The use of training aids

Bronya

New Member
Jan 17, 2006
1,405
0
0
I know they're slated a lot on here, and in general livery-yard circles.

Question is, have those people slating them actually used them - correctly so they can evaluate them for themselves? I hadn't, until my trainer decided the solution to my latest problem was draw reins:eek:. She's quite scary so I let her put them on and had a go, with her instruction. I'd always seen them used with the horse's head pulled in so far it was almost in its chest, pulling the horse on the forehand. That is so NOT how she taught me to use them - they enabled me to get some moments of fantastic, engaged trot and canter (she felt amazing, light on her forehand, quarters underneath her, athletic and poised), and both my girl and I now know what we're aiming at.

After using them only a few times she's now 100x better when riding without them. I'll probably only use them if she needs reminding after another couple of uses she's improved so much. She's a mare who has 'I can't' panic moments and will fight and fight forever. Now she knows she CAN, she's keen to have a go and it's done wonders for helping me to help her loosen her quarters and getting her to swing through her back.

As so often said (and rarely listened to in any sphere of life), it's not the equipment, it's the user that makes something good or bad. I liked the instant release possible when she was good, so she really understood what was 'right', and that I could vary the pressure. I also liked that you can let them have a really good stretch with the training aid releasing too, as I like to do that often when learning new things - I know it's hard work for her!

Riding is supposed to be fun. I was starting to dread schooling as it was a constant battle - two days later and she was lovely to school, and to jump, with just a martingale tonight. I asked, she understood and had a go - all I could ever want from her!
 

Joyscarer

Active Member
Dec 30, 2006
20,301
5
38
48
Hampshire
I understand where you are coming from Bronya as I recently contributed to a training aid thread about the harbridge.

I think the problem can be in what one person perceives as being used correctly the next person might disagree with.

I know that my perception of the correct use of the harbridge certainly doesn't tally with the way it is promoted on many websites. I see it more as a running martingale type thing whereas others see it as what it is marketed for which is a training aid to acheive 'outline' at the front end.

Of course if I were a perfect rider with perfect hands and perfect timing then I wouldn't need anything. Mind you I'm happy not to be perfect and to look for solutions that help me when I need it :)
 

Sexy Sietske

New Member
Aug 18, 2006
4,311
0
0
32
Derbyshire/nottinghamshire
As long as an aid is used as just that, then I have no problem with people using them... relying on them is a different matter though, and know people who will use them constantly as they have no control/sucess without them!
 

Zani

New Member
Jan 15, 2008
1,706
0
0
North Yorkshire
I think as long as it is used as just that, a training aid, as opposed to a training crutch then that is what they are designed and should be used for! :D

I have used some side reins on Ranger whilst lunging, just loosely, to stop him throwing his head up or pulling it too far to the ground. After a couple of sessions we didn't need them anymore.
 

wundahoss

New Member
May 7, 2008
1,001
0
0
Victoria, Australia
Never say never is one of my mottos.... Meaning that there are always exceptions to any 'rule', there are usually conditions in which doing/using something that may often be 'bad' is desirable & effective... & humane(I don't include painful/traumatic methods in my never say never). Bits, spurs, choker chains for dogs for eg, all can be used well & effectively, with minimal discomfort/negative effects on the animal. Unfortunately it's just not the norm & many(vast majority of??) people, inc many 'experts', use them badly, inappropriately, harshly...
 

lovetbs

New Member
Aug 30, 2008
583
0
0
Leicestershire
I know they're slated a lot on here, and in general livery-yard circles.

Question is, have those people slating them actually used them - correctly so they can evaluate them for themselves? I hadn't, until my trainer decided the solution to my latest problem was draw reins:eek:. She's quite scary so I let her put them on and had a go, with her instruction. I'd always seen them used with the horse's head pulled in so far it was almost in its chest, pulling the horse on the forehand. That is so NOT how she taught me to use them - they enabled me to get some moments of fantastic, engaged trot and canter (she felt amazing, light on her forehand, quarters underneath her, athletic and poised), and both my girl and I now know what we're aiming at.

After using them only a few times she's now 100x better when riding without them. I'll probably only use them if she needs reminding after another couple of uses she's improved so much. She's a mare who has 'I can't' panic moments and will fight and fight forever. Now she knows she CAN, she's keen to have a go and it's done wonders for helping me to help her loosen her quarters and getting her to swing through her back.

As so often said (and rarely listened to in any sphere of life), it's not the equipment, it's the user that makes something good or bad. I liked the instant release possible when she was good, so she really understood what was 'right', and that I could vary the pressure. I also liked that you can let them have a really good stretch with the training aid releasing too, as I like to do that often when learning new things - I know it's hard work for her!

Riding is supposed to be fun. I was starting to dread schooling as it was a constant battle - two days later and she was lovely to school, and to jump, with just a martingale tonight. I asked, she understood and had a go - all I could ever want from her!

Very very well said!!
 

jenb

New Member
Mar 13, 2007
757
0
0
Lincolnshire
I am one who "slates" training aids. Yes, I have used them in the past, and now I choose not to. And of course I have used them correctly! I still maintain that most gadgets are used to compensate for a lack of rider or trainer education. I am very lucky to be able to learn from some of the best horsemen in the world, two ex-Cadre Noir instructors, who can show me how to train a horse without needing to resort to gadgets. But I do appreciate that not everyone has access to instructors like these.

People are often looking for short cuts in life, and it's easier to buy the latest gadget than to take the long, hard route of actually looking for the root cause of the problem, and being willing to be humble enough to accept that it may actually be the human at fault!

JMHO :)
 

alwaysfallingof

Active Member
Jul 17, 2004
1,666
0
36
35
London
Visit site
I am a huge advocate of side reins.

I have used them a lot with pretty much every horse I've worked with. I lunge them once a week, initially in just a bridle until they are balanced on a circle, stepping through with their back legs and stretching their necks down.

Then I start using the side reins gently (again, just once a week) adjusted so that the horse can take a contact if they stretch down, but there is no action if they are hollow.

If you do the initial warm up correctly and don't attach the side reins until the horse is relaxed and seeking a contact; they are a fantastic aid for building topline and increasing strength. I would use them instead of a Pessoa every time. You have to watch that the horse is always using its back end, but since you should always be doing this when you're lunging anyway, I don't really see it as a pitfall.

However, it does annoy me when people use side reins too tight so that the horse can't stretch its neck down and away, or when they are attached before the horse is relaxed and balanced.
 

Bronya

New Member
Jan 17, 2006
1,405
0
0
jenb - lucky you. I'll just stay in the band of mere mortals who need a little help now and then. I've worked long and hard on my horse, with plenty of help, and people comment on how she has improved.
 

dilaika

obsessed
Apr 25, 2006
216
0
0
NJ (home), MD (school) USA
I am one who "slates" training aids. Yes, I have used them in the past, and now I choose not to. And of course I have used them correctly! I still maintain that most gadgets are used to compensate for a lack of rider or trainer education. I am very lucky to be able to learn from some of the best horsemen in the world, two ex-Cadre Noir instructors, who can show me how to train a horse without needing to resort to gadgets. But I do appreciate that not everyone has access to instructors like these.

People are often looking for short cuts in life, and it's easier to buy the latest gadget than to take the long, hard route of actually looking for the root cause of the problem, and being willing to be humble enough to accept that it may actually be the human at fault!

Okay...excuse me, but occasionally using training aids as a help does not mean that either the rider does not understand when they are at fault or that they have incompetent instructors, as your post implies. I am one that will criticize people who either overuse training aids or don't use them correctly. However, I do believe that they have their place.

Here's the problem that I believe a certain person doesn't seem to get: to me, just as the original poster said, training aids can be very useful to help a horse and/or rider to feel how something should go. Do you want to tie the horses head down? Of course not!!!!! But if, for instance, you are learning to have a horse go into a frame with a horse that knows how to but is a little stiff/resistant, using a german martingale several times to help attain correct carriage so that the rider can feel how it should be is not evil! (I speak from experience) =P

Not everyone can afford to own/ride, for instance, an incredibly athletic horse who has the potential to do things correctly with little physical/emotional baggage. This means that maybe either the rider or the horse (or just the pair together) need a little extra help to begin learning a specific skill. If a training aid is used to help get them started and is not being relied on or overused, what is the harm?

Honestly, in a perfect world where horses/riders have perfect skills and mental communication, with no outside concerns and amazing instruction at every moment, training aids would not be neccesary. Unfortunately, for most of us, that is not always the case. And just because you use a training aid occasionally, does not make you/your instructor incompetent, incorrect, or inhumane.


(And FYI, before I get flamed - I have never ridden my current horse in anything but a D-ring snaffle, plain bridle, and saddle. My previous horse, I occasionally used the german martingale - and by occasionally, I mean, once for 2 weeks and then probably once a month or so)
 

jenb

New Member
Mar 13, 2007
757
0
0
Lincolnshire
The original question was - have people who don't like training aids actually used them. My reply was yes, my reasons for not liking them were stated. I am entitled to my views, just as you are entitled to yours.

If people use aids very sparingly and with due consideration for the horse - fine. But come on, you must have noticed that most people overuse them and fit them incorrectly, and tend to use them as shortcuts?! Or maybe things are different where you live, certainly it's not uncommon for that to happen here. I actually know of one BHSI, examiner, dressage judge and competitor local to here who gets nearly ALL of her pupils riding in draw reins. They don't question her because of who she is - but surely that's not right?

And FYI, my horse was not mega expensive. Yes, he's athletic and doesn't have any hang ups, but he cost me €3500 as an unbacked 4yo stallion last year. I don't think he qualifies as mega expensive. I also work very hard to be able to afford my lessons with my trainers....

For the record, I teach and have had people struggle to feel when things are correct. I will either ride the horse myself to show them and get the horse working correctly, so that they can feel a difference when they get back on, or I'll work the horse in hand whilst they ride so that they can feel that way. There are many different roads to Rome.
 

Joyscarer

Active Member
Dec 30, 2006
20,301
5
38
48
Hampshire
Question: - What is a training aid?



The reason I ask is because some would think that anything a horse wears is there to help the rider get what they want from the horse ;)

A well trained horse in a good partnership with the rider shouldn't need to wear anything.

How many people on here feel that their horses require nothing man made?
 

jenb

New Member
Mar 13, 2007
757
0
0
Lincolnshire
Interesting you should mention that. I was thinking about it yesterday. I know a very small number of people can ride high school on their horses with no tack whatsoever - I think it's a great thing to do and demonstrates ultimate skill and partnership. However, it's not something I will be thinking of trying any time soon, with a green 5yo, lol! Maybe one day....

FWIW, I think of training aid as anything other than the standard saddle, bridle, lunge cavesson type equipment. So all side reins, pessoas, draw reins, harbridges, chambons, de gogues, abbot davies, etc, etc, etc..... There are far too many to mention! Maybe I should invent another, then I could get rich, lol!

But you're right. If you were taking it to the nth degree, you could view even a simple headcollar as a training aid. All kit we use on horses has the potential to be abused. I wish I didn't think about all this stuff so deeply, I give myself headaches, lol!
 

Bronya

New Member
Jan 17, 2006
1,405
0
0
Question: - What is a training aid?



The reason I ask is because some would think that anything a horse wears is there to help the rider get what they want from the horse ;)

A well trained horse in a good partnership with the rider shouldn't need to wear anything.

How many people on here feel that their horses require nothing man made?

Not quite, but I can ride my horse with just a neck rein (no saddle or bridle). When I first got her, that was the direction that interested me. We still do it now and then, but it doesn't help her build her quarters to stop her stifles locking, and that is my priority now. Nor will it win us a dressage/SJ comp! Tis fun tho, and she's a v special girl for being so obedient. Hmm, must have another go soon and take photos!
 

Elly Koopman

New Member
Oct 22, 2004
1,676
0
0
Norwich, Norfolk
Visit site
Question: - What is a training aid?



The reason I ask is because some would think that anything a horse wears is there to help the rider get what they want from the horse ;)

A well trained horse in a good partnership with the rider shouldn't need to wear anything.

How many people on here feel that their horses require nothing man made?

I agree, but in this day and age, how many of the riders that have this partnership with their horse started off 'conventionally'? In NH terms the training aid is the carrot stick and to a lesser extent the halter/longline.

I supposed that really a training aid is just that - a tool to facilitate the training of either the rider and/or the horse. What happens in reality is that they are used in place of the training if that makes sense?

I have used a harbridge and felt very insecure knowing that if my horse decided say, to rear - then I'd have no power to give and let them sort themselves out. At least with something like draw reins you could release immediately if necessary. That said out of the two I'd rather see the harbridge used inexpereinced hands than draw reins :eek:

I use training aids when lunging - at the moment I'm using a bungee, but not particularly tightly and only a couple of sessions a week :eek:
 

xloopylozzax

Active Member
Jan 14, 2008
6,470
0
36
Leeds
i dont mind training aids, provided they are used in that sense- you've trained your horse to know the correct way to carry itself and move, then you take them off, exactly how they should be used.

pessoas are terrible IMO, i much prefer side reins a good person on the end of the lunge line to keep the backend working ;)

as for training aids, i've used draw reins (fine, give and take- used as a 'curb' rein), side reins and will use a balancing rein at some point in the future (attached to girth, not tail ;))
 
Last edited:

dilaika

obsessed
Apr 25, 2006
216
0
0
NJ (home), MD (school) USA
Yes, as I said, I do really disagree with the way that a lot of people use training aids, and yes there are a lot of people in my area that I think overuse them or use them incorrectly. I just don't like when people automatically assume that if someone is using a training aid, they are overusing it or using it incorrectly.

The other thing that I dislike is when people flame others who have to use training aids on a school horse. As someone who has never been able to afford their own horse, I understand how at many barns horses may use something like a martingale, and if you are riding that horse you don't have a choice in the matter. At my current level and barn, I can try/not use tack with the permission of the owner (I have a project horse - she isn't mine, but I'm the one who rides her unless I specifically ask someone else too, like when I'm away). However, at previous barns, you rode the horse with whatever the owner thought should go on them. If you want to ride at that barn (and for instance, for me, that barn was the only barn within an hour from where I lived), you used whatever tack you were told to use.
 

jenb

New Member
Mar 13, 2007
757
0
0
Lincolnshire
dilaika - I am not trying to "flame" anybody. I have strong views on training aids, yes, and I don't apologise for that. I'd like to see their use reduced to almost nil. I will not condone anything which quite often causes pain and discomfort to horses in the name of having them look pretty. You have to realise where I am coming from here - I have been riding for 21 years, become increasingly interested in classical dressage and have had the great fortune to watch and ride with some really world class classical trainers. That doesn't make me a great rider though, lol, but I am always learning and that's what makes it all fun. As an instructor myself, I quite often see the damage done by these aids - most of the time the riders and trainers don't even see it for themselves. As long as the horse has his nose tucked in and his hind leg is active, who cares how they achieve it.

The internet is a faceless entity - I don't know you are who you say you are, and vice versa. I think it's safe to say that we don't know a lot about the posters on sites like this, their abilities or how skilled they are. That's why I so loudly condemn training aids - used by the inexperienced, they can be like razor blades in the hands of monkeys. In the hands of very educated, skilled and kind riders, yes, sometimes there is a place for them. I wouldn't put myself in that category, so I don't use them. I am at the stage of conscious incompetance in the learning scale. I have my BHS Stage 3, I can ride lateral work and have ridden piaffe, yada yada - but I know my seat is not perfect and I can refine my own aids even more.

I don't think I ever "flamed" people who have to use training aids on school horses, did I? For the record, I didn't get my own horse until I was 21, never had my own as a kid and had to make do with riding school horses and borrowed rides. Believe me, I know where you are coming from with feeling uncomfortable about tack that you are made to use. I am very lucky now to be able to turn my back on the whole riding school thing, but I had to put up with it for years, and quite often felt awful about the contraptions that horses had to wear and the way I was made to ride them. I have also turned my back on teaching in riding schools for that very reason - I got fed up of stripping off flash nosebands and martingales and re-positioning saddles.

Don't accuse me of "flaming" without first understanding where I am coming from please :)
 

dilaika

obsessed
Apr 25, 2006
216
0
0
NJ (home), MD (school) USA
JebB - although i had talked to you in earlier post, I wasn't talking to you at all about flaming people. I am sorry if you thought that I was. I was making a statement about how some people react - because i have seen others being very negative about people who use certain tack (and for instance, when I posted pics/questions about a horse I was riding several years I would get yelled at about his martingale when I had no choice in the matter). That was not aimed at you and I'm sorry that you took it as a personal attack.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
van Wolf Training aids Training of the Horse and Rider 23
popularfurball Training Aids to walking. Cats, Dogs and other Animals 4
xloopylozzax interesting book on training aids Tack & Saddlery 15
Bronya The use of training aids Tack & Saddlery 0
xox stace xox training aids General 1
H Young horse - training aids? Training of the Horse and Rider 16
IrishDQ training aids..... Tack & Saddlery 4
J Para / RDA/ Disabled riding+driving training aids and equipment Disabled Riding 11
IrishDQ training aids General 5
RockChick2007 Training Aids General 1
Jiouxles Longeing/training aids/bitless bridle Training of the Horse and Rider 2
C Training aids? Training of the Horse and Rider 1
C Training aids? Competing 6
C Training/schooling aids Training of the Horse and Rider 5
M Training Aids- giving better confirmation to neck please help??? Training of the Horse and Rider 7
R Difference between Pessoa, Mark Todd and Derby House training aids? Training of the Horse and Rider 10
raggydoll tell me about training aids like the pessoa Training of the Horse and Rider 4
Ale I have a problem with clicker training Training of the Horse and Rider 10
chunky monkey Clicker training with distractions Cafe 4
Ale Clicker training Training of the Horse and Rider 20
Jane&Ziggy Clicker training with Sid Training of the Horse and Rider 3
Jane&Ziggy Training horses for the movies - Ben-Hur Cafe 3
diplomaticandtactful Training Suze Training of the Horse and Rider 194
Wally Bird training. Cafe 4
chunky monkey Clicker training Training of the Horse and Rider 7
diplomaticandtactful Sad loss to horse training Cafe 0
Ale Clicker training Training of the Horse and Rider 15
Jane&Ziggy Charlie training update Cafe 0
domane Training for the Grand National... Cafe 1
OwnedbyChanter Books on training.... help please Cafe 5
WildatHeart Training a mellow yearling Training of the Horse and Rider 7
H Farrier training Training of the Horse and Rider 0
N Trec Training- gate / gaps question Other Disciplines 6
Hope Price Update on Bear (Training an abused horse) Training of the Horse and Rider 3
R Sharpening up on manners and training Training of the Horse and Rider 1
Miss Appleby Welsh Section A Training Training of the Horse and Rider 2
Ale Training as an adult. Cafe 8
Jessey Poop training Training of the Horse and Rider 11
chunky monkey Hi training aid Training of the Horse and Rider 1
chunky monkey Clicker training sound Training of the Horse and Rider 6
Native Lover SJ training evening Competing 3
KP nut Training versus RE-training! Training of the Horse and Rider 16
chunky monkey Whoops I fell off, traffic training starts sooner than I expect Cafe 7
mu0ljk First Inhand Training Session Training of the Horse and Rider 9
chunky monkey Large vehicle training Training of the Horse and Rider 5
Gimp Peerieman Training Cafe 12
orbvalley Both of us training to jump Training of the Horse and Rider 3
Wally Tór pulls a shoe off this time, so we start his driving training Cafe 2
Alyssa13 Help on training some better brakes on a horse! Training of the Horse and Rider 7
Wally Nearly time to get the girls back in training. Cats, Dogs and other Animals 2

Similar threads

newrider.com