Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Julie Goodnight Marathon & Training Horses On a Loose Rein



I tape all of the Julie Goodnight Horse Master shows.  She makes working with horses seem so stress-free & logical.

Last night, I had an impromptu Horse Master Marathon, and what kept standing out to me was the loose rein.  As Julie put it, and I'm paraphrasing from episode 921 above--"Working with horses can be counter-intuitive. We feel the horse growing anxious and our impulse is to pull harder to control them with the reins, but actually we might be surprised that if we threw them the rein instead, they probably wouldn't do much. Tightening the reins tells the horse to be anxious, loosening the reins tells them it's okay." Again, that's a big paraphrase, but I think it captures her advice.  (Here's an article--same concept--to stop a horse from jigging).

With that in mind...

Today I ordered a set of yacht rope reins--they're similar, but different, to what Goodnight uses and I like the weight in them.  Julie Goodnight's reins, however, don't use the metal clasp, which can annoy horses.  She devised a better system.  Her reins are highly recommended. Click here to see them.  Right now I'm using split leather, but I feel like they don't have enough give and quick hand forgiveness.  I used to use a yacht rope mecate with Leah, but I didn't like the system from the ground.  The long end that functions as the lead rope, is only attached to one side, making it good from that side, but not the other. And, I don't feel comfortable tying her with it, if the need arose on the trail. Instead, I prefer to ride with a rope halter underneath the bridle & a lead rope separate.  Now, I'll be using this yacht rope rein.


The other thing I like about this rein is that it allows me to massage her neck while riding and not have to worry about the reins slipping off.  I already drop the reins and ride her hands free while massaging, but I have worried they'd slip.

Anyway, I'm going to be doing more hands free riding in the future.  One of the episodes was all about things you can do with your horse to warm them up and some of it was hands free.  Actually, much of what she showed I was already doing in some form or another--like riding above them in a modified 2-Point position to let them stretch out freely.  I've been doing a lot of that with Leah at the trot.

I will be looking for things I can do to help her get collected and engage her hind end more--on a loose rein.  As it is now, I'm using my body to influence hers.  I sit back in the saddle and really push her, with my hips swinging as hers do.    Any suggestions for loose rein collection work would be appreciated.

Tonight I'm taking her back to the scary arena.  I'm going to let her run free in it and then I'm going to spend the whole evening working at her comfort level.  If all goes well, I'll take her to the clinic on Saturday.  I'm off tomorrow and Friday, so I'm going to get a couple of trail rides in, too.  I'll pony her tomorrow and then--possibly ride her on the trails Friday.

While I was ordering the reins (ebay), I found a pair of my favorite boots for sale!  I bought them about six years ago and wore them OUT. Let's just say, the barn was not kind to them. I've looked and looked for another pair like them, but they aren't made anymore by UGG.  This set of the UGG Channing is "like new".  Good enough!  I'll take them!





8 comments:

  1. Those boots look so comfortable... at least the heel height is perfect for me. I like to have a little heel, but not so much that I feel like I'm walking on spikes. I used to always ride with split leather reins, but they kept getting jammed under the saddle pad, so I switched to the single rein yacht ropes. I have some in different sizes and lengths. My favorite is from the Parelli store.

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  2. Oh, funny, they advertised these as "Parelli reins". I've been using yacht rope reins forever--or at least the yacht rope mecate and lead ropes. My daughter has the single rein yacht rope--like this one, but a different color. I've not had problems with the leather splits, and I'll continue to use them with Cowboy because of his bit, and the leather ones don't add extra weight at the mouth. But for Leah, with the plain snaffle D--I think they'll work out great. I think Parelli has a lot of good ideas from the past--even the "carrot stick", but those same things were used by horse people in different forms for a long time. He uses and sells them and they become known on eBay as "Parelli" items. His stuff is quality though--so yours are probably top end. I bought a carrot stick from him and that thing has lasted me forever--even stood up to all my abuse--leaving it out in the rain, etc.

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  3. I don't disagree with this- but Carmen was on a soft rein- not tight at all which was why she was able to spin off. I want to give her rein and she's good 9/10 with it but the 10th is a doozy and I don't bounce like I used to.

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    1. I figured you were riding relaxed and loose--I was applying the concept to indoor versus outdoor riding for you. But every horse is so different. The loose rein is working very well with Leah--although--and this is GREAT news--her issue was SOLVED tonight at the arena. SOLVED!! I was telling the arena owner I needed a miracle cure--and Rebecca gave it to me. I'll write about it tomorrow, hopefully. It's crazy obvious!!

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  4. I like both systems, I use the mecarte with the get down rope, and also good heavy split reins. Sometimes I change it up with the same horse, depending on what we are doing.

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  5. Thanks for posting this! Glad you liked the show. Remember that shortening and lengthening reins as needed is the art of riding. If you're tense and the horse is tense, too, something has to happen to change the cycle. However as Teresa writes, if a horse spooks and wants to turn and bolt, you have to know how to shorten the reins quickly and point the horse's nose back to what they feared. Just one comment on your new reins-- love them, but we have found horses can become agitated with the metal clips on some rope reins. Julie devised a rope connector that would connect to these reins and still have a rope to bit connection instead of the clasps. Thanks for posting and good luck with your horse! --Heidi, Julie's marketing director.

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    1. Hi Heidi. I just saw your response! Thanks for stopping by and clarifying a few things. The issue I was having with Leah was that she would turn and bolt left (always left) but if I picked up the rein to ask her back to the right, she'd brace and almost fall over. In fact, she did fall over once. It kept getting worse until I started being more generous with the rein. The bolting had become a habit, but I was able to stop the habit by shaking a bag in front of her left side face when she started to go there. Then, I moved to a crop against her neck. Now, she's doing pretty good--unless we get to something she really doesn't want to go to.

      I'll have to look more closely at Julie's reins!

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    2. http://shopping.juliegoodnight.com/Goodnights-Rope-Reins-JGReins.htm

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.