These special reins provide assistance in achieving a better collection of your horse, a more active response to the rider"s aids and to remain in balance. Used in combination with "ordinary" reins, the horse learns to open up and to accept the rider"s aids more readily. The balancing reins need to be properly adjusted! The rider"s input should be 50% via the ordinary reins and 50% via the balancing reins. The horse"s emotional and physical equilibrium noticeably improves.
How To Use the Balance Rein The balance rein sits at the base of the neck and is held as a second rein. The proportional contact on the balance rein and the bit can be 50/50; 60/40 or 40/60. The light pressure on the base of the neck helps to trigger the ‘seeking reflex”, a passive muscle which encourages the withers to lift and the neck to telescope from the withers to the poll. The seeking reflex is the third part in the ‘ring of muscles’, which must be activated to achieve engagement. This helps horses who have a tendency to brace at the base of the neck. The Balance Rein should not be held against the horse’s neck with steady contact or it may invite the horse to lean or brace more. Having one to three fingers in between the balance rein and bit rein will allow you to differentiate the use of the reins. Use the balance rein with an ‘ask and release’ signal in a slightly diagonal direction following the angle of the horse’s shoulder, rather than a backward direction - the rebalance comes on the release not the ask. Why Use the Balance Rein There are horses who are fine if you give them a loose rein but as soon as any contact is taken they come above the bit. Many people interpret this response as ‘resistance’ to contact. It is our experience that there is a physiological response rather than just a psychological response. When contact is taken that causes a backward pull, the neck shortens and tightens which then tightens the back and hindquarters- this can trigger the flight instinct and may also cause discomfort. The balance rein helps teach the rider to maintain her own balance, which prevents pulling on the reins and helps to ‘show’ the horse a posture that will be more functional and comfortable.