View Full Version : Wider Reins = Better Use of Hind End?

May. 1, 2012, 11:51 AM
So I have added hunter lessons in with my dressage lessons now that my mare is getting older and I noticed a significant difference in my mare's way of going when I compare both diciplines. (My niche being hunters).

(I should note that both trainers are very well known for their work with youngsters)

I like to keep a healthy mix of dressage in my own training whether it be lessons or hacks in between but I have noticed when I ride in my dressage lessons, my coach encourages me to keep my hands slightly wider set but when I take my hunter lessons my coach states to close my hands together about 8 inches apart.
My mare responds well through her back and hindend which seems to follow through with the lowering of her head with the wider set rein, whereas the closer set she seems to want to carry her head higher and she will not engage as much until 30 minutes into our ride.

I have asked my coaches, they have stated;

Dressage coach- the wider rein helps support youngsters and assist them in finding their balance. Closer set being more advanced and is harder for them to 'funnel' through.

Hunter coach- states that my mare no longer needs the wider rein and should begin to support herself now and figure out how to go forward into closer set reins.

I see both points and they make sense in my head but yet I see instant improvement in her use of her body when I keep my hands slightly wider.

Can anyone shed some light on this and if I should keep a wider rein for now and progress to the closer rather than all of a sudden keeping a close rein?

Thank you.

May. 1, 2012, 11:54 AM
wider hand is easier for the rider to create an elastic connection from core to bit via the elbow.
Hunter coach's finished product is less advanced in the realm of collection than dressage coach's finished product.

IMHO most of the hunter training I've seen asks horses to balance on their own before they are ready and many travel on their forehands as a result.

May. 1, 2012, 11:59 AM
Widening your hands may change your overall position through your shoulders, back and hips and that may be what is encouraging her engagement.

May. 1, 2012, 12:18 PM
These both make A LOT of sense. I feel like I should use a wider hand when training, I am glad to hear it has it's purpose.

Thank you both!