How to Design a Pessoa Training System

Written by bridgette ashmore
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How to Design a Pessoa Training System
There are many devices available to help teach your horse proper carriage. (vaulting horse image by Clarence Alford from

The Pessoa training system was designed by Nelson Pessoa to help teach a horse proper carriage and to build muscles to support that carriage. The system consists of special ropes and pulleys that are designed for use while the horse is on a lunge line. It has multiple levels of adjustment to accommodate anything from a green horse to a dressage master. As with many training devices, its use carries a certain amount of controversy. If you are an experienced equestrian, you can create a similar system using a chambon and rubber neck extender.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Surcingle
  • Pad
  • Headstall
  • Lunge line
  • Wraps or boots
  • Chambon
  • Rubber neck extender

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  1. 1

    Prepare your horse for a lungeing session. Put on its headstall, pad and surcingle. Wrap its legs or put on its boots.

  2. 2

    Attach the chambon over the headstall and attach to the girth of the surcingle. Make sure it is not too tight. The horse should not curl its head behind the bit to try to ease the pressure on his poll from the chambon.

  3. 3

    Place the rubber neck extender around the rear of the horse and attach it to the girth on each side. The neck extender should sit above the hocks, at the lower part of the gaskin. Unlike the Pessoa system, the mouth is not directly connected to the hocks. This prevents hock movement from jabbing the horse in the mouth and encourages the horse to travel long and low.

  4. 4

    Take your horse to your lungeing area, and start in a small controlled circle. Observe your horse carefully and encourage it to travel forward in working gaits. The neck extender around its hocks will help encourage hind-end engagement, and the chambon will help keep its head at the correct height.

Tips and warnings

  • Start slow and allow your horse to become accustomed to the device.
  • The equipment above--especially the chambon and the Pessoa system--should only be used by knowledgeable equestrians with firm experience in the art of lungeing. They are not for inexperienced beginners. Do not expect any piece of equipment to act as a quick fix; there is no substitute for patience and proper training.

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