Training aids - the Pessoa

WHAT IS IT?

A system of ropes and pulleys that run along the sides of the horse, with an elastic tensioner positioned behind the quarters. The tensioner is attached to the top of lunging roller. Then two lines run from the tensioner, along either side of the horse, through rings on the roller positioned half way up the horse’s body. They then continue to clip on to the bit rings via a small pulley, before being run to one of several positions on the roller.

A pessoa creates a connection between the hindquarters and the bit

A pessoa creates a connection between the hindquarters and the bit

WHEN SHOULD IT BE USED?

It’s designed to be used during lungeing only.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

In effect it creates a connection between the hindquarters and the bit. The tensioner and its supporting lines put gentle pressure on the quarters, encouraging the horse to step further under, and so stretch and lift the back muscles. At the same time the lines running through the bit discourage the horse from raising his head too far by exerting pressure on the mouth. As soon as the horse lowers his head the pressure is removed.

WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

  • Suppleness of the back via a rounder outline
  • Looser paces due to increased suppleness
  • Developing topline muscle
  • Improving the connection from hindquarters to bridle by forming the correct outline
  • Improving engagement of the hindquarters, so transferring weight onto the hindquarters and improving balance

“By creating greater engagement and connection, the Pessoa can help improve muscle development in weak or young horses,” says training expert Tara Osborn. “Those who are difficult to motivate or who find engagement of their quarters difficult will also benefit.” By improving the back muscles, it can also improve horses who are tense or hollow, encouraging relaxation and the lowering and stretching of neck and topline.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG?

Fitted too tightly, it will restrict the horse’s forward movement and bring his nose behind the vertical, putting him onto the forehand. The horse must be driven forward to achieve the correct frame. Too loose and the quarters won’t engage, so there’ll be no connection from the hindquarters to the bridle.