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Tips for riding with double reins

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  • Tips for riding with double reins

    At least until I (hopefully) find a different bit, I'm riding my horse in two reins for x-country, one set on the snaffle and the other on the gag. It's a wonderful combination for him, it gives me the perfect amount of breaks and steering, while still letting him be comfortable with going into the contact. I'm not necessarily riding with the two reins like you would in the ring, using the curb/gag rein independently for minor adjustments. Instead, my gag rein is rubberized web with stops and I set the gag rein at a certain length (I shorten/lengthen depending on how strong he's being) and use both reins together. It works well for us

    The problem is, I'm having trouble juggling both sets of reins when I have to let them slip. As a result, I'm not always slipping the reins as much as I should over drops or awkward distances, as I'm then scrambling to get them both organized and the right length on landing. Does anyone have any tips for how to quickly get them back and adjusted?
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  • #2
    Alas no. I ride tinyPo in two reins on a pelham, but she honestly doesn't move over regular jumps (plus her neck's so short I can easily release both reins up to her ears without changing my body position). I know I slip the reins quite happily over drops and then gather them up again the other side, and I'll try to think about how ... my first thought though, is that she's so well balanced, (and we're only at N ) that I have all the time in the world to just sit there and gather them up as she gallops along without any input from me.

    I hope you find someone more useful than me ... honestly, I just tried using two reins on her and never had any problem with them.

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    • #3
      I think the key is to keep your fingers lightly touching your thumbs even as you loosen the reins. So the reins are not moving from their positions between your fingers. Then I just shorten them as I would a single rein. Do you have the same problem with drops and a single rein?

      Another helpful thing is to have a distinct difference in feel between the snaffle and gag rein. One smooth and one webbed, for example. I know this helps me if I do ever get mixed up on the go.

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      • #4
        If you're using both reins together, what about just holding them both together? It may be too much bulk, but it would certainly make it quicker to pick them up as one rein instead of two.

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        • #5
          practice riding with two reins connected to a snaffle, and put only the bottom rein through a martingale. Sounds awkward but it is a simple way to get used to reins. practice picking up and setting the reins down. Eventually it will become second nature, and you will be able to tell whether or not the reins are the same length and if the right one is on the top and bottom.

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          • #6
            Practice. My last three horses have jumped in double reins (an elevator and then a pelham on the second horse) and now the horse I am competing goes in 2 reins. I guess now it is just second nature to let them slip evenly and then pull them through my fingers together.

            It might help to put tape on your gag reins to mark a few spots (different colors for different strengths) so you have a good easy visual for where you want them. Otherwise all I can say it practice a lot, keep riding in them, keep gathering them up, and get the feel for dropping them evenly as you go down the big stuff.

            One thing that does help them slip together is having the reins stick slightly. My snaffle rein (on an elevator) is thick rubber and then the bottom rein is a rubber web so they sort of stick together which makes it a little easier for them to stay together as they slip.
            "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline

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            • #7
              Practice, practice, practice. But you might also consider, if you have smaller hands, finding reins that are not too thick and bulky. I really like actual curb reins (1/2" thick, plain leather) if I have to use a second rein. Also make sure the reins are not of hugely different lengths. Nothing worse than having one rein with a big loop and the other barely long enough.

              Also if you know you're coming to a drop, you might just loosen your "curb" or mechanical rein big time beforehand so you won't punish the horse if the handling gets awkward. Gather 'em on up afterwards.
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              • #8
                Hmmm...maybe knot them together at the end for a while? I had this problem for a while, but we switched bits. If nothing else, just aim for the snaffle rein, hook a finger in the gag rein and worry about it when you need it.

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                • #9
                  I tape the reins together from the buckle end up about 4-8" towards the bit. I use electrical tape. I make sure the snaffle rein is a bit shorter than the curb, knotting the snaffle rein at the buckle if necessary. Then, if I've slipped the reins, I can just grab and know I'll have both reins back together, with mainly snaffle rein contact. In a few more strides I can sort out snaffle and curb for the next fence. I make sure my snaffle rein and curb rein are easy to tell apart by feel. Sorting them out on the fly takes a little practice, but it's not too hard.
                  Yvonne Lucas
                  Red Moon Farm
                  redmoonfarm.com


                  "Practice doesn't make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect." - Jim Wofford

                  "Some days you're the dog, some days the hydrant." - Jim Wofford

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by yventer View Post
                    I tape the reins together from the buckle end up about 4-8" towards the bit. I use electrical tape. I make sure the snaffle rein is a bit shorter than the curb, knotting the snaffle rein at the buckle if necessary. Then, if I've slipped the reins, I can just grab and know I'll have both reins back together, with mainly snaffle rein contact. In a few more strides I can sort out snaffle and curb for the next fence. I make sure my snaffle rein and curb rein are easy to tell apart by feel. Sorting them out on the fly takes a little practice, but it's not too hard.
                    Definitely hadn't thought of this but that's a smashing idea! I'll add it to the memory banks
                    ~Over or Through~

                    A Blog of Percy's Journey!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RedxHandedxJill View Post
                      Definitely hadn't thought of this but that's a smashing idea! I'll add it to the memory banks
                      Thanks! I was pretty pleased with myself for thinking of it. :-> It was the horse pictured below that necessitated riding with two reins. His motto is "get on, shut up, and hang on!" But I need to ride him on the "snaffle" most of the time or I burn out his brakes (such as they are *rolls eyes*).
                      Attached Files
                      Yvonne Lucas
                      Red Moon Farm
                      redmoonfarm.com


                      "Practice doesn't make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect." - Jim Wofford

                      "Some days you're the dog, some days the hydrant." - Jim Wofford

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by yventer View Post
                        I tape the reins together from the buckle end up about 4-8" towards the bit. I use electrical tape. I make sure the snaffle rein is a bit shorter than the curb, knotting the snaffle rein at the buckle if necessary. Then, if I've slipped the reins, I can just grab and know I'll have both reins back together, with mainly snaffle rein contact. In a few more strides I can sort out snaffle and curb for the next fence. I make sure my snaffle rein and curb rein are easy to tell apart by feel. Sorting them out on the fly takes a little practice, but it's not too hard.
                        Exactly this.
                        Blugal

                        You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

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                        • #13
                          What about two different colors of reins? Tayloredtack.com has a ton of varieties and does custom orders
                          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                          chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                          • #14
                            I like the tape idea. When I did rode with both after slipping them I'd grab them all up in my left hand and quickly move my right hand up the right set then grab the left rein up closer with my right hand (so I had both sides closer up) then moves my left hand in front of my right hand on the left reins only.). It sounds really complicated, but was just automatic after a while. I agree that having a very different feeling rein was needed. I used a nylon lined rubber on my snaffle and a laced on my gag. I don't think colors would have helped as I didn't have time to be staring at my reins while sorting it out.

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                            • #15
                              I was going to say just tape the reins together, but Yvonne beat me to it. :-)
                              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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