Artificial Aids, Draw Reins and Auxiliary Tack – Should you use it?

We have all seen auxiliary Tack, things like draw reins, chambon and martingales. What is their place in horse training?

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What Place Does Auxiliary Tack Have in Your Training Program?

I have one set of draw reins that I dust off from time to time to help me with a difficult situation. Having said that, I, however, do not like, nor recommend, the use of any auxiliary tack. To me… it is a short cut which forces a horse to succumb to the trainer and there is no value within the natural training of the horse.

On a rare occasions and only in the hands of a seasoned professional can side reins, draw reins and chambons be utilized correctly. If you have a problem (high headed, not coming through, stiff or unstable) the use of auxiliary equipment will not take the place of systematic training of a horse. With out the correct development of the horse these ‘quick fixes’ force the horse’s head into place and does not allow the horse or teach the horse how to carry themselves correctly.

What place does auxiliary tack and equipment, draw reins, side reins, chambon and German martingales have in your training program?


About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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4 Responses to Artificial Aids, Draw Reins and Auxiliary Tack – Should you use it?

  1. twiliath22 says:

    I own side reins, chambon/gogue, longeing cavesson, and a stud chain. I don’t like to use them either unless I really have to and only under certain circumstances. It so depends on the horse, the horse’s conformation, its temperament, its level of training, and what the specific problem is.

    I had one OTTB here that was stiff and upside-down in how he used his neck. He was also very sensitive to the bit and any pressure. This was before I used clicker training the way I do now. I did use long side reins on him and very gradually worked up to shortening them. I also used the chambon on him for no more than three or four days and as loose as I could to give him the idea of lowering his head.

    I use the stud chain on horses that I’m not sure what they’re going to do in a strange place. I’d rather use the chain than have the horse get loose and injure someone or themselves.

    I’ve also used German martingales.

    As with all this equipment, you have to know what you doing with it and why and how it’s going to help. Then notice if it’s really helping or not. And only use it for a couple of days. If you can’t get what you want in a couple of sessions, more won’t help.

  2. Laura says:

    Thank you Laurie for your comments.I have to agree with you and like where you say, “You have to know what you are doing with it and how it’s going to help”.

    I think most people slap the draw reins on without a thought. Thanks for your comments.


  3. There is no substitute for time and work…trouble is today every one is so busy with other aspects of living that they feel they have to short cut. This is the age of instant gratification and horses just dont come that way!

  4. Laura says:

    This is so true. There are no short cuts. Thanks for the comments and inights regarding instant gratifications.

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