Training Aids- giving better confirmation to neck please help???

Mr. Darcy

Darcy Darling
Jul 28, 2006
I own a beautiful cob named darcy. I love him so much, he is always so willing to please and honest, but can anyone help me by telling me if it is worth while buying a training aid to get neck muscles strengthened to give him a better confirmation. I have tried the bungie and am not sure whether it is the best option????
He would be quite a lazy little boy but is so willing with a little encouragement and he has brought my riding on so much.


Active Member
Oct 21, 2002
I’m a great believer in no aids. Feel that they force a horse into an outline and don't allow them to release.

Like asking you to build up your arm muscles and making you lift weight for an hour with no rest. Constant and no way of releasing the pain.

If you want neck muscle and confirmation to improve the best way i'm sorry is to ride them. If you horse is using itself correctly then these muscles will develop and will take time to develop like any muscle should be allowed to do.

Lucy J

Weaver's Tale aka Ciara!!
Dec 5, 2001
Renfrewshire, Scotland
Visit site
thats why i like the pessoa though. Its only used when lunging and allows the horse to build up muscle and learn to work properly without worrying about a rider. In addition, it should be used with caution - I always warm up with it not attached to the bit, only use it for 10 - 15 minutes (perhaps more depending on horses fitness level) then remove it to cool down and allow the horse to stretch. The same as I would warm my horse up when riding, only work up together for a period then finish off cooling down on a long rein. I think the problem with many aids is people abuse them.


Horsin' Around
A picture would be good ;)

I don't quite know how getting muscle in the neck makes for better conformation :confused: Conformation is conformation, their the building blocks of the horse, all you can do it build on or support it :)

I will have to agree with Nookster, you don't needs artificial gunff. This is where Good riding and Training is essential, but few people posses the knowledge, let alone the patience.

If you have time and the patience, then you can either Lunge, or as Nookster said RIDE ;) But what ever you do, do not become the restraining aid in ridden work ;)

A big problem is that the Equestrian world is obsessed with 'ON THE BIT' work that then brings in the 'TOPLINE', so what happens..... reins shorten, rider tenses, Horses grips bit, Horse opens mouth because of pain, neck muscles are squashed, Back muscles constrict and the leg is unable to step under........ In time you will end up Damaging his muscles and have a VERY UNHAPPY horse. :eek:

So, what to do? Allow the horse to find his carriage, let him stretch, let him move freely but WITH your guidance.
A horse is perfectly capable of doing VERY GOOD work, self carriage, stepping under, working from behind and making that nice topline, without being on the bit! The work on the bit is more advanced and is for horses who have been allowed to develop their muscles through stretching work.

Another thing to consider, did you know some horses find it hard to WORK ON THE BIT because of the conformation of their jaw? Horses with Narrow jaws will pince their glands, which causes discomfort. Horses with thick gullets ( often cobby types ) will find it a bit more difficult, if you pull them into an outline you can restrict their breathing :eek:

I havn't really answered your question here :rolleyes: Sorry, bit of a rampage..... things to try:

*Allowing your horse to strecth his head down in walk, when he gets more balanced ask for it in Trot, then in time he should be able to do it in canter. But don't just drop the reins away from them!
>This excercise will lengthen and strengthen the top of his Neck and Back muscles. It will also avoid causing Poll tension.

* Ask for Flexion in the neck > Generally ask with the rein for him to bring his head left or right. This will supple and strengthen the muscles on the side of the neck.

In time he will begin to hold his head in a good position and you can start asking for a bit more flexion that will increase the Muscle and topline. The key is Patience and time.

ANOTHER KEY: Listen to what you horse tells you, but be aware that they can me monekys sometimes and try fool you ;) 90% of the time the horse will tell if they can go to the next stage or not.... or, as my mare has done, surprise you with doing it themselves one day!

When a horse is excited they will naturally raise and arch their neck, if you can make schooling fun they will hold them selves better and develop NATURAL muscle tone that gives the 'desired' look ;)

Hope this has helped,

Nutty Horse

New Member
Jul 26, 2006
Co-operation not submission...

I am a big believer in not using any gadgets or gismos. Good quality, regular lessons from a trainer who competes regularly should cure most vices or evasion techniques. My horse was totally hollow with a ewe neck when I bought her - never used a bungee, pessoa, draw reins or anything on her. My trainer used patience and persuasion to encourage her to work in an outline without going overbent. She was firm and didn't take any nonsense but she never forced her into an outline. It is not a quick fix but it pays off in the long run and your horse will respect you far more for your kindness. :)
Last edited:


New Member
May 26, 2006
Thank you, Torny, you have just explained something I have been wondering about for a long time. And given me lots of suggestions that I feel work with the way I like to ride. :)
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