Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You're responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the Forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it--details of personal disputes may be better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts, though are not legally obligated to do so, regardless of content.

Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting. Moderators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts unless they have been alerted and have determined that a post, thread or user has violated the Forums' policies. Moderators do not regularly independently monitor the Forums for such violations.

Profanity, outright vulgarity, blatant personal insults or otherwise inappropriate statements will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

Users may provide their positive or negative experiences with or opinions of companies, products, individuals, etc.; however, accounts involving allegations of criminal behavior against named individuals or companies MUST be first-hand accounts and may NOT be made anonymously.

If a situation has been reported upon by a reputable news source or addressed by law enforcement or the legal system it is open for discussion, but if an individual wants to make their own claims of criminal behavior against a named party in the course of that discussion, they too must identify themselves by first and last name and the account must be first-person.

Criminal allegations that do not satisfy these requirements, when brought to our attention, may be removed pending satisfaction of these criteria, and we reserve the right to err on the side of caution when making these determinations.

Credible threats of suicide will be reported to the police along with identifying user information at our disposal, in addition to referring the user to suicide helpline resources such as 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it's understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users' profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses -- Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it's related to a horse for sale, regardless of who's selling it, it doesn't belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions -- Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services -- Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products -- While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements -- Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be "bumped" excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues -- Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators' discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the �alert� button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your �Ignore� list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you'd rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user's membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 5/9/18)
See more
See less

Exercises to keep my hands more forward

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Exercises to keep my hands more forward

    Both my trainers want me to carry my hands a bit farther forward with a shorter rein. I'm trying, but I am not tall nor long of limb and it is very difficult for me. A lot of times, I tend to lock my elbow when I focus on it rather than have a following arm. If I try to hold the martingale neckstrap, I lose connection with my horse, it pulls my upper body forward and is VERY uncomfortable (borderline painful) across the middle of my back. Any other tips to help me slowly move my hands forward without being miserable? Thank you!
    "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"

    Is it a balance issue for you? If so try posting three strides then standing three strides without holding on to anything. You may need to strengthen your core. To unlock the elbows put your knuckles together and post!
    Humans dont mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. Sebastian Junger


      Tie your reins together in a knot and hold your reins like a driving rein. The knot keeps your reins from inadvertently getting longer and the driving rein keeps your elbow from locking. Works wonders 🙂


        That pain you feel in your back is linked to this issue. You may functionally not have great range of motion even with the length of arm you have. Developing the right core muscles will help. You are likely overusing the wrong ones. Rather than grab onto something like a neck strap, you can practice flatting with the reins in one hand and trying to move that other arm around. Can you put it on your hip? Out to the side? Reach straight forward? On your head? If any of these things are challenging or make you tip, you need to practice it more. Switch to the other arm. I think doing one arm at a time will be less likely to pull on your back. It's a bit of a suppling exercise for yourself. And then when that at least feels easier, it'll be about reprogramming your muscle memory. Everything new feels awkward at first even if it's the "right" thing to do. It doesn't feel right when you are in a habit of something else. If you worry about your steering or your horse, take some longe lessons.

        Off the horse, you may want to look at exercises and stretches to increase mobility and strength in the serratus anterior area. To extend the arm forward freely and independently without stiffening, your shoulder blade needs to be back and down and seated in its pocket. If you try to extend by rotating the shoulder forward or pulling with the frontal shoulder muscles, you will feel stiff and like you are reaching/leaning forward. You may feel strain in your mid/low back. The serratus anterior is what helps keep your shoulder in the right spot and your back tall while you move the arm forward. The arm is then light and free to move and it should feel less awkward to carry the hand more up and forward.


          Unbuckle the reins, wrap them around the neck and rebuckle them against the throat. Now you only have a short rein to hold, and you will be forced to get your hands forward.

          Only do this on a horse you know pretty well.


            There are likely a whole bunch of position/ body/ physical factors at play here, so "fixing" this wont come down to one exercise - buuuuut, bridging reins is a great option to help reinforce a more forward hand.


              As a fellow short armed person, I feel your pain.
              As others have said, core strength is key. Up up downs, two pointing, and no stirrups are good for that. Also, try rolling your shoulders to stretch out so you don’t hold tension.
              But, sometimes you just physically can’t have your arms more forward. I had a very tall, eq type trainer when I was younger and I struggled to get my hands far enough forward with her. Then one day, I had a lightbulb moment and realized that I need to be functional, not picture perfect. My arms will not grow an extra 3 inches. As long as I had good independent hands, my hands can stay back nearer to me, where my short arms are more comfortable.


                I once got yelled at by a trainer (said trainer was 6'2, I am 5'2) to put my hands farther up a horses neck while riding and finally a barn mate came to my rescue and said "that's as far as her hands go!" because my arms were just straight at this point. I am also a nugget with short arms and struggle with this. Core strength is key for me but also honestly so is having a horse that's an appropriate size for me. Put me on something big or especially something with a long neck? My hands barely go past the withers.

                It does sound like you could use some increased core strength if you're having pain in your back though. The stronger your core is the easier time you'll have letting your arms go because your base will be more solid. Also riding in two point a lot can help build up some back strength in the saddle, but much of it is built in the gym from my experience. Some people find yoga super helpful, I prefer strength training. To each their own.


                  Also make sure that when you are trying to put your arms forward that you are keeping your eye up and you aren't tucking your butt underneath you. Both of these actions tend to bring your torso back and shorten your arms.


                    If you’re really visual, try wrapping a piece of masking tape where you should be holding the reins. Also some sport-focused Physio therapy out of the saddle if you’re experiencing pain while adjusting your position.


                      Original Poster

                      Thanks a lot, guys! I will start trying several of these ideas. Hair Stockings, that is exactly how I feel sometimes! If I reach them out that far, I feel like can't do anything with them!
                      "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"


                        I have that same problem short arms, long torso.
                        Perhaps what you are doing is trying to change your rein length by moving your hands instead of using your fingers.

                        As a hunter rider , you do have to move the hands forward to free the horse head and neck over the jumps.

                        But on the flat you ideally want a straight line from bit to the elbow. However, that line will change as the horse moves from gait to gait.

                        Trying to force your hands forward causes you to stiffen to compensate.

                        If you trust your horse I would tie the reins in a knot on his neck and just practice sitting in the saddle and let your upper arms hang from your shoulders naturally

                        The hands should be above the withers.
                        However, this depends on the length of the horses neck and the height of the riders shoulders.

                        You want your elbows to float slightly just in the front of the hips.

                        What you may want to do is very slightly move your elbow forward and allow the forearm to drop at a slightly lower angle .

                        Experiment until you feel the sweet spot.
                        Your hands will float right above or close to the withers without tension.

                        The main thing to remember is that the correct rein length is through the fingers not by moving the hands. Except of course over a jump

                        It takes some practice to get the dexterity , but with practice you'll get there.

                        Hope this helps.

                        Certified Guacophobe


                          I struggled with this exact issue for the past year. I lease a lovely hunter but he has a very long neck and I am short potato shaped with t-Rex arms . I too had horrible back pain trying to keep my arms where my trainer wanted them. I focus on stretching up and opening my shoulders. I think about lifting my sternum up with a relaxed leg. It was painful and I started in small increments. I thought I would hurt my back but it was just muscle building. I no longer have the back pain. I noticed I slouch in every day life and even stretching up when out of the saddle was painful. I mainly collapse through my shoulders more so than at the waist. Now I feel so much better and can hold better posture.

                          I do a lot of two point while hacking. I also second the buckling the reins around the neck suggestion, even for 10 minutes to help build muscle memory.


                            Sometimes I feel like my boobs get in the way when I'm trying to reach forward with my hands while keeping my shoulders back, and I found that separating my hands a touch more helps me get around that issue(s).