The Schoolmasta is a variation of high-fitting side reins and is used for ridden schooling; the reins are fixed in a high position on the top of the horse’s withers. It consists of a specially designed and strengthened numnah with a D ring just in front of the pommel of the saddle. A trigger Clip fastens to this D which has a pulley attached to it to allow a cord to run freely through the pulley. Attached to each end of the cord are two solid leather side reins that run down each side of the horse’s neck to the bit.
Although the action of this training aid is the same as high, fixed side reins, the free-running cord at the saddle end gives the horse a lot of lateral freedom. This encourages the horse to maintain a stable head carriage while allowing for turning and small-circle work without compromising forward movement.
TO FIT: Fit the numnah under the saddle pulling it well up into the gullet of the saddle. Before you do the girth up, make sure it is far enough forward so that the D ring is well clear of the pommel. Clip the trigger clip onto the D ring on the numnah just in front of the horse’s wither. Adjust the side reins so that they are straight when the horse’s head is in a relaxed position at the halt.
As with all training aids, introduce the Schoolmasta gradually allowing the horse freedom to hold himself naturally and do not shorten it so that the horse is tied down into a position that cannot possibly be maintained for any length of time.