I event so perhaps my perception of danger is skewed...
I don't see how having my thumbs in the loop could be dangerous?? To clarify, its one big loop (D ring to D ring and then up over thumbs) not two little loops for my thumbs to get stuck into. If I come off, I see the chances of my thumb being caught in the loop at about the same level of risk as my chances that I get tangled up in the reins... or getting caught up on the neck strap which I use when jumping. Though I now really feel that I'm jinxing myself...
(The reason why she does it). I think I will try to do some video so she can see what the busy hands bring about (horse curled behind), and find comparison video for her. It is hard to change a mindset though, when it is someone who is experienced/able. May also do the "pretend you are the horse and hold the bit, and I will be YOU and hold the reins" exercise.
I agree I can't just take away the busy hands without replacing it with a new skill set that will make her feel able to achieve results with the more sympathetic hand. I think she is used to having to try to show big results in short times, so now she has two horses to ride that can be thought of as a more long term projects, she may be more willing/able to experiment.
Originally Posted by EqTrainer
There is a good chance she does this because she has learned the wrong feeling as correct. If that is the case no amount of quieting her hands type exercises will help her.
Often when people are overfocused on the horse feeling light, they fiddle. They have been taught that the horse giving to the bit, rather than taking the bit out, is correct because the horse is light to the hands. The other feeling of course is the horse is leaning on the bit as an end point, and is heavy, and the rider is avoiding this, not understanding there is another choice/possibility.
The image that helped me the most at the time, to understand the horses correct relationship with the bit, was to picture the horse was always going after a carrot and my reins were sticks. Seriously!
My advice is that you explore why she fiddles. Until she understands that the feeling she seeks is incorrect, *and has it replaced by one that is better*, she will probably struggle to change even if she is being told she should.