So you’re having a few issues with your horse and are thinking about getting some training aids to help? Or someone on your yard or your instructor has suggested some form you but you’re not sure if they’re right for you?
There are so many training aids out on the market how can you possibly know which one is best for your horse? In this blog, we’ll take a look at different training aids for horse's to help you decide which if any are best for your horse.
There are different types of training aids for horse's, those that we use when riding and those we use while lunging.
Horse riding training aids:
Harbridge training aid is a combination of synthetic and elasticated material that attaches to the bit and the girth between the forelimbs in an attempt to lower your horse's head carriage. However, if fitted incorrectly it will either not lower your pets head enough or will force them into an over bend outline.
So most important when choosing a training aid is that you know how to fit them correctly if you are at all unsure speak with a professional.
The harbridge training aid can help to lower your horse's head carriage if they have an extremely high head carriage, as it lowers their head enough to allow you to work them correctly so that you can build core strength so that your horse can work consistently in a more correct outline.
But if you’re looking for a quick fix this isn’t for you. The only way to maintain a good posture is to work on your horse's core strength. If you need more help with improving your horse's core strength check out our core blog here: https://www.fitpetphysio.com/post/coreexercisesdoghorse
Chambon training aid is similar to the Harbridge but instead of just going from the bit to the girth the Chambon also has a poll attachment and instead of only one girth attachment between the forelimbs it has 2 which attach either side of the girth like side reins.
Despite the differences in appearance the Chambon and Harbridge training aids have the same goals to lower your horse's head carriage but again their no quick fix and must be fitted correctly.
Side reins can be leather, elastic or synthetic or a combination of elastic and either synthetic or leather. Side reins that have an elastic component allow for more movement of your horse's head and therefore are better for work in which you will be changing stride length or lots of turns.
Side reins can also be used on the lunge or during ridden work to again help you keep your horse in the correct outline, but again are only helpful in conjunction with core work.
De gogue training aid is like a cross between the Chambon and the Harbridge in that it has a poll and bit attachment but connects to the girth between the forelimbs. And again like most of these training aids is used to help you get your horse working in the correct outline but is no quick fix. Lots of core work is needed to help your horse maintain this posture when the training aids are removed.
Reinrite is a little different to the other ridden training aids we’ve talked about in that it is designed specifically for racehorses and sports horse's to enhance their jumping. However, as it is attached to the bit and gith between the forelimbs it is very similar to the Harbridge.
As we’ve discussed the Harbridge is used to help you lower your horse's head so physiologically the Reinrite will help you do the same and I can see no physiological reason or research to suggest why this would enhance your horse's jumping. So personally this is not one I’d recommend, but if you have used it and got good results let me know.
Bungee training aids come in many different forms. One form is the same as a Harbridge but fully elastic which will be less effective but allow for more movement of your horse's head if needed and therefore less likely to cause an injury if your horse was for example to spook.
Another form of the Bungee training aid is the use of resistance bands, you may have heard of them being called Bum bands, Equibands or Core trainers. These bungee systems run behind the girth and around the back end. And help to improve your horse's core and hindlimb engagement by reminding your horse they are there. Unlike the other ridden aids we’ve talked about the Equiband or Core training system allows for your horse's full range of motion and therefore not only help your horse improve strength but also tends to have a longer-lasting effect as they stimulate your horse to do the work themselves.
Lunging training aids:
Pessoa training aid is one of the most common training aid and the only training aid I have ever seen a vet recommend. The Pessoa works on a pulley system that connects the hindlimbs to the head and can be used with either poll, bit or girth attachments or a combination of all 3.
The Pessoa is a good training aid for those horse's who need to be collected this is because as the hindlimbs extend the pressure on the horse's head is increased. Therefore the Pessoa isn’t right for your horse if you’re looking to lengthen their stride or improve topline.
The Equiami is another version of the Pessoa and works, in the same way, to improve hindlimb engagement and collect your horse. And in both cases, correct fitting is essential to the training aid working correctly.
Attaching to the poll, bit and girth will pull your horse's in towards their chest and if over tight cause an over bent outline, attaching to the poll and bit avoids a high head carriage but if too loose will not work.
Cotton lunge aid is one of the simplest training aids and requires no fitting and is great for beginners or young horse's as it is all in one piece. The Cotton lunge aid attaches to the bit on either side and goes between your horse's forelimbs before looping over their withers, this stimulates your horse's withers and actually leads to core activation meaning that your horse again is doing all the work just like with our Core training aids.
I hope this has helped you identify which training aids will be best for your horse if you are still unsure book your free call here to discuss your horse's needs further.