Training Aids Explained

Another mini blog series looking at different training aids, how they work, why they work and what they are helping to acheieve. There are so many different training aids around today and they all do different things for our horses. Some of the more well known training aids include the De gogue, chambon, passoa, market harborough, draw Reins and side reins. When training our horse or getting them ready for the competition season, it seems there numerous aids that claim to help our horse develop a better top line, to help them engage their hind end or to achieve that perfect outline. But how much do we know about these various aids and how do we know which one is best to use on our own horses and ponies? This blog will concentrate on the training aids mentioned above, to clarify why and when each training aid could be used and a brief description of how they work. So lets begin this new mini series with  the De Gogue and the chambon!

The De Gogue 

How does it work?

This particular training aid acts on the bit and the poll, and also causes the nose to be  pulled in. It produces a good shape when working on the flat. By encouraging the neck to be lowered and the  nose to be brought in, the back comes up and the quarters engage. It acts upon the poll and the bit, putting pressure on the corners of the mouth when the horse raises his head higher than desired. Downward pressure is placed on the poll and backwards pressure on the mouth, which releases when the horse brings his head down and nose in.The horse is balanced with his back  rounded  and his hocks engaged – a similar shape to that which he should produce over a fence.


It looks very similar to a chambon, what is the difference?

Similar in look to a chambon, the cords pass through the bit rings instead of clipping to them, and attach either to specially adapted reins or back onto the breast strap that passes between the horse’s forelegs to form a triangular shape.

Can it be used for lunging and ridden work?

The De Gogue is for in-hand work, loose schooling, lunging or ridden work. For non-ridden training it’s used in the  triangular shape and is under the direct control of the horse. For ridden work, the de Gogue can be brought  into action by the special reins, but should be used alongside reins fitted directly to the bit.

So, what is it good for?

– Developing suppleness through the back
– Encouraging a longer, lower frame while being ridden
– Developing muscle across the back and loins – particularly those needed for show jumping
– Strengthening the hindquarters
– Develops looseness in the paces due to greater suppleness in the back

The Chambon

 How does it work?

The chambon is used to encourage the horse to work in a longer, lower outline, using the muscles over the back, quarters and neck. It’s ideal for the early stages of a horse’s education or in retraining. By encouraging the longer, lower frame, the horse will learn to use his back muscles and engage his quarters. It must be introduced slowly and the horse must be encouraged forward into the contact to get the best results. The chambon acts on the poll and, via the bit, on the corners of the mouth. When the horse raises his head higher than desired, the bit is raised in the mouth and poll pressure is applied. As soon as he lowers his head the pressure is removed. In effect, the horse works the chambon.


How is the chambon different to the De Gogue?

A cord clips to each bit ring and then passes upwards and through a loop on each side of a poll strap. From here, the cords drop downwards to attach to a single strap that passes between the horse’s forelegs and loops onto the girth or roller. The De Gogue, passes from the bit back to the girth.

What is it good for?

– Developing suppleness of the back
– Encouraging a longer, lower frame
– Developing muscle over the back and loins – particularly good for strengthening those used for show jumping
– Strengthening the hindquarters
– Developing looseness in the paces through suppleness in the back
– Developing top line muscle

Join us for the next part in this blog mini series, where we concentrate on the passoa and market harborough.