Horse Training Aids
Horse Training Aids - When to Use Them
Most well trained horses go through their life without ever needing any training aids. Good flat work training and constant identification of possible weak points is often the best way to ensure proper movement. Despite of this, training aids can provide a push towards the right direction and remind impatient horses of the right way to act.
Martingales are the most popular training aid used. Their purpose is to prevent a horse from bringing its head too high and making the rider lose control.
A running martingale attaches to the reins and uses the pressure of the bit to remind horses to keep their heads down. It is often used in showjumping as a precaution.
A standing martingale applies nose pressure to gain this same effect. This aid should never be used in showjumping as it prevents horses from stretching their head when jumping.
Chambon is an aid used in lunging. The purpose of a chambon is to encourage a horse to keep its head long and low.
Side reins are another way to control head position when lunging. This aid should never be fitted by an inexperienced handler as side reins that are attached too tight may affect the use of right muscles.
De Gogue training aid is similar to chambon but can also be used in riding. However it should not be used in showjumping.
Draw reins are an aid which should only be used by an experienced rider. They are used to encourage proper outline and head position. Many people choose not to use draw reins as horses can sometimes become dependent on them and not learn to carry themselves properly after draw reins have been removed.
Market Harborough is a short-term aid to gain proper head position. Their martingale like design has to be carefully adjusted by the rider when in use and is therefore not an option for an inexperienced rider. This aid can not be used in showjumping.
No matter which training aid you are considering to use, always ask a more experienced person to fit them and supervise them in use. Training aids can be helpful but they should never be a substitute for proper training and flat work.
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