Side reins. Pros and cons



  • Tulio has side reins, and his owner would like it if I used them when lunging him. However watching a video of side reins I realize he has to be all tacked up and I've never lunged him all tacked up just with a halter. Can I have a list of pros and cons please and thank you.

    It's been cold so I haven't been able to ride him but I'm going to lunge him for 15mins until it warms up more(to where it's like over 35°)



  • It all depends on the purpose of the lunging. If it's just to get the horse to move a lil' bit and give him some chardio exercise, you're fine just letting him run around in a halter, or loose for that matter if you have the opportunity. Letting the horse run loose while still trying to maintain some degree of communication and control is a great way to strenghten your bond.

    If you want to work him framed up and get his muscles more engaged, fully tacked up and using side-reins would be your way to do that (since most horses won't do that by themselves without some sort of nudge in the right direction...) If you have a lunge/volting gith you can use the loops on the sides of it to decide if you want the horse working in a higher or lower frame. The lover down you fasten the side reins the lower the horse will carry its head, obviously. If you do this, you might also consider having the inner side rein just a tiny bit shorter (like a couple of inches) so the horse works the same way on the circle as its supposed to while you ride. Obviously then you need to put as much time in each direction as to not work one side more than the other.

    If it's a young horse, one thing you could do while lunging in full tack is to do some gentling/environmental training. For example leave the stirrups hanging loose so there's that peculiar feeling and a little noise. Could even tie a bag or something to the saddle to add some dead weight, encouraging the horse to find its balance while carrying something that can't really help with the whole center of gravity thing.



  • @Claira-James Thanks, I can't free lunge him because the round pen is grass and he'll try to eat, buck and have a fit when I use the whip to make him move. Can't have him loose in the indoor because other people use that arena. He's also 18(I think?) and a very sassy 18 year old at that.

    He's a chunkie munkie, just now getting his top line back in. I'd love to turn him loose in the indoor arena if I could keep it to myself for 15mins but I'd also have to ask the property owner if I could do that then I'd probably have to shut the doors that look over to his paddock so he doesn't get distracted by his paddock mate. But I also do think that using the side reins on him would help him out a ton especially when we start riding again. I get told I should lunge him before hopping on him because he would be a bit more obedient but there's just so many people in the indoor arena is impossible to really have an area dedicated to where you can work the horse, but with the temps rising up I'm hoping people use the outdoor arenas or go on trails, that'd be so nice.

    He also doesn't have a cooler blankie so I can't work him hard at all, he's getting clipped soon since I do work him hard but I currently lay off until I can get myself to see a chiropractor.



  • lol I'd say that lunging a horse before riding to get them more obedient or get the edge off is a myth. If you have a horse that likes being a scatter-brained dingbat when you first hop on, in my experience the best way to get them working with you is to start when you're just warm-up walking the first 5-10 minutes of your riding session. Do little things like try to make them stop/start or move sideways just using your weight/light touches of the leg.

    I've seen people with very energetic horses who lunged them for 15 minutes before riding. Then 20 minutes, then 25 minutes... All you do is build up the horse's stamina, nothing for obedience. I mean after all all they really gotta do is run in a circle without pulling on you, how much focus does that take? xD



  • So here's another thing I read, bell boots and polo wraps. Need or don't need? I'm picking up bell boots for a friend(because I'm horrible and didn't get her a christmas present) and If it's a need then I'd pick some up for Tulio if they had his size(which I asked they do but I need to measure his pastern first). I probably don't need them but I feel like if I do free lunge him I may depending on how he feels that day.

    A dressage rider said they were needed but I can't remember if it was optional or not.



  • Well... "need" is a subjective term these days.

    The point of bell boots and wraps is to stop the horse from injuring itself by stepping on themselves. Bell boots will prevent a horse with a lot of hind-end engagement from stepping on the back of its own front feet and causing injuries (such injuries can get nasty so if your horse has a tendency to do that you definitely need them).

    Some horses who don't really have good coordination might cross their legs while turning, or in extreme cases even be wobbly while going in a straight line and knick the inside of the opposite leg with their hoof. In such cases some sort of wraps or protection boots are a great help. If it's a wrap or anothe rtype of leg protection doesn't really matter (fun fact, open-front boots are open in the middle for the actual reason of the horse being able to get an owwie there if they knock the leg on a pole, to encourage them not to do that).

    I've heard some people saying that wraps are better because if done properly they will actually help the blood flow/circulation in the horse's leg. Not entirely sure about that though...


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