View Full Version : Draw reins - what do they do?
18th Jul 2002, 11:06 AM
Could someone tell me what is the purpose of draw reins - how do they work, what are they supposed to achieve? I notice that a lot of show-jumpers begin their warm up session by using draw reins, and I just wondered how this affects the horse's way of going.
18th Jul 2002, 12:06 PM
they do very little of use to the horse.
in theory, they bring the head and neck down to bring the horse into an outline.
in practice, they fix the head and neck, pull the horse onto the forehand and leave the back end trailing out behind.
you may have guessed i'm quite anti draw reins!
used correctly, by someone very experienced who can engage the back legs and just needs to stop the horse poking its nose, they might be useful. but generally, if you can't get a horse to work in an outline without them, you aren't experienced enough to be asking it.
there are 2 schools of thought on warming up in an outline, some people say you should let the horse warm up in its own shape and then ask for engagement and an outline when the horse is warmed up, and others say that you should ask for long and low and some flexion from the beginning, so the horse doesn't get into bad habits and develop "incorrect" muscles. i imagine this is what these showjumpers are aiming for.
i read the david broome training manual, and he advocates draw reins, saying "once i have the horse's head on the floor, i can do anything with the rest of it". or words to that effect, but the head on the floor bit is a direct quote that stuck in my mind. i disagree, and i think it's dangerous for a rider like david broome, who clearly has the talent and knowledge to use draw reins and take shortcuts successfully, to be saying that in a book designed for us normal riders!
18th Jul 2002, 12:27 PM
I'm with Es on this - I'm anti draw reins as a tool and wouldn't use them. However that isn't to say that used correctly by an expert they might not achieve the desired result.
I have to say that David Broome is an absolute master at using draw reins to frame a horse "correctly" for showjumping. I saw him warming up a horse for his son at Hickstead a year or so back. He had the horse working correctly from behind and used them as a mere whisper to say to the horse, yes that is where I want you to be.
18th Jul 2002, 12:40 PM
i'm sure he is, but i think it's a little irresponsible to make statements like that. i can see all the wannabe showjumpers sticking draw reins on their poor horses "because david broome does it" - there's enough of that kind of thing without it. he really didn't make it clear that he was an expert and what he did isn't *the* way to do it. it was very much "how to train your aspiring showjumper" book.
18th Jul 2002, 02:32 PM
Thanks for your replies. I have to say that the riders in question were experienced professionals and seemed to know exactly what they were doing. They had soft 'kind' hands and the horses were going really nicely - very balanced and rounded. (What I would give to be able to ride like that!!) But maybe they could have acheived the same results without the draw reins? I must say I couldn't see any difference in the horses' way of going when the draw reins were removed, but maybe that's because they used the draw reins to start with....I don't know....
Anyway, I definitely agree with you Es - they aren't the sort of thing that should be used by novice riders. I can imagine the damage they would cause in inexperienced hands....
28th Jul 2002, 05:34 PM
UhhHem i am a so called 'wannabe' showjumper as you'd call it and yes i do use draw reins and so most of the people that i compete with. I am not influenced by David Broomes use of them! I, as do most of the showjumpers i know, only use them to gain an acceptable outline. At home I do alot of flatwork and school with and without them. When i have them on my horse it is only to show him where his head should be. I take no shortcuts and have flat lessons every week where my instructor who produces horses for Badminton, asks many of his pupils to ride in them. Yes there are some who use draw reins for the wrong reasons but most who I see in competition use them correctly and the results are good.
28th Jul 2002, 06:39 PM
im a 'wanna be' showjumper but i DON'T use them.
what do you think you would use one draw rein for though? because i have seen it done?
28th Jul 2002, 08:15 PM
I feel that it is fine if people want to use them if they are professional or experienced. I show jump and I do not use them. As I agree with Es' reasoning, they pull the horse onto the forehand and the hindlegs are left, with no impulsion out the back. I tend to think that this is not the result which people would want when they need the forehand as up and light as possible and heaps of impulsion from behind??!!
28th Jul 2002, 08:31 PM
I am not an anti draw rein person. i have no problem with draw reins in the correct hands for the right purpose. I used draw reins on my pony and they did wonders for him. His head is certainly not in a fixed position, as even with the use he does not work his head in an outline. however the draw reins did correct his conformation and my pony no longer has cow hocks, which has stopped his brushing.
28th Jul 2002, 08:36 PM
Hi maverick, how did the draw reins fix his cow hocks, they can't have just magically straightened surely???
28th Jul 2002, 08:49 PM
and given that cow hocks are hocks pointing in, surely the lower leg will be splayed outwards, meaning brushing is less likely?
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