non-elastic side reins too rigid?
reins have to be made out of supple leather, they must be adjustable
and tied to the girth below the flaps or to the surcingle, and to the
rings of the snaffle with a regular snaphook. The reins must not be
stretchable. Elastic acts like a harsh hand: when the horse pulls, there
is not enough resistance. The lack of firmness teaches to horse to use
strength. And when the horse gives in, the elastic pulls back to "un-stretch"
and builds up pulling strength. A non-elastic side rein resists without
stretching, and gives in at the very second the horse gives in. Therefore,
the non-elastic side reins are never harsh. They do not make mistakes.
They are firm when they have to resist and they always give in at the
side-reins be used with a young horse?
The non-elastic side reins are like a gifted hand.
They allow the horse to be rounded, balanced and into place. The young horse acquires muscle tone without having to carry the extra weight of the rider. The young horse learns about the rider's hands, to respect and to yield to them. The side reins prepare and confirm a confidant contact with the rider's hands.
If badly adjusted,
side reins are useless or even damaging, the horse will fight them like
bad or inexperienced hands. Trying to position the horse's head with
side reins the first time you use them is a big mistake. Very reactive
horses, hot blooded horses, very stiff or uptight horses could react
violently, go backwards, rear and fall over, or jump straight up (ballotade).
you obtain a calm trot without having to push the horse too much. Observe
your horse's reactions. When he relaxes, halt and reward. Proceed the
same way on both reins.
The adjustment of the side reins depends on the horse's conformation and his degree of training.
Do not position the head too high. The poll should be too low rather than too high. The adjustment is perfect when the horse carries himself, shows a trace of collection, is correctly bent, head in place, active and relaxed on a soft contact. A soft contact is just the weight of the leather.
Use the side reins when starting a young horse, and at the beginning of a workout with a more advanced horse after he warmed up freely on the lunge. In a general rule, non-elastic side reins are the only tie downs to use.
Observe, feel and experiment… You will find the right adjustment and the workout will profit your horse while he enjoys himself as well.
A thought about non-elastic side reins…
The non-elastic side reins are like a gifted hand (as said on your website…). A gifted hand would then be a motionless and cold hand? How horrible!
must be steady compared to the horse's mouth, not compared to a random
point like the surcingle's hooks (except when the horse is resisting,
then the hands resist and rightly so become like non-elastic side reins).
Awaiting your point of view, sincerey….
some more about the work with non-elastic side reins.
ever try to stretch one of those elastics with your own two hands?
Try it, you'll see how hard it is. Weightlifting is not part of the
When the side reins are well accepted by the horse and when they are perfectly adjusted, there is no more leaning on the surcingle. The horse carries himself, he is placed on the bit, the poll is the highest point, and the contact with the mouth is just the weight of the leather (of the side reins). In short, the expression "non-elastic side reins" should be "forgotten". I could even say that it becomes a "lowering of the side reins", like the expression "lowering of the hands", " descente de mains".
side reins put your horse behind the bit (like you said it does), it
means they were badly adjusted. If too short, the side reins do
put the head below vertical - behind the bit indeed! The rider's hand
controlled by his or her brain can be very subtle… but they can also
be ignorant, rough or simply clumsy.
This is what
I observed, what my Master, Nuno Oliveira taught me, and what I try
to practice on my horses.
Posture-position / Walk / Trot / Canter / Shoulder-in / half-pass / Flying change of lead / Pirouette /
© Chiris 2005