Another training aid that made me cringe
Am I dense? A little thick in the skull? Problems comprehending? Wait, don’t answer that if it’s too mean 😛
The reason I ask is because I don’t understand the point of yet another riding gimmick (sent in by a lovely reader). [Remeber this “Revolutionary New Aid“?]
From the website: “Are your Hands soft and steady? Did you ever wonder how your hands are and how you could increase the sensitivity of and mental awareness for your hands?
This new training tool will help you to find out and work towards an even, soft and elastic rein hand. ”
“Start with the black 15 kg sensor and ride your usual routine. If this does not break, work with the next, more sensitive stripe (10 kg, red). Continue to work step for step towards the more sensitive stripes until you break one. This reflects the education level of your hands (and also that of your horse). Work for a couple of rides at this level, then work gradually towards the next, until no sensor stripes break anymore. Replacement sensors can be ordered separately for $7.00 (shipping & handling included).
You will have developed a new awareness for your hands and you will learn to keep the reins in a more steady and soft contact to the bit. The sensitive mouth of your horse will thank you!
Please take note: This is not a training tool for the horse. On the contrary, the horse you use for this exercise should be well educated. Nevertheless, most horses will noticeably appreciate your effort to have extra soft hands.”
So basically, you want me to buy this thing so I can know almost exactly, within +/-5 pounds, how much pressure I’m putting on my horse’s mouth?
WHAT WILL THIS ACCOMPLISH?!
Every horse is different! Some horses need less contact, others more. You, as a rider, should not be riding each and every horse with 2lbs of pressure (which is as low as this product goes so I assume they deem that to be optimal). Some horse’s like more contact. The thing that the rider really needs to pay attention is whether they are pulling vs. whether the horse is steady in the contact (and past that, if the horse is leaning on your hands). Both create pressure, and likely enough to break most of these “sensor strips”, but for two very, very different reasons. One is wrong, and the other is correct. BUT THE “SENSOR STRIPS” CAN’T TELL YOU WHICH ONE YOU’RE DOING! They just break. All they can tell you is that you’ve exceeded their tensile strength limit. Whoopty-freakin-do!
I despise, loathe, detest and find despicable these quick fix type gimmicks. They are most emphatically NOT a solution to a problem. There are certain situations where they may be beneficial in helping someone become aware of, and work towards fixing, a problem – but the gimmick itself is NOT the solution. Hard work, practice and the help of a good, qualified instructur are what fixes problems.
The only thing that can really, truly, “help you to find out and work towards an even, soft and elastic rein hand” is practice and lessons with a good, qualified instructor (mentioned twice and close together for repetitious benefit – ride with a good, qualified instructor! – especially if you have trouble with pulling on your horse’s mouth!).