Elastic or normal side reins?

Do you use side reins?

Do you know why are you using the particular type side reins that you are using?

There are many different types of side reins and I am not going to be talking about all their different types. I am going to talk about whether it is better to use elastic ones or normal ones.

What are they good for anyways?

  • Side reins are great for teaching your horse to carry his head lower. You want your horse to carry his head lower because it makes his back stronger, and allows him to work with his back correctly once you get into the saddle.
  • In most cases, your side reins get attached to the bit. That means that side reins not just force your horse to carry his head lower and strengthen his back, they also teach him to respect the pressure in the bit and do not go against it.

Teaching your horse to not go against the pressure of the bit is going to be extremely useful once you start riding on him. Sidereins can teach your horse to respect the pressure from the bit and do not go against it before you even start riding.

So, when you start riding you are not going to have issues with your horse trying to pull the reins out of your hands and going against the pressure.

This gets us to the main point which I wanted to talk about.

Are elastic side reins better than the normal ones?

Most of the people using elastic side reins think that they are more kind to their horse. They usually think that when their horse goes against the pressure too suddenly they are going to cause him less pain as the rope tensions.

However, there is another point of view.

Elastic side reins allow your horse to pull on them and successfully go against the pressure.

Basically, they don’t tell him 100% what do you want. Which (at least for me) is that my horse should not be fighting with the pressure and be trying to go against it.

The negative effects of elastic side reins

Another thing is that most of the horses are going to keep “fighting” with the elastic side reins and their mouth will be getting harder and more resistant to the pressure.

That is also something that is going to make it more difficult later on as you start riding.

Most of the people using elastic side reins usually set them up a little too short to compensate for their horse pulling on them.

The “normal” side reins can be a bit harder on your horse but…

Normal side reins that have no flex are going to be a bit harder on your horse if he tries to go against the pressure rapidly. Normal ones have no “middle pressure” they go from no pressure straight to just immediately stopping the movement of your horse’s head as the rope tensions.

When you put the side reins on some horses for the first time they might get scared and some of them might try to go against the pressure really hard, trying to break the rope. However, they will try it once, maximum three times. Then they will never do it again because they will learn that it is just better to respect the pressure.

side reins

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You can make this easier for your horse by leaving the side reins a bit longer the first time you use them to allow your horse to put his head higher. Over time you can be making them shorter until you get your horse to carry his head at the desired height.

Normal side reins are easier to understand for your horse. They really are “black and white” they simply do not allow him to put his head in the position that you do not want.

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Elastic or normal side reins?
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