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How to remember to keep your fingers closed?

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  • How to remember to keep your fingers closed?

    Anyone ever go back to taking lessons after several years of riding by yourself and find some bad habits? Mine are that I don't keep my elbows bent...and my fingers closed on the reins. I'm looking for your tips/best practices. I ride english and my instructor has given me a trick to keep my elbows bent so I'm not worried so much about that as getting my fingers closed.

  • #2
    Think of yourself holding baby chicks (thank you, Sally Swift) in your hands, with their little heads poking out of the top. Ask your teacher to holler out you dropped your chickens every time you do just that

    My poor DH has learned I'll walk by and pull the reins out of his hand if his form is too poor in that regard We trail ride, and IMO not having a hold of your reins might mean you got nothin' if a horse trips badly enough. So she might do that to you too- if she has to approach you about something, agree you won't be offended if she reminds you by popping that rein out of your chicken holder


    • #3
      Another memory trick is to hold a pebble in each hand. When you drop it, you have to dismount and get another. It is enough of a pain to help with the learning curve.

      And it only takes 10,000 times to transfer the new info into the automatic memory bank....
      Intermediate Riding Skills


      • #4
        Have your instructor threaten to duct tape your fingers closed?

        Sorry, I was at my wits end with an adult student of mine on that very issue. I tried everything and finally resorted to the duct tape threat. It worked!
        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


        • #5
          My instructor always reminds me and also tells me this:

          You don't have to keep all your fingers closed. Just think about keeping your pinkies touching your palm. If your pinkies are closed, the rest of your fingers follow suit.

          If I think about "are my pinkies touching my palm?" it's easier than "am I closing my fingers?"
          The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
          Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks everyone. I've been trying it for months and thinking it wasn't quite working for me. I think I will try the pebble trick. I hate to say it but I think learn best by doing things the hardest way possible.


            • #7
              I am with you!! I am driving my poor tb crazy with this! He gets so worried when I change my rein length. I do it waayy too often and need to fix this. I may try the pebble. I only learn when the consequences are IMMEDIATE like dropping the stinkin' rock. That just might work!!


              • Original Poster

                Same!! Either the rock will bother me by having to get up and down to get a new one or it'll bother the horse. I'll definitely remember something that bothers the horse. Who wants pebbles dropped on their withers?!


                • #9
                  I've had to ride with washrags in my hands - they are a bit bigger to grip and they stick out the top and bottom. Once we were in the outdoor and there wasn't anything handy. My trainer went to the flower box, snapped up 2 artificial flowers, and those were my training aid for the lesson. It worked!