Sunday, January 16, 2011

Draw reins

My sport loves draw reins, it's not often you ever go to a show and don't see a heap of horses in the warm-ups with draw reins. Many of the top riders do most of their warm-ups in them. I did notice at Danniverke, they aren't just using them but the are using them really short and riding the horses really deep.

I use draw reins fairly often but mostly they are very lose and certainly wouldn't hold a horse behind the vertical. So here-in lies my pondering. Maybe i'm doing it wrong and there is some advantage in using them to ride the horses in a deeper frame. You certainly can't say that Katie McVeans horses aren't beautifully schooled, but they are often out in draw reins and I was a little surprised at how short they were when I watching her working her 6yr old first thing in the morning. She definitely offered release but the draw reins were short.

Obviously, there is variations in the skill with which they are used. I hate seeing horses just leaning on them, but most of the upper level riders despite the short length of rein, have soft necked relaxed looking horses. My sister reckons that the upper level riders are doing it to get maximise the impact o their workouts while limiting the work duration and thus saving their joints, but I don't really know about that. Just a bunch of ponderings really.

I made a complaint against someone who had really made their horses mouth bleed after seeing him ripping on three of the individuals horses faces at various times of the day and what a horrible experience that was. It made me feel dirty and criminal and there was really not a lot of interest in my story. They never went to see the horse but I maintain with that much blood (not blood flecked froth) there should have been visible wounds even after the mouth was cleaned.


  1. Used tactfully, I don't have a problem with draw reins. You're obviously aware of the issues and in tune with the problems they can cause when used incorrectly. I wouldn't venture to use them because one set of reins is enough for me to worry about (yikes!), but more power to you if you can handle two, which you seem to do well.

  2. I personally don't like draw reins (even though I used to use them!) since I think they create a headset, and not a real connection. For some disciplines like hunters, draw reins give them an advantage since most people ride their horses with only headsets and thats what it produces. When they are used with regular reins it is easier to give release to a horse, but when used in the wrong hands, they will just pull and pull and pull a horses' head down. I'm just saying in my experience (I know I was using them wrong)I don;t like them. However, fixed draw reins for lunging can help a horse stretch its back, since they are fixed! And someone who knows how to use them properly might have better results. Its sad someone used them to that extent on a horse :(

  3. I do not approve of the use of draw reins and I do not consider them a training tool. If I met a professional who used draw reins, I would turn around and walk the other way. For what it is worth, I have ridden a horse in them (many years ago) with an FEI instructor's supervision. The feeling was "fake" and not something that I would want in a riding horse.

  4. I think they're useful for correcting a very tough horse, but used daily I don't believe you're getting a horse that's moving more through, you're just getting a horse with a deep headset. After all, you're affecting their neck, but are you driving the horse up into the bit, or are you just riding on a short rein?

    They're great on racehorses that can't be controlled by traditional means, as well. That is to say, they're wonderful for keeping half-broke horses from running away.

    I'm impressed that you made the effort to file a complaint against someone; even if it wasn't received well, good for you.

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