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What do you think?

  • Yes, I'd use/have used them.

    Votes: 23 45.1%
  • No, I'd never use them.

    Votes: 22 43.1%
  • I don't know.

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • Other answer (please elaborate).

    Votes: 2 3.9%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm curious to know what everybody's views are on the use of draw-reins. This will probably start a debate.
...Well, I can guarantee it.




In my classical-dressage nazi opinion, there isn't a single use for them in my training regimen. I haven't, thus far, found an issue that isn't either caused by my riding or can't be fixed by softness and feel. I've only ever seen them mask the issue, only for it to arise when the draw-reins are taken off. I also see often that people don't check for issues like misfitting tack, soundness issues, etcetera. Allow me to highlight the most common/stupidest reasonings I hear from people using them:
  • "My horse is throwing her head." Well, what are you doing with her head in the first place? When a horse is throwing it's head, it can be caused by misfitting/unsuitable tack, pain or neurological problems, or something you are doing.
  • "I'm trying to teach him not to flip out in transitions and stuff." Or, you can let him find his balance with time and care while maintaining forward. You're only closing the front door here and discouraging him from doing so.
  • "He bolts." Do you want him to do a forward roll? Why is he bolting in the first place? To escape something, perchance?
  • "He rears." Well, Captain Retard, you now sail on the Fail-Boat.
  • "I'm teaching her to go round." ...Don't even get me started. Read here, thank-you.
  • "She won't listen to my hand." I wonder why. And you think increasing the hand aid will make her listen?
  • "He's a stallion!" Okay...? And your point is...?
  • "It tells him I'm the boss." You aren't the boss, you are his partner. And submission through harshness does not equal respect.
  • Countless other reasons...
Perhaps I've only seen the crappy side of things, perhaps not. But if somebody could tell me a good reason for using them, or a good result coming from them, then do tell. Not that I'll ever use them anyways. But, best to learn!
And, of course, I'd like to hear your opinions. I'd also like to hear stupid reasonings you've heard from people using them as well, to add a little entertainment to this thread! ~
 

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I agree and you could substitute draw tie-downs or martingales for draw reins and the excuses would all be the same. I voted for "I'd never use them" but it should have been "I have never used them". I guess there is a possibility that I would use them if I thought it would really help a horse and I was out of other ideas but I have ridden many many horses and have not needed them yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes. There is sometimes that unorthodox horse, hm? Sometimes when all else fails, that may be what makes it click in their head. ...But, I've never seen it or heard about it, at least not from somebody who actually knows what they are doing.
 

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I agree with what both of you have said. Most of the time if a horse acts up with me I look to figure out what I did wrong to cause it, because it normally is me. If its not I work to start fixing it immediately.



P.S. i love the he is a stallion. My step-dad's stallion rides as nice as any gelding because it is expected...lol. And if not a quick reprimand is enough to remind him, no need to add more equipment.
 

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i think they do more harm then good truthfully.

i also hate when people use them to 'set his head'
 

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LOL - I opened this thread expecting to see someone wanting to use draw-reins to help get their horse "on the bit"

This was going to be my response:

I would never use draw-reins
- they force the horse into a outline so that the real problem is being masked
- not only is the head position forced but it is also an overbent version of where the horses head should be
- it is soley a quick fix for a horse that is not working correctly
- it encourages the horse to fall on the forehand and lean downwards on the reins, which is the complete opposite of what you want (being a horse soft in the hands and in self-carriage)

To summarize: The design of draw-reins means they cannot possibly be encouraging the horse to work correctly, therefore they should never be used as a training aid.

If you have trouble getting the horses head down/round/on the bit - it is almost NEVER the head that needs to be fixed, it is the horses way of going ;)
 

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In the past 25 years riding I have never used them
On my 8 horses now I don't use them
In the future I shall never use them

enough said
 

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In general, I dislike them for all the reasons already mentioned. I particularly dislike being able to look across a schooling area and see, from a hundred yards away, the false head set created by their use. We used to derisively refer to them as "chambon heads."

IF someone rides with tact and feel, and can release the rein pressure as soon as the horse gives, they can be used without negative effect, but of course a rider with that kind of tact and feel can accomplish the same result without draw reins.

I have used them only twice, out of frustration, with OTTBs who were so confirmed in traveling inverted and hollow that no other training method I could find was successful in influencing their way of going. I found that lunging in a surcingle with a draw rein running from high on the surcingle, through a loose ring snaffle and then through the forelegs for gradualling increasing amounts of time helpful. (Both horses mentioned continued traveling inverted and above the bit in donut side reins.) This setup *does* release as soon as the horse gives, and started some muscling on their topline that made it easier for them to go correctly under saddle. I liked the lunging because it allowed me to see how they were using their backs and hindends. I also used this method for about 4 - 6 weeks; once I had made a ***** in the hollow/inverted/braced habit we went on from their using conventional methods. I rode in the draw reins them a couple of times and found it was way too easy to abuse them or muddle the "you give, I give" message.

Am I endorsing this method? Not really. As I said, it was out of frustration and after exhausting all the other, non gadget driven, methods I prefer. Somewhere there may have been a rider or trainer so tactful and so consistent that they could have reschooled these horses with a plain snaffle bridle, but I couldn't find them and or learn to be them.
 

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I have used them, and i have no problems with them, i have problems with how PEOPLE USE them. they can be very bad and unforgiving if they arent used correctly. Alot of people use them as an excuse and easy way to get the horse into the 'right' head position. I used them for my first horse who was a tb that would throw his head up and almost hit me in the nose, then he would carry it that way. I was quite little but i always used them uder the eye of my instructor or my mom, never alone. I like them because you can let them out and release the hrose so quickly.

i like them when used properly, any training tool can be used improperly.
 

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I agree and you could substitute draw tie-downs or martingales for draw reins and the excuses would all be the same. I voted for "I'd never use them" but it should have been "I have never used them". I guess there is a possibility that I would use them if I thought it would really help a horse and I was out of other ideas but I have ridden many many horses and have not needed them yet.
Took the words right out of my mouth. :D Never used them, probably never will unless there's some odd situation where nothing else has gotten any kind of response from the horse, and any physical reason for the horse's issues had been ruled out.

I also agree with ridergirl. Draw reins are just that: a tool. Its the hands on them that make them good or bad. If used at all, best used by very experienced hands, or under the supervision of a very experienced coach or trainer.

I have seen way too many "testimonial" pictures of inverted, strung-out horses supposedly reformed by draw reins. 9 out of 10 were overbent, behind the vertical, and heavy on the forehand.
 

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There are so many tools that are considered cruel or severe that are actually quite useful. The problem comes from uneducated hands and a misunderstanding about how to use them. It can be a trainer who may have years of experience but still doesn't know the proper use - only thinking that they do.

These types of aids are sold over the counter as a cure all and substitute for proper, time consuming, training to anyone with the money to buy them. The vast majority of purchasers have no real idea about how and when to apply them but they have seen others use them or saw a video, or read the instructions, etc.. Riders need to be trained not only to ride but to use any tool properly.

Have I ever used them? Many, many years ago, and I thought I knew how but I didn't and caused more problems then I already had. Today, I won't use anything unless I fully understand their use and weigh the benefits. Mostly I use nothing more then a snaffle and time.
 

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I'm not a big fan of draw reins and will NEVER recommend them to someone on a message board, but I have used them in the past and probably would in the future if I felt they would be beneficial.

However, they would be a "last resort" as I usually have good luck with just altering my method of riding (changing how I "ask") to get through to the horse, or changing up bits (nothing "gimicky" though). I also like to use side-reins during lunging to help build up the proper balance and back muscle that make it possible for a horse to go "round" under saddle.

Draw reins should definitely be used only when absolutely necessary and only by someone who understand their mechanics and the mechanics of the horse's skeletal and muscular structures. You can do a lot of damage to the horse if you use them improperly, or at the very least create bad habits and build up the wrong muscles.
 

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I've used them and won't rule out using them in the future.

In the proper hands they (and any other "gadget") can be a great tool for a schooling ride or two. Nothing long term.
 

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This debate can be about any training aid, including tie downs, martingales, training forks, or draw reins. It depends on the horse, the rider or trainer, and on what your are trying to teach the horse. Any training aid used properly and in moderation can be very effective. Any training aid used incorrectly or as a "crutch" is not effective and can even cause more problems. Unfortunately, I think training aids are overused and used incorrectly more than they are used effectively.
 

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i know that tons of pple in my area use draw reins. i have only used them once or twice, my trainer has me use a German Martingale and it seems to work well just out of curiosity does anybody have any information on them?
 

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I have used them, for a few rides with my first horse. They worked pretty well. But I dont ride in the all the time. It can teach a horse to lean, or if over used can cause the horse to be more stiff.
 

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i know that tons of pple in my area use draw reins. i have only used them once or twice, my trainer has me use a German Martingale and it seems to work well just out of curiosity does anybody have any information on them?
German Martingales can be worse than draw reins. Because of their ease of use, they are often over-used or mis-used. If your trainer is advising you to use one, ask why and ask for help on fixing the issue so you no longer have to use it. If he/she can't help you fix the issue, then I would find a new trainer.
 

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German Martingales can be worse than draw reins. Because of their ease of use, they are often over-used or mis-used. If your trainer is advising you to use one, ask why and ask for help on fixing the issue so you no longer have to use it. If he/she can't help you fix the issue, then I would find a new trainer.

my trainer almost always has me use a German, but she never has me be harsh with it and she teaches how to get the horse softer, where my other trainer had me hold the reigns extremely tight and squeeze constantley with my legs to hold the horse in position, and quite frankly i think that is worst than using a german because i was never able to give my horse a break on his mouth
 

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Less is more I find. I was getting lessons from a "dressage coach" here in Indianapolis that was all about gadgets. If the horse didn't respond, act right, whatever, her words were almost exactly - slap a high port kimberwicke on, crank down with a tie down and throw on the draw reins.

I used them once, my horse flipped over on me. Will never use them again.
 
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