The Daisy rein attaches to both sides of the saddle and buckles onto the crown of the bridle to stop the horse or pony from putting his head down. It is sold as “Perfect for inexperienced riders or children.” and “This novel rein clips on both sides of the saddle and buckles onto the crown of the bridle, solving the age-old problem.”
Where do I start with this? Firstly the rein attaches to the crownpiece, in this case on a bitted bridle. So when the horse drops the head, the rein tenses and pulls on the crown, which in turn pulls on the browband (if fitted) and the bit.
This is designed to restrict head movement so the horse can’t swipe grass while being ridden. The horse’s head can only move down within whichever settings have been chosen. The horse cannot rub their leg to display calming signals – or just scratch an itch – it cannot lower the head in front of the vertical to increase airflow should it be needed. It does however encourage a U neck shape where the poll is broken backwards, to alleviate the tension.
The inexperienced rider or child would likely not be aware of any of this, so could be causing damage, completely unaware of the horse’s discomfort.
“This novel rein clips on both sides of the saddle and buckles onto the crown of the bridle, solving the age-old problem.”
Let’s be clear, this rein doesn’t solve the problem for the horse, only the rider. When you ignore a problem, it doesn’t go away and in the case of “solving” bucking, well the rein simply prevents the horse from the behaviour. Behaviour is the only means the horse has for communicating with us. It is important that instead of ignoring the communication, we engage with it and ask why it is happening. If the horse is in pain, we simply stop the horse from telling us they are in pain and carry on regardless. This sends chills down my spine, does it do the same to you?
Q: So what is the answer?
A: That depends
Q: On what?
A: On the problem.
Food anxiety can be created for lots of reasons, whether that the pony is in a starvation paddock, muzzled, has ulcers etc.
Assuming the horse isn’t hungry, training is the way to go. There are many positive reinforcement trainers demonstrating how they were able to overcome the issue, here is a video by Connection Training you can check out CLICK TO WATCH
Yes, training takes longer than just putting on a daisy rein – but then it’s a small price to pay for correct training and a comfortable and pain-free pony.