One go the things Trainer S. Recommended I try with Tesla was a pair of vienna reins, to help her stretch over her lower back (the spot she tends to hold all her tension). I did a bit of research - and found that German Sliding Reins achieved the same thing - and had more flexibility in use.
I tried all my local tack shops and trolled the inter webs, but couldn't seem to find a used pair. I saw several excellent blogger DIY versions here and here - but I strongly prefer breakable tack. I stumbled upon a shop in Canada that had them for $50 - so I scooped up a pair http://www.
I like the construction - the leather is decentish, but you can use and abuse it without feeling guilty - the only complaint is the buckles can poke sensitive skin when you run them thru the bit rings - so I'll just replace them with conway buckles for a few dollars.
|Now that's a pretty picture!|
Tesla always makes me laugh when we try new tack - she is very impressed, and careful and realizes "Oh - we mean business now" :) Our first go-round I worked in the round pen, let her warm up and get any wiggles out first, and then hitched it all up. The Sliding Reins are a lot more cumbersome than the side reins - and you can't really cheat and hook them up beforehand (cause they are so long they might get caught on something). I put them on as low and loose as possible, and as she builds more strength I can adjust as needed. I like that the horse can "auto-correct" and that there is both vertical and lateral give so the horse isn't forced into a frame.
Overall - I am very glad I went for the sliding reins - I can hook them both on her girth if I want to use them as Vienna Reins - but I also have the option to use them other ways!