TRAINING aids have always been popular (and in some cases, controversial), but thanks to extensive research, they have come a long way from the perception of simply “tying a horse’s head down”, and can actually improve athleticism, “throughness” and self-carriage.
A new player in the market is the X-rein, a lungeing aid that is said to help develop a horse’s abilities to work laterally. Developed by Free Training Systems (FTS), which has worked in partnership with Barnsby to develop a range of training products, the X-rein is said to facilitate full lateral flexion on the lunge, while helping the horse to work “through” from behind in a supple outline.
Who uses it?
PARALYMPIAN Lee Pearson has used the X-rein for training purposes and says it encourages the horse to work through from behind, helping to develop free elastic movement. Lee, part of the British team that came away with 13 medals at the recent World Para Dressage Championships, has been using the rein on his new ride Altino.
“The X-rein is ideal for helping young horses to relax. I’ve also used it with older or stiffer horses, as it facilitates a greater freedom of movement,” explains Lee.
What are the benefits?
TRAINING aids that enhance a horse’s flatwork can help the horse work in the correct manner, with good rhythm and balance. They are especially useful for horses who are on the forehand and need to develop their self-carriage and muscle tone, for example, youngsters or those with poorly developed muscles.
Where can I get one?
A range of training aids useful for lunge work are available, such as the Chambon, DeGogue, Pessoa, Harbridge Training Aid, Elasticated Bungee Line and several other specialist systems — ask your instructor or saddler for advice, as their use should be tailored to the horse’s age and level of experience/fitness, and they should be gradually used by knowledgeable handlers.
For more on the X-rein, contact Barnsby.
Tel: 01922 621676, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.barnsbydirect.com
This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (20 September, ’07)