Since I am laid up and can't ride I thought I would post about the "gadgets" I use. I have seen and met many people who don't believe in gadgets to get a horse to do what you want. I use them tho. Say what you will but anything that helps me get my point across to Pippi or any other horse is welcomed.
I use draw reins. Hate them but use them, on a occasion. In the hunter ring I need a headset of some sort. Using the draw reins helps get Pippis head down, so we don't look like a darn Giraffe amoung many horses. I don't use them that often, many three times a month. And I don't even have them tight. They are mostly a guilding course. They also help me get Pippis hind end more engaged and relax her front. Now I lunge her in them. I have always done that really but more so now that I can't hop on her back. It helps build top line when I can't trot her on hills all the time. I don't see any problem using draw reins when done right. It is the people who crank them down and force a head set that I feel the need to slap.
I don't own this but I so want one. Neck Stretcher. Love it. Like draw reins but made of elastic stuff that don't force but suggest dropping the head. You only use it when lunging if done correctly but I love it. I hope to get one soon. I also like the German Martingale. One reason I hate draw reins is pinching my fingers but the German doesn't. If you can tell on the link the line connects to the girth then goes thru the bit to the reins and snaps on them. They are adjustable and easy to use.
When I say drop her head I don't mean AQHA drop. I want her poll to be the highest part still but I need her to be on the bit and for her hind end to be engaged. As pretty as Pippi is with her head up high, the judges will not like it.
I also use spurs. I guess that it is kinda a gadget, maybe not, but I use them. Some days Pippi is on it, forward, pretty and floaty but other times it takes every once of leg I have to get her forward. I normally ride in my spurs so I don't have to make a trip back to my tack box to find them, but I don't always use them. I love when Pippi listens to my seat and calves but sometimes a bump with a spur once or twice gets her moving. Pippi have never been cut by them, or hurt. I think anything can hurt a horse but when using it correctly is when it can help the horse.
I give lots of treats. I think it is a gadget that most people don't think is one and most people use. It is my way of telling Pippi she was a good girl. I also give treats to the girls I babysit. I like to reinforce good behavior. When they are bad no treats are given. Pippi gets treats when she lunges nicely and doesnt pull. When she did good in a workout or when she comes to me in the field. I love the look on her face when she hears the wrapper of a peppermint or when she hears me open a bag of carrots. Chance is the funniest with mints. He bites them in half a few times them sucks on them forever. You can really hear him sucking and see his mouth moving. I'll have to get video of it.
So I think that's all the gadgets I use, at least that's everything off the top of my head. Think what you will but Pippi is happy and healthy. In no way does any of these gadgets hurt her, and since I hope to use them correctly they all help her. But I would like to hear your opinions of why or why not use one of these or another gadget.