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Hunter rider needs help with outside rein!

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  • Hunter rider needs help with outside rein!

    Hello Ladies,
    I'm a hunter rider who has recently taken one dressage lesson. I don't really understand the concept of "riding the outside rein". I just don't get it, seriously. I'm trying to wrap my head around it, but when I try to do it I just can't let go of the inside rein thru the turn. I'm hoping you can explain this to me, in very simple terms, because I would love to practice a bit and show some improvement before my next lesson TIA

  • #2
    When I get stuck on the inside rein, I like to spiral in and out on the circle. Most often when I have that feeling of not being able to let go of the inside rein, it is because my horse is not off that leg. As I am spiraling out, I can test whether she is off my leg and into the opposite rein by pushing my inside hand forward for a few steps. If I cannot, I'll try and get her off the inside leg with maybe some leg yielding on the circle before I resume my spirals.

    Have fun with your dressage lessons It only took me one to be hooked!
    Reasons I'm crazy, #37: I went out shopping for a pony and came home with a 17hh OTTB
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~

    Comment


    • #3
      Think of the outside rein as a means of collection and refocusing your horse's energy. Roughly, your inside leg creates energy through the horse's inside leg which then travels to his outside shoulder. The outside rein stops the energy from spilling out and brings it back where you can focus it toward the direction you are heading. I think of it as if the energy you've created from your leg is "bouncing" off a wall.

      I remember very well the lesson where my trainer made me drop my inside rein and only ride off the outside. It was agony - and the results were amazing. Once you've felt it, it's impossible to go back. The idea of using the inside rein as the primary turning aid sounds odd to me now.

      Comment


      • #4
        When I first got into dressage, I was the same as you, did not understand the idea of riding the outside rein, particularly through corners. How my instructor explained it to me and how I understood it was instead of telling your horse where to go, you're indicating to your horse where NOT to go.

        Example: When you're riding down the long side and coming towards the corner, instead of pulling the horse around the corner with the inside rein, you engage the outside rein to indicate to the horse he's not to go THROUGH that rein, but to bend around your inside leg. It's really the concept of riding the inside leg to your outside hand. Keep outside rein steady/connected, slightly increase pressure at girth with your inside leg (thus pushing horse into outside rein). At this point, your horse has no place really to go since it is being pushed from the inside (leg) and contrained on the outside (rein). This is where you soften that inside rein, showing the horse where you'd like it to move by eliminating all other choices.

        I hope this doesn't confuse you any further! Let me know, and I can try to simplify Once I got this into my head, my horse became so much softer and rounder during all of our rides. Inside leg to outside hand!
        All that is gold does not glitter;
        Not all those who wander are lost.
        ~J.R.R. Tolkien
        http://theimperfectperfecthorse.blogspot.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Riding spiral circles, and pushing your horse out with the inside leg, while your outside leg helps support the bend, will help. spiraling in, with the inside leg creating the bend, while the outside leg brings the shoulder in and supports the hindquarters, will help.

          Think of it not so much a inside rein, outside rein, but what your inside leg and outside leg are doing. The reins support the bend but its the body that does the bending, and your body is what does the work.

          Once you figure out how to make your body behave, it's a whole lot easier.

          If you can find an instructor with a well trained horse, who will put you on the longe, you will really get it.
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Lots of ways of using/being on "the outside rein". But to restrict it to "turning" and put it in a h/j perspective...

            Suppose you are on a hunter course, and, as you attempt to turn across the diagonal, the horse gets his eye on the outside line (or the ingate). If you just "pull on the inside rein", the horse is likely to "rubberneck", turning his head and neck without turning his body, and bulge his shoulder to the outside.

            To fix it, you need to stop pulling on the inside rein, and instead use your OUTSIDE leg and rein to "block" the bulge, and get his body to line up with his head and neck.

            Using the outside rein to turn in dressage is the same principle. But you use that as the primary method of turning, not JUST when the horse is trying to run through the outside shoulder.
            Janet

            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2017.

            Comment


            • #7
              Your horse is a river. You are the banks of the river. Your job is to ensure all the water heads in the same direction. There's a left turn coming up, strengthen the right banks so no water falls out
              The left bank can't pull the water left, only push it.
              www.destinationconsensusequus.com
              chaque pas est fait ensemble

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kelsey97 View Post
                Hello ...I just can't let go of the inside rein thru the turn. ... TIA
                So you don't (generally) "let go" of inside rein, you just have more contact on the outside rein.

                When you turn you wrap your horse around the inside leg, at the girth, and maintain a steady connection with the outside rein so that the horse can't "pop" their shoulder. This is the "inside leg to outside rein" connection. It gets the horse to bend like a bananna rather than a straw net at different places.

                Also - when you and the horse are learning it is more of a "turn the key" with the inside rein - where you turn the (rein) key by turning your wrist to the outside (away) from horses body (turn right wuith right hand and left with left hand) then release. You do not want to "hold" on the rein - horse will learn to brace against the rein.

                Hope this analogy helps. Many times we tell a rider (starting out in dressage) to release the rein where we really mean to soften the rein (my moving elbow slightly forward off the waist).
                Now in Kentucky

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is what I tell my pony club kids.
                  Your outside rein is your steering and your brakes. Think of the horse as a wedge...narrow in front and wide behind. In order for them to be truly straight, their shoulders must be in front of their haunches (regardless of whether you are on a circle or a straight line), not their haunches pushed over to be in line with their shoulders. In order to make them straight, the outside rein must control the shoulders and push them around, rather than the inside rein pulling them around a turn.
                  Once you can straighten their shoulders, to be in front of their haunches, you can ride them forward and then allow them to go rounder to the reins. Turning with the inside rein just allows the horse to travel to the outside...the more you pull on the inside rein, the more they continue to travel to the outside.. the more you pull on the inside rein....
                  Hope this helps.
                  Mirror Image 2001-2007

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I like the river analogy above, but also just realize you create energy with your legs (driving aids) and then you give it somewhere to go by opening a door. So if you want them to go inside, you open that door for the energy to flow there. The inside rein can sort of nudge them there - hey, over here, then soften as they start flowing that way.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As someone who also came from hunter land mostly, I've been learning the same this year. One thing I find that helped me, was to remember that the outside rein is mine, the inside rein is my horse's.

                      Just be patient with it, it is not a habit you will correct over night.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There is only an outside shoulder if you are turning... and if going straight there are TWO! lol

                        Go straight across the diagnol a bunch with even connection on both reins really going as straight as you can creating barriers for BOTH shoulders.

                        Then before you come to the corner use inside leg soften your inside rein and keep connection with your outside rein the same. Keeping the lightest connection possible asking for a bend to the inside, use your outside to make your turn.

                        I would do this alot at the walk. I make circles smaller and smaller trying to keep bend while using the outside turn.


                        Doing this from the straight is easier to get a feel than starting a circle.
                        ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                        http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thank you for the explanations, it is helping to clear up this concept in my mind...now I just have to get up there and actually do it. I think I need to pay more attention to my inside leg, I think that is where I'm losing it. I'm not used to riding with an "active" inside leg, it has always been a fixed point that the outside leg steers around with help from inside rein.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            just a quick note about inside leg to outside rein, and the idea of riding on the outside rein.

                            in reality we should be riding the horse into EVEN contact - not more on the outside rein. yes, we eventually get to using bilateral aids, but in the beginning it should be even contact.

                            for corners, depending on how trained the horse is, you would half halt (where needed) , then make sure the horse is flexed and bent and as you go into the corner, release a bit on the outside rein so the horse can bend and flex as its body goes thru the corner.... once you are in the corner your inside hand goes back to being a steady contact, and as the horse comes out of the corner your outside contact will become shorter to match the straight line.

                            in other words, thinking of the outside reins all the time will only get a rider to have outside rein -itis and not give and think about even contact.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              How timely! I am another rider from hunter-land with a green OTTB and I worked on this for 1/2 hour yesterday and I just could.not.let.go with the inside rein. So instead of a nice turn, i get the wiggly, bowing out and a mental struggle to go along with it. Your analogies helped it to click, at least sitting here at my computer. I'll try the suggestions later on today. Thanks for the input!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                question regarding speed

                                Originally posted by waremares View Post
                                How timely! I am another rider from hunter-land with a green OTTB and I worked on this for 1/2 hour yesterday and I just could.not.let.go with the inside rein. So instead of a nice turn, i get the wiggly, bowing out and a mental struggle to go along with it. Your analogies helped it to click, at least sitting here at my computer. I'll try the suggestions later on today. Thanks for the input!
                                My horse is very green as well so I can relate to the wiggly turns etc! I like the recent posts about half halting and going into even contact. Today I'm going to try to focus on using the inside rein when it is needed rather than relying on it to make a turn.
                                Question for you all: What speed would you recommend to practice this concept, i.e. slow trot vs. working trot, or does it even matter?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by mbm View Post
                                  just a quick note about inside leg to outside rein, and the idea of riding on the outside rein.

                                  in reality we should be riding the horse into EVEN contact - not more on the outside rein. yes, we eventually get to using bilateral aids, but in the beginning it should be even contact.

                                  for corners, depending on how trained the horse is, you would half halt (where needed) , then make sure the horse is flexed and bent and as you go into the corner, release a bit on the outside rein so the horse can bend and flex as its body goes thru the corner.... once you are in the corner your inside hand goes back to being a steady contact, and as the horse comes out of the corner your outside contact will become shorter to match the straight line.
                                  in other words, thinking of the outside reins all the time will only get a rider to have outside rein -itis and not give and think about even contact.


                                  THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

                                  I think too many people get hooked on inside leg to outside rein. You MUST MUST MUST ride both sides of the horse. Your outside aids keep the horse straight. I see far too many people riding only one side of the horse, as a result a crooked horse. Remember, the horse has to stretch longer with his ouside legs around a turn and you have to allow for that reach with the outside rein, it should never be anchored!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by kelsey97 View Post
                                    Thank you for the explanations, it is helping to clear up this concept in my mind...now I just have to get up there and actually do it. I think I need to pay more attention to my inside leg, I think that is where I'm losing it. I'm not used to riding with an "active" inside leg, it has always been a fixed point that the outside leg steers around with help from inside rein.
                                    And I think thats where a lot of us get messed up...at least I know I was taught, at the beginning, if you want to turn, do an opening inside rein, outside leg. I know now that is a very oversimplified version of a turn, and I think actually did me more of a disservice as opposed to actually teaching me the outside aids from the get go!

                                    I know a visual given to me when I was learning this was imagine your horse is brownie batter, and your outside aids are the bowl. Your inside leg is the spatula. When you squish that brownie batter up against the bowl, you know how you get that nice curve in the batter because there is a barrier? Thats how you want your horse against your outside rein.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      "when I try to do it I just can't let go of the inside rein thru the turn."...

                                      It might help you to reach forward with your inside hand/rein and scratch the horse on the neck as you ride through the corners..

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Yup, this is really hard. Been there, mostly done that, but sometimes I struggle with it, too.

                                        The key thing to remember is that you steer your horse from your legs and your seat, not your hands. You need to use your legs and your weight to direct your horse in the right direction. The inside rein is for suppling your horse. The outside is for collection, kind of a "come to me".

                                        That just in addition to all the great things people have said.

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