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When used correctly, rider and horse can benefit from auxiliary reins. The basic prerequisite for this is always the correct use of the auxiliary reins. The auxiliary reins should therefore be chosen according to the level of training of the horse and the rider, as well as the common training goal.
There are now countless auxiliary reins for horses. Roughly speaking, they can be divided into side reins and correction reins. The classic auxiliary reins, such as side reins, triangle reins & Vienna reins, running reins, martingales and Thiedemann reins, belong to the group of training reins. There are also less frequently seen types of auxiliary reins such as the chambon, the neck extender the gogue. All of the bridle reins can be used for riding. Some of them are also suitable as auxiliary reins for lunging. What they all have in common is that they are not a direct connection between the rider's hand and the horse's mouth. This is the main difference between auxiliary reins for riding and traditional reins. In riding, auxiliary reins help the rider to learn to sit independently of the reins. In lunging, the auxiliary reins are the only connection to the horse's mouth. They show the horse the correct way to lean. With correctly fitted auxiliary reins, the horse is brought into the correct posture for the respective training situation, both when riding and when lunging. The choice of the appropriate training reins is therefore always based on the training objectives.
In addition to the training reins, there are also correction reins. These include the controversial draw reins. They are the only auxiliary reins that provide a direct connection between the horse's mouth and the rider's hand and should therefore only be used by experienced riders with a very fine hand that is independent of the seat. As a general rule, all training reins and correction reins are buckled in such a way that the horse's forehead-nose line remains at or slightly in front of the vertical. Otherwise, improper buckling can lead to tension or even accidents.
As with almost everything in equestrian sports, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to auxiliary reins. The various types of auxiliary reins are available in many different designs, materials and colours. In addition, there are now also different fastening systems and buckles. In the past, the classic horse side reins were usually made of black leather with awkward loops to fasten, but today they are often equipped with practical carabiners. This allows for quick buckling, especially when lunging with a lunging girth. Thiedemann auxiliary reins are also available in different materials and designs. Auxiliary reins such as Chambon and the Gogue auxiliary reins often consist of a combination of web reins and cords with corresponding clips or carabiners. However, it is also possible to make it more eye-catching, breastplates with martingales in particular are available in a wide range of styles. From brown breastplates with sheepskin pads to glitter breastplates with martingale forks, everything is available. There are hardly any limits to the design and colour of auxiliary reins.
Neck rings & balance reins are certainly not conventional auxiliary reins. Riders who ride their horse with a neck ring rely on the trust between them and their horse, as well as on clear and correct communication through weight and thigh aids. The neck ring for horse is therefore a nice change for horse and rider and trains mutual trust. Riding with a neck ring, however, does not allow for working on the horse's self-carriage and uprightness; this is where the neck ring reaches its limits.
No matter whether you're looking for side reins, running reins & draw reins, a martingale or other types of auxiliary reins, neck rings & balance reins - you'll find them all at Horze. Discover top brands like Sprenger, Schockemöhle, Karlslund and many more. And if you want to learn more about auxiliary reins, you can find out more in our guide "How do the different auxiliary reins work?"
In equestrian sport, any strap that connects to the horse and is not the rein in the rider's hand is called an auxiliary rein, and there are different types for different purposes.
The best-known auxiliary rein is the side rein, which restricts the horse's head movement upwards and is often used by beginners and also for lunging. The triangle rein, is an auxiliary rein that is similar to the side rein and is intended to prevent the horse from pulling to the side.
Last but not least, the martingale is a well-known type of auxiliary rein, it is mainly used in show jumping because it also prevents the horse's head from moving upwards too much, but at the same time it is relatively flexible and thus does not interfere with jumping or cavaletti work.
Auxiliary reins, as their name suggests, should always be an aid for the rider, but above all for the horse. Therefore, with any kind of auxiliary reins, you must make sure that you do not restrict your horse's movement too much or force it into a position in which it does not feel comfortable. A properly used auxiliary rein limits or prevents undesirable things and promotes what you ultimately want to achieve without auxiliary reins.
The correct use of auxiliary reins always depends on what kind of auxiliary reins you are using and what purpose you are pursuing. Think about what the auxiliary reins will support you in and what the desired goal is. This can be done together with your riding instructor or an experienced rider.
Auxiliary reins are straps and cords that supplement the usual bridle. They are used to improve the horse's posture when lunging or riding. An experienced rider should not really need these aids. They can, however, be useful for beginners who want to improve their posture. They can also be used for training. They should not be used in country-country riding and would only be dangerous there. The only exception is a sliding ring martingale, which can be useful for preventing the horse from pulling its head upwards.
Side reins are designed to encourage your horse to follow the rein aids. they consist of two long straps that run from the side of the girth to the snaffle rings. The horse moves within a clearly defined framework through the side reins. It finds a calm contact, but can also push itself away from the bit. At the same time it is limited laterally.
Draw reins consist of a strap that is attached to the centre of the saddle girth. A cross strap with two rings connects it to the bridle on the other side. The draw rein prevents your horse from lifting its head too high. The chambon is a neck piece with two rings on the side. It is buckled to the girth and causes the horse to lower its head by applying pressure to the neck and mouth.
The effect of the reins depends on the type of reins you choose. This in turn should depend on the problem you want to solve with these aids. Most reins are designed to make the horse walk in the correct posture. By strapping the horse correctly, it should be made either impossible or at least very uncomfortable for the horse to adopt the wrong posture. However, these aids can only have an effect on the horse's neck and head. Unfortunately, correct head posture is not everything when riding. Other problems, such as the horse not stepping under enough, cannot be corrected with these aids.