View Full Version : Improving the left outside hand

Jun. 17, 2011, 06:30 AM

I'm looking for some advice about improving my left outside hand. On my right rein, I have a wonderful contact but when I am on my left rein my hand is weak and floppy and I find myself (feeling guilty admitting this) turning with my inside hand.

I am consciously working on this every ride but am looking for any exercises that may help.


Jun. 17, 2011, 06:41 AM
This must be a common problem for right handed people, because I experience it and so do a number of other people I know. I've been working on it by have something to hold on to, in addition to the rein, to keep my left hand from doing weird things when it's on the outside. I've used a piece of bailing twine tied to one of the D-rings at the front of the saddle, a saddle pad tab, etc...to keep my hand from dropping the rein, opening out, etc... It kind of serves as a reminder for the left hand.

Jun. 17, 2011, 10:58 AM
I guess I'm the oddball then, I'm right handed and have more problems with my right hand as the outside rein than my left. :confused:

Give and Take
Jun. 17, 2011, 02:22 PM
There are a couple h/j tricks like keeping a crop between both hands so your contact stays even. That will also show if you're letting one of your reins slide through your fingers.

When I was in Germany, there was a rider with uneven hands and then had a large but thin rubber ring twisted into a figure 8 that she had to wear on her wrists.

Another option is to ride with 1 rein (the left one) and test whether part of the issue is also how you're using your leg and seat.

there's always something to work on...

Jun. 17, 2011, 03:10 PM
I guess I'm the oddball then, I'm right handed and have more problems with my right hand as the outside rein than my left. :confused:

Me too! It has a mind of it's own: it floats high, elbow goes out, wrist breaks in and wants to cross over the withers . . .ugh. I least I know have trained it to what "correct" is (through constant nagging and repetition from my trainer) - reminding myself to do it constantly is the bigger problem!

Jun. 17, 2011, 03:55 PM
put your thumb under the bucking strap close to the saddle, it will keep your hand in place and you will not be able to pull, nor to give the rein away, nor raise your hand, etc (all the things my left hand does all the time) if the horse pulls against the rein, it is just like a side rein, and you will find the horse gets soft contact much more easily with your hand stable

Jun. 17, 2011, 04:03 PM
You might try riding with eyes on the ground, with reins in alternate hands and the "free" hand at your side, hanging down from the shoulder. Often the problem with hands are actually problems in the shoulder or core alignment...which may also be centered in your hips and thighs.

Ask your ground person to look for places where you are stiff and crooked, try to fix those, and then, without altering the fix, pick up your reins. See if your left hand doesn't work more effectively.

If you can get a friend to videotape you, you can look at yourself and see what might be cockeyed. Range of motion exercises on the lungeline can also be very helpful in straightening yourself and freeing up blockages in your body.

Snoball 1
Jun. 17, 2011, 08:34 PM
At least I can take comfort in knowing I'm not the only one trying to overcome this tendency....it does get easier, but I feel bad my trainer has to constantly repeat herself like a broken record (LOL).

Jun. 18, 2011, 01:06 AM
The problem comes from your shoulder blade, not your hand per se. Your left shoulder blade needs to be carried back closer to your spine. In addition, you horse is crooked as well, so you and your horse are making each other's faults worse.

Jun. 18, 2011, 07:17 AM
Second what easyrider is saying. Hand and leg position really come from unevenness in the trunk. But, we're all uneven (my constant caveat), so it takes a while to get a handle on these things. You can do a lot of work on these things off the horse, though.

Also, the horse contributes to this. Angel is right in that the horse is crooked. But can't agree with the implied thought that that is easy to fix. A horse has a stronger and weaker hind leg, and he isn't going to get perfect in just a single ride.

Jun. 19, 2011, 03:47 AM
Thanks everyone!

Jun. 19, 2011, 07:12 AM
This is a great idea... I am going to do this today! Thanks