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When I first began training, I used side reins to help my mules collect their bodies for optimum use in the round pen after leading training for core strength, but it didn’t take me long to realize that there were serious issues with the side reins. First, the side reins seemed to cause tension throughout the body instead of producing freedom of movement in good equine posture. Side reins did produce flexion at the poll, but the hind quarters were only partially engaged and were still being somewhat trailered behind. The stretchiness of the side reins invited the mule to pull against them resulting in the saddle slipping forward even with the crupper snugly attached causing the mule to raise his head instead of relaxing and “giving” at the poll with no tension. The “Elbow Pull” alleviates all of these issues and produces the freedom of movement in good equine posture that I was seeking.
As my equines gained strength, they showed increased range of motion and were now able to step well underneath with the hind quarters for adequate impulsion and suspension. They were better able to collect their bodies for a truly remarkable ride during more collected demands such as the really slow Western Pleasure walk, trot and canter, and in the more collected gaits and movements in dressage. This freedom of movement has produced amazing versatility and multiple LTR Champions in all kinds of equine activities.