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Trouble keeping steady outside rein contact

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  • Trouble keeping steady outside rein contact

    Any good exercises to help me keep a more steady outside rein? My trainer has been having me practice giving up the inside rein (because I depend on it too much) but I tend to give up the outside as well without even thinking about it! HELP!!!!
    Harmonys Maestro: 1992-2008 RIP
    Harlequinn - redhead extraordinaire

  • #2
    Put your outside hand against the horse's withers and keep it there, being careful not to brace or get stiff with that arm. Do this for many, many rides. Eventually, you'll get used to the feeling of the rein in your outside hand. Ask me how I know this.
    Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


    • #3
      I find it helps for me to visualize the outside rein like a circle that prevents the horse from just flying out of the arena due to centripetal force .

      But this doesn't work with my pony who doesn't give very well. It works with my twisty bendy big guy, who really feels like without that outside rein he'd fly out of the arena! (he tends to overbend, while my pony is stiffer). So clearly I depend a lot on the horse to give me the right feedback!


      • #4
        put a grabstrap on your saddle, link the pinky finger of your outside hand into it, and don't let go!


        • #5
          No advice here.

          Just wanted to let you know that I'm having the same problem to the left (rt rein as outside). In my case, that's my bad side and I collapse, which serves to loose the outside rein. It's my young horse's bad side too and he tries to avoid that rein by falling to the inside and turning his head to the outside. He always had these tendencies but really has leaned this from me. Pretty much I'm fixing myself and the horse at the same time - not easy.

          I use inside leg to outside rein and (and this is important) keep contact in the outside rein wherever his head goes - he may try to throw his head to avoid the contact or go BTV. Once he realizes the contact isn't changing he goes into it (semi)willingly if you keep his inside leg under him (it won't work if you let his hind end fall behind). I know it will take time to reverse this issue I caused.

          Good luck.


          • #6
            Planting the outside hand (at the withers or low) tends to just substitute one problem for another. Make sure your outside upper arm is hanging vertically, and that the elbow is slightly behind the hip. You can also focus on (almost) having your chest point outside. The other thing is to make sure that the horse IS reacting to the inside leg. And lastly do (very slight) counter positioning. That means the horse still must go into outside connection (even though it is inside of arena), and do it to both hands.
            I.D.E.A. yoda


            • #7
              I'm having this problem too and working on it almost exclusively at this point to break the habit of losing the outside rein and pulling with the inside.

              What has been helping me the last couple of weeks is working on the lunge with my trainer and focusing only on keeping my hands the same. Same feel of contact in both reins, keeping the reins on exactly the same button (if your reins have buttons) on both sides, and then focusing on turning the horse on the circle with only my seat and waist. Imagine that you are resting your hands on a tray or countertop in riding position.

              Make sure that you do not getting stiff in your shoulders and elbows when you do this. When you do get the feeling in your hands, then think of where you feel it in your back. It's very difficult and will take lots of time to get the correct feeling. As I have become better at keeping my hands still and in the correct position, I'm finding that the horse is now seeking contact with the bit and the pulling match that we had has diminished, making our rides much more pleasant.

              Good luck---this is the area I have battled the most and I feel lucky to have a trainer that is working me through it.
              Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
              CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle


              • #8
                Think counterbend or shoulder in/fore - helps me keep my horse in the outside rein in my 'bad' direction.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rhiannonjk View Post
                  put a grabstrap on your saddle, link the pinky finger of your outside hand into it, and don't let go!
                  I just did that! It works like a charm .
                  Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                  Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                  VW sucks.


                  • #10
                    I give up my right outside hand.... what I found is that I am looking too far inside, and so turning my body too much to the inside, which makes me pull the inside rein too much and loosen the outside rein as my shoulders turn.

                    SO, I concentrate on looking between the horse's ears, only seeing the hint of his cheek on the inside, and "look" where I am going with my peripheral vision. It almost feels as if I am counterbending, but I am not, it is just my impression because too much bend seems so "normal" to my body.

                    ALSO, what has helped me is feeling as if my hands are attached to my hips through my elbows. When I turn to turn the horse, both hands move slightly, the same amount, rotating to the inside, with my shoulders, the inside to bend him and the outside against his neck, his body held aginst it by my inside leg. If I keep the connection between my hands and my hips, I am less likely to give up my outside rein.

                    I am suprised sometimes by the weight in the outside rein and the lightness on the inside.....



                    • #11
                      Hold a crop under your thumbs. Helped me keep contact and have my hands in the correct position. You also don't have the option to pull only with your inside rein.


                      • #12
                        ride without the inside rein for an hour, walk, trot, canter, circles, etc.


                        • #13
                          The trick is to get the horse to move into your outside rein. Giving of the inside rein is a test for self carriage, so make sure you help your horse pass the test by riding your horse from your inside leg and seat bone into the outside hand. And looking for the feeling of the horse moving into the outside rein will also get you thinking about it. Good luck!

                          Huntjump29's trick works really well too.


                          • #14
                            I sometimes have a similar problem with pulling too much or being to active with my inside rein too. A little tip I found in Dressage Today last month has really helped me. It said to have the inside rein come up in between your index finger and thumb instead of between the ring finger and pinky. Its hard to overuse the rein when held like this.

                            ~ Jen

                            "To be loved by a horse or any animal, should fill us with awe-for we have not deserved it." -Garretty


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lstevenson View Post
                              The trick is to get the horse to move into your outside rein. Giving of the inside rein is a test for self carriage, so make sure you help your horse pass the test by riding your horse from your inside leg and seat bone into the outside hand. And looking for the feeling of the horse moving into the outside rein will also get you thinking about it. Good luck!
                              Huntjump29's trick works really well too.
                              If that horse is moving forward into your hands, and working truly off your leg nothing should change in his body posture if you momentarily give both reins. If you give only only the inside it should reinforce the connction on the outside. You will then not be tempted to accidently throw away both.

                              Spiral circles maintain the bend both in and out-ridden as a leg yield in and out, are a useful tool, and a stepping stone to S/I for both rider and horse.
                              Last edited by merrygoround; May. 22, 2008, 11:34 AM. Reason: spelling
                              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                              • #16
                                Try fixing this problem with a driving horse!!! I am working on it, but my biggest problem is that my horse does not want to take the outside right rein.