Love them or hate them they are within the equestrian world and are used.
Its simple for me, I don't like them and they are not for me.
Now I have used them, many years ago before I could form my own opinion, because I was too inexperienced and thats what my then trainer advised.
Looking back I can see why he advised them, I was 7 stone riding a huge 17 hand warmblood that Id purchased on a whim, I wanted to be a dressage rider and I was completely dazzled by him, he was stunning, albeit a bay…… hehehe.
He was strong, and stubborn and I was a novice with limited skills and no strength. Dean would get on him and he would float around busting every dressage move there was, yet when I would get on board it would be a job to even get him remotely listening let alone connected.
He had huge paces and he would use them against me, he ripped my soul out and handed it to me on a plate. That horse made me so upset I ended up hating riding him, mainly because he scared the crap out of me and made me look exactly what I was, a novice.
Not the best look in front of someone you admire and want to impress but it did make me begin to listen and learn. I was very very lucky to be given Jimbo a wonderful schoolmaster who although still big for me at 16.2 he was super polite and forgiving, so after a gruelling lesson on the beast where I professed I was giving up horses and never going to ride ever again I was put on Jimbo and I was in love, he really tried for me and we began to bond. I digress - sorry, back to draw reins…….
Dean put the draw reins on the beast to give me a bit of confidence and to enable me to pin him down - his words not mine. He wanted me to be able to produce energy and stop it from whizzing out the front end, the draw reins enabled me to stop, generally give directions and keep his head down which at the time I thought was dressage.
Yes please don't spit at the screen, I was very young and very inexperienced. I thank god know better now.
So for the time the draw reins were on I felt I had control and felt like I could ride but as soon as they were off I was frighten, I felt like I didn't have everything I needed and even before I started I felt like I couldn't cope with him without them so all in all they were a complete false sense of economy.
Which is why even back then I didn't like them, now I know more and Ive had the pleasure of training with some amazing riders and trainers who have shown me different ways to train a horse and I have a lot more knowledge to base my opinions on I just don't see any need for them.
Simply they are not for me. If you ride in them and you find they work for you then thats completely up to you, because you are you and I am me, we don't have to ride or train horses in the same way, thats kind of the beauty of horses, theres more than one road that leads to Rome.
For me all you need to make sure is that you can hand on heart say you are not causing your horse any pain or discomfort and that is mentally or physically. No matter how you train or with what type of gadgets if you are not causing anyone any pain then thats ok.