person on any young horse that isn't a made horse.
I also feel that someone who is riding bitless, and bareback is in the same catagorie as the green rider, the uneducated rider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
They have been around for many, many years.

Western side pull - Caveson catalog
the loping hackamore looks interesting but I hate rope reins. I even tried the horse hair reins, soaked them in fabric softener but could never get use to the feel. I used a bosal with a ring so I could attach my good leather reins.

The side pulls with the snaffle sort of defeats the purpose of side pulls???
 

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Rio:When you say you hate open reins, you mean split reins right? Just curious, you know how one thing can have a million different names right? lol. I really like split reins as oppossed to sport reins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Rio:When you say you hate open reins, you mean split reins right? Just curious, you know how one thing can have a million different names right? lol. I really like split reins as oppossed to sport reins.
I do not like short sport reins. In the event of a spill you can get caught up in them and if the horse wipes out you can loose them. I have gone head over heals too many times to remember and when ever that happens I have a good hold on a rein. It happens in slow motion and if you keep your wits about you and remember to get a good hold on one rein you can keep the horse. When he gets up you have him. Beside the rein I worry about if he is coming over on me and I roll to the side in some cases.
I also want the reins for ground tying and with long split reins if you do loose the horse I hope he steps on one and halts himself.
I cross major highways and it could spell death for him if I loose him so I do everything possible to retain him in an accident.
 

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Yea, as I stated, or kinda stated...I hate sport reins too. I love my split reins.
 

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I realize you're a trail, open stretch kinda rider but you're saying in a bit you have no way of collecting and balancing your horse? I mean at the very least if he's falling in or out you can hold him up with a dropped seat bone and lifting your shoulders. I also understand not wanting to confuse your horse with different signals but leg for go and reins for whoa is such a green horse mentality that I'm a little confused. How do you have a made horse that you can't for any reason pick up the reins and maintain gait? I can think of a million scenarios where, especially on the trail, you would want to be able to take up the reins and maneuver, spin, move your horse away from something FAST. I guess if you are using the side pull to add a weight or leg cue to the balancing/collecting you're trying to do I could understand that to a point if you really don't want to touch the reins. But I still think that the average rider would have trouble with a horse that the minute you close your legs they speed up and the minute you touch the reins they slow down. I'm picturing the horse equivalent of someone trying to learn to drive a standard car...lurch forward, stop...lurch forward, stop... But hey if it works for you then more power to you. I'm just trying to figure out how you can get a horse to lope miles without ever having to steady it or help it over rough terrain. How do you lope downhill? Do you just let them do it themselves and they're ok? If that's the case I'm shipping my gelding to you because he would fall all over himself and start rolling down if I didn't help him lift his front end. He has some structural issues that make things like that harder for him though. How do you overcome horses that have less than ideal builds?
 
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