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”.
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.