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Understanding Equine Training Aids & Equipment: An Easy To Follow Guide

In equestrianism, mastering the art of horsemanship involves a delicate balance of communication, understanding, and training techniques. Equine training aids come in a variety of forms and are here to support the development of muscle engagement for a better outline, as long as they are used correctly. However, when misused, they can ruin all the work that's been put into building a relationship between you and your horse. This article breaks down the available training aids for both riding and lunging and their purpose.

Dual purpose training aids


What is a ReinRite?

A ReinRite is a training aid designed to promote natural movement whilst not restricting the horse. This is because it is made with an elasticated cord that runs from the girth between the horse's front legs through to just before the bit rings, where it incorporates a pulley system attaching to each bit ring, allowing the horse to move their head comfortably left and right. The materials and functionality mean horses can correctly engage their back and hindquarters. The ReinRite has ridden and lunging variations.

What is a Bungee Training Rein?

An equine bungee is a training aid that is made of elastic cord and provides resistance to discourage a horse from throwing their head up high and hollowing their back. The bungee starts with an adjustable loop at the poll with a piece of cord running down each side, through the bit rings, and attaching back to the girth. This training aid can be used for lunging and ridden work.

What is a French Martingale?

The French martingale is designed to improve a horse's topline during ridden work by encouraging a low and relaxed frame. It consists of a leather strap that attaches to the girth and then runs between the horse's front legs to the top of the chest. At this point, it forks into two pieces of rubber bungee that attach to the bit rings. The French martingale is also known as a bungee martingale.

What is a Harbridge?

The Harbridge training aid has the same design and functionality as the French martingale, which means it is designed to encourage a horse to work in a rounded frame by applying pressure to the bit rings. The only difference is instead of rubber bungee at the point it splits, it has elastic nylon.

Ridden Training Aids & Accessories


What is a Running Martingale?

A running martingale is a piece of tack designed to encourage a horse to maintain a consistent head carriage by limiting the upward movement of the head past a certain point. It consists of a leather strap that attaches to the girth, runs between the horse's front legs, and then forks at the highest point of the chest to attach one leather strap to each rein via a small metal ring. The running martingale will also have a neckstrap that starts from the base of where the martingale forks and loops around the horse's neck. You will also need martingale stoppers to prevent the bit from being interfered with. 

What is a Standing Martingale?

Similar to the running martingale, a standing martingale aims to stop the horse's head position from being elevated beyond a certain point. However, it differs because instead of forking the chest, it maintains a singular strap that attaches to the noseband. The standing martingale still attaches to the girth and has a neckstrap.

What is an Irish Martingale?

The Irish martingale is a small and simple leather strap with a metal ring at each end to hold the two reins together. This keeps the reins in line with the horse's mouth and helps prevent the reins from going over the horse's head if the rider falls. An Irish martingale is less of a training aid and more of a piece of safety equipment.

What is a Bib Martingale?

A bib martingale is a combination of a running martingale and an Irish martingale. Instead of two singular leather straps attaching to the reins, it is one solid piece of leatherwork.

What is a De Gouge?

The de gouge is used to encourage a horse to work in a rounded frame and can be used either on the lunge or during ridden work. It applies pressure to the poll and mouth to discourage the horse from working in a bad outline. The De Gogue attaches to the girth between the front legs, and from the strap will be two pieces of elastic cord that go up to the poll. You will have a piece of leatherwork provided that goes over the poll and will have a loop at the end to feed the cord through. From there, it's down and through the bit rings and back to where you started. The cord has clips at the end to attach back to the piece of leatherwork coming from the girth. Provided it's fitted properly, the training aid will make a triangle shape.

What is a Market Harborough?

A Market Harborough is a ridden training aid that applies pressure to the bit when the horse raises its head too high or hollows its back. It consists of two straps running from the girth through the bit rings and attaching back to the D rings on the provided reins.

What is a Breast Girth?

A breast girth helps secure the saddle in place by stopping it from slipping back. You can either get a breast girth that clips onto each D ring of the saddle via looping around the chest or you can get one that is secured via the girth straps. The latter comes with a neck strap.

What is a Breastplate?

A breastplate is a combination of a martingale and a breast girth. You can get a 3-point breastplate, which is either available with attachments to the d rings of the saddle or to the girth straps, or a 5-point breastplate, which goes to both. The latter is most commonly used for eventing.

What are Draw Reins?

Draw reins are a ridden training aid that attaches to the girth and runs through the bit rings to the rider's hands. They provide additional leverage to encourage the horse to work in a round frame. You can find a full review of draw reins here

What are Scharf Soft Reins?

The Scharf soft rein is a training aid that provides a more horse-friendly adaptation of draw reins. The key difference is the pressure release from a loop on each rein meaning as soon as the horse is in its optimum frame, the piece of cord running from the bit ring to the girth is completely disengaged. This means the rider cannot ask the horse to overbend with the extra leverage that a standard draw rein would give. You also don't need two reins, the Scharf soft rein is an all-in-one solution.

What are Flexi Reins?

Flexi Reins are a training aid that provides gentle, flexible contact with the horse's mouth, encouraging suppleness and decreasing reactivity to tension or pressure. The flexi-rein is a simple leather and elastic nylon attachment between the end of your standard reins and the bit rings.

What is a Daisy Rein?

A daisy rein is a training aid designed to help young or inexperienced riders stop horses from putting their heads down to graze during ridden work, helping the rider maintain balance and stability. The daisy rein is a leather strap that loops around the bridle headpiece at the poll and then runs down to the front of your saddle. From there, it forks to allow it to clip onto both d-rings.

Lunging Training Aids


What is a Pessoa Lunging Aid?

The Pessoa lunging aid encourages a horse to work in a rounded frame and engage its hindquarters while being lunged. It consists of ropes attached to the girth and running through rings on a surcingle or roller. The ropes will go around the horse's hindquarters, up to the bit rings, then back down to the girth through the horse's front legs.

What is a Chambon?

A Chambon is a lunging aid that encourages a horse to stretch and maintain a relaxed frame. The Chambon clips onto the girth, comes between the front legs to roughly where the browband sits, passes through a ring attached to a leather strap sitting over the horse's poll, and then clips onto the bit ring. The Chambon can only be used for lunging.

What are Side Reins?

Side reins are used during lunging to encourage the horse to work in a round frame and maintain consistent contact with the bit. Side reins are attached to a D-ring on either side of the lunging roller and clip onto the bit rings.
Incorporating equine training aids into your routine can help enhance communication between horse and rider, encourage proper development, and achieve training goals effectively. However, these aids will only be effective if you're riding correctly to start with. If your horse goes with a high head carriage and is behind the bridle because you aren't riding with enough leg, no training aid will change this. Therefore, it's essential to use these tools responsibly and under the guidance of a knowledgeable trainer to ensure the horse's well-being and progress.


Team Horsemart
Published on 09-05-2024