4 Common Training Tools
- May 5, 2020
- Lynn Kohr
There are several training tools available. Here is a list of four common training tools we have on hand and use on occasion. I’ll cover tie downs, german martingales, running martingales, and draw reins.
- Tie Downs: Soft leather, rope and double rope tie downs are common in the roping arena and several different tie downs are used often in the barrel arena. For roping we start our colts without tie downs, letting them find and hook on to cattle. As we add a little speed and more transitioning, we usually move to a long leather tie down. For me, a harder nose band like a rope, double rope or a rubber covered cable has more of a “No” factor and pushier horses may need them. For barrels and poles a browband tiedown is popular with draw bits and higher carried headsets. It puts a limit on how high your horse can carry his head while still allowing the horse’s nose to plane out for balance. We have used a rope tie down with a sliding nose band. It fits easily over any kind of gag so as not to inhibit the gag action and seems to work on pole pressure (keeping a higher head limited to its height) and has some nose pressure if the horse wants to not give back or one that pushes through your hands. Often, I will put a tie down on pole horse at some point in their career…mostly either on longer strided horses to keep their stride a certain length to keep their cadence between poles. I’ll sometimes use these training tools on fast horses that need to stay backed off their top speed to make their pole pattern smooth.
- German Martingales: This martingale tucks a horse’s head back to rein pressure. The amount of pressure can be increased and decreased by the rein adjustment. A set of forks attach to a D ring on the cinch between the horse’s front legs, thread up through the snaffle ring of your bit then attach to your rein. See the picture below to clarify. Many different kinds of martingales are made. You can get leather, braided, split reins and round reins. For me, I have used this in several more difficult cases where horses just have a hard time find a way to give back to my pressure? Usually they have arrived in our hands older with previous experience and are accustomed to riding around with their nose stuck way out and not riding over their feet well. (As opposed to horses that carry their balance with their noses out and naturally travel that way in a balanced and soft way.) As I get the desired head positioning and softness, I take it off. Sometimes I have to go back and forth more than once or revisit a martingale along the way, especially as I add speed in the event we are training them for.
- Running Martingales: I remember seeing so many running martingales on 2 year olds breezing down the track. When I think of these that picture pops into mind. I also see them on young colts learning to find their feet and ones that haven’t navigated humans on their backs much. A running martingale comes in lots of different forms. Basically they have rings on the end of forks attached to the D ring at the center of your cinch. Your reins run through the rings so there is some downward pressure on your reins.
- Draw Reins: These training tools strongly encourage your horse to tuck their head back to your hands. These reins can be attached to your cinch Ds under your legs or to the cinch D between your horses’ legs and continue on around to the other side. These strongly encourage flexion.
About Lynn Kohr
I am a barrel and pole horse trainer, giving springtime barrel racing and pole bending clinics and workshops, competing in barrel racing and pole bending futurities while marketing our horses for sale. I am a Mom of 3: Sage, Cedar, and Stratton. And wife of...