World wide there are many horse riding groups: pony clubs, adult riding clubs, dressage and jumping clubs and of course the Federation Equestre Internationale, the highest body of the lot, governing Olympics and World Championship level events.

Every single one of these groups have equipment such as chambons, draw reins etc banned or “illegal”.

This is just one single tip! There are many more ways you can have problems as a coach, an owner of a property, or even a horse owner (imagine your horse gets loose on a property and hurts someone)...we go into all of this in depth in our teacher training program. Even if you don't want to be a teacher, the DVDs in the teacher training program are invaluable information on the rider's seat and posture, but also in the legalities and insurance issues that might be the beginning of the end of a successful riding or coaching career if we make a mistake with liability and insurance.

Equipment is highly regulated, but most people think it’s because it’s just “cheating” or “helping too much”.  It is not.

Illegal equipment is banned mostly because it has been found to cause harm, in one way or another, to horses.  Mostly chambons & draw reins get horses behind the vertical, and they STAY THERE!  It takes an absolute expert to get them “out from under” once they’re there.

That’s why they’re banned, not because we want to make it hard for you, but because we want to get the BEST from your horse.  Don’t think that we all haven’t tried to cheat like this…we have!  And, yes, it put our horses behind the vertical too, and yes, we had a BIG mess to clean up.  This is why my pupils are such world-class champions, because they DONT cheat!  Their horses are SLIGHTLY IN FRONT OF THE VERTICAL – with the lightest contact possible – as the rule book requires.

Read the rules!  And…remember this: if you are riding while in illegal equipment, you are going to have to come up against an expert witness, like myself, who has all the rules, regulations, statistics acting for the other side…the side that WONT PAY YOU your payment because you were negligent!

And…if you are a coach and you even consider using equipment such as this…think again.  You are absolutely negligent.  You should know better.  Ignorance is no defense for negligence!

If people have photos of you riding in illegal equipment, you post them on facebook, or youtube, or google images…not only do you look unprofessional, it sends a very poor message to your pupils and your colleagues. And, as I am an expert witness more and more these days, if I see photos of you riding in illegal equipment, and then I am asked if I think that you “generally follow the rules”, then obviously I have a sworn duty to tell the truth.

Or, if I am asked for a reference for you in the future for exams, or for teaching at clubs, or for speaking at a tradeshow, I’ll have to really think about my possibility of providing one!

If a coach is trying to make you break the rules, then that’s really not a professional you want to be dealing with!  Read the rules – we’re just trying to protect you, and your horse!

This is just one single tip!  There are many more ways you can have problems as a coach, an owner of a property, or even a horse owner (imagine your horse gets loose on a property and hurts someone)…we go into all of this in depth in our teacher training program.  Even if you don’t want to be a teacher, the DVDs in the teacher training program are invaluable information on the rider’s seat and posture, but also in the legalities and insurance issues that might be the beginning of the end of a successful riding or coaching career if we make a mistake with liability and insurance.

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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Well said ! I have told my students the same until I’m blue in the face, I have lost students because I will not use any form of restraint or harsher bits! I am still fighting with Pony club parents who feel there children need to be progressing faster and winning more, so they go to other trainers who do use above tools. The child goes so far the horse protests it comes back to me for training and is sold. The horse is not hard to handle or un skilled or talented , its just been pushed to fast and hard and where in so much pain from ill fitting saddles and harsh bits in unskilled hands. It makes me cry. Then there are the folks who come and ask for help see the light take the time, they make me proud their horses are winning and doing all they want as a partner. As one of my best students says “ in all her years of riding it one trainer to show here what butter in her hands truly fells like and she will never go back”. Thank you for posting this I will be sending it out to ALL the parents and students in this area.

    Reply
  2. If you are saying that skilled professionals in the course of training a young horse should not use these training aides, I don’t agree! Nobody wants to abuse a horse. These aides in the hands of an untrained rider can and often are abusive. But so can a regular snaffle bit or mild curb bit. Perhaps this is why many natural horse people use rope halters instead of bits. Their riding skills are not to the level to control that they can use a bit properly.

    On the other had, for training a young horse sometimes the use of these aids can accelerate the learning curve. These tools have evolved to provide skilled trainers with tools to better train young animals. Good trainer uses these tools when necessary, and only for a brief period, to work on a particular issue.

    The show ring is another thing altogether. Horses that are being shown should be trained to a reasonable level. These aides are not used on trained horses for general or show riding purposes.

    I have been to training barns where kids are routinely using draw reins for daily training. This is a terrible idea, and the trainers (coaches) are not what I consider to be doing a service to the kids or the animals.

    Reply

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