The de Gogue

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“Bad horses are not born, they are made,” says show jumper David McPherson with great firmness.

For many years, David has used a de Gogue on some of his young horses. “I now make my own with elastic, which lets a horse argue with himself rather than being restricted by inflexible straps, I never use anything which forces the head down.”

The de Gogue is a training aid where straps run from the girth to the headpiece of the bridle, to the bit and back to the girth again.

“It acts on the bit and the poll, but unlike the chambon, also causes the nose to be pulled in. It produces a good shape when working on the flat, the horse balanced with his back rounded and hishocks engaged – a similar shape to that which he should produce over a fence. If a horse does not ride well on the flat, how can he be expected to jump well?

“The de Gogue helps to lighten a horse, make him soft, sensitive and responsive, but it is not a solution in itself. So many people think they can find a gadget or a bit and that it is the answer to everything. They use something while not fully understanding the concept of what they are trying to achieve. If a horse needs a de Gogue, then I use one, as I will use anything which it needs. But it is only a very small piece of the jigsaw, when everything in the overall picture has been addressed, then the puzzle will click into place.¨

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk