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Equine Training Aids - The Golden Rules

There are a vast range of equine training aids available, and they all do different things for your horse. These include the chambon, market harborough, passoa, side reins and draw reins.

When training your horse, there are various different aids that can help your horse develop an improved top line; help them engage their hind end; or achieve the perfect outline. Training aids are designed to make it clearer to your horse what you're asking from him, rather than you causing confusion or discomfort. Follow these golden rules to ensure that you choose the right aid to suit your horse's way of working and level of training:

• Before using horse training aids, make sure that your horse is physically able to do what you're asking of him. Using a gadget when he has an underlying problem will only serve to make it worse.

• Carry out plenty of research. Thanks to the Internet, it's easier than ever to find out how a specific training aid works and whether or not it will suit your horse. Consider whether it will affect the head carriage of your horse, the lateral movement of his body, or his whole frame.

• Learn how to fit a training aid correctly. Often, training aids don't come with instructions. Therefore, it's a good idea to take what you need from books and magazines. You could also get expert advice from an experienced equestrian.

• Introduce horse training aids carefully. This should be done in an enclosed arena or other safe and secure setting. It's a good idea to have someone with you in order to provide an extra pair of hands to hold your horse while fitting. Put them on the loosest setting in the first instance so that your horse can get used to wearing them. You can then adjust the setting gradually over time.

• Carefully consider which bit you will use with your chosen training aid. Generally, it's best to stick to a , particularly if it will be combined with an aid that acts on the bit.

• Know that results may not be instant. Don't make the mistake of assuming that your horse will take to his training aids right away. Keep lessons relatively short initially in order to avoid the risk of your horse sustaining an injury, gradually increasing the length of time you use the aid.

Muscle Development When Using Equine Training Aids

It's essential that you keep an eye on your horse's muscle development when using training aids. This is because not every aid is right for every horse. Take a photo before you begin, and then compare it with one taken a month or so later. You may well find that he is developing more brachiocephalic (a muscle that runs from behind ears, down the lower part of the neck to the shoulder blade) or sternocephalic muscle (runs from the jaw to the sternum) rather than splenius (attaches the neck and upper back vertebrae to the skull) and trapezius muscle (attaches the neck and mid back vertebrae to the shoulder blade). If so, this indicates that he has been resisting the aid.

Purchasing and using equine training aids can be somewhat confusing, especially if you don't possess a huge amount of experience. It makes sense to seek the expertise of a seasoned professional.


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