Not much new to update. I got a new purchase in the mail though! I love getting mail. I found some used Vienna Side Reins on craigslist and bought them. I paid $16.95 for them and they usually sell at Dover for about $45 plus $10 shipping so I thought they were a good deal. I just found that more companies are making them so now you can pay $100 to $130 for these reins, which is just a bit overkill. I was very happy with them, I'm glad I found used leather ones instead of buying a nylon set because nylon is less expensive new. I don't like nylon a whole lot, leather is definitely better in most cases :)
I usually don't use side reins or any "gadget" for that matter. I have some elastic side reins but I feel like they 1) teach Jetta to hang on them because they have too much give, 2) don't really allow stretching down and out, there's a little bit of downward, but not a lot of outwards stretch and 3) there are usually better alternatives to using gadgets, which in this situation would be long reining, but I'm still learning how to do it and using side reins is easier on both myself and Jetta. I don't use the side reins with donuts because I feel like they bounce around too much which puts pressure on the mouth and somewhat desensitizes it.
I used my new vienna reins today in my lunge session and Jetta was great. I think they're going to be a good tool. I warmed her up then set them at the longest setting which was pretty much perfect. Jetta was working really great in them - lifting the base of her neck and flexing softly through her poll while maintaining impulsion. Good pony! No pictures because the power was out at the barn so it was too dark for pictures (it's been super windy) and I am not talented enough to lunge and take photos, so... You can go to We Are Flying Solo though and check them out. She's got a very thorough explanation.
They're pretty ideal for Jetta because she really lifts the base of her neck, she doesn't fall on her forehand. Like with all gadgets they just don't have the desired effect on some horses, so these probably wouldn't work on some horses and would just create problems. Also, it is the lunger's responsibility to make sure that they're set at the right length and the horse is still maintaining some impulsion. They serve no purpose if the horse is strung out with trailing hind legs and a dropped back.
The picture on the left is the ideal. They need to be tracking up and reaching down. I would personally attach it to the surcingle a little lower so they can stretch down more. The picture on the right is, in my opinion, too tight. The horse is behind the vertical slightly and while the horse is tracking up, part of the reason for using these reins are to stretch the topline so the horse must reach downwards, not get all sucked in like this.