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Teaching an Auto release

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  • Teaching an Auto release

    So I have several students who are about ready to start learning an auto release. We mostly do local level hunters so a crest release is more then acceptable. However I would like to give them this tool for their riding to help them become better riders. The ones I am talking about are balanced, don't pull on their horses mouth, and 90% of the time do not commit to their release and end up "floating" above the mane which tells me they no longer need it as an every day thing.

    I know how to do an auto but i never actually had anyone teach me, I picked it up on my own as I needed it. SOOO...there for I don't really have any great instruction/advice to fall back on to even start to teach it to them!

    Usually you can take how you were told start from there and then modify as needed..............

  • #2
    Make sure their hands are off the top of the crest and on both sides of the neck about 3 inches below. Trot grids of ground poles without ANY change in position. Encourage them to take the hand off the neck also with no change in position and...voila, an auto release.

    Actually, don't think you can teach this easily as it is a function of correct and strong position, once they don't need to brace on the neck for support, it happens almost by itself. Matter of just losing the brace.
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    • #3
      If they're really ready to learn this, just have them hold the reins coming out between thumb and forefinger, as if they were driving.
      * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis


      • #4
        Originally posted by Madeline View Post
        If they're really ready to learn this, just have them hold the reins coming out between thumb and forefinger, as if they were driving.
        Thats the method I've always seen.
        "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong


        • #5
          Couldn't you have them jump small gymnastics grids without reins, with their hands in the position they should be in for an automatic release? After they're good at doing that, they could pick up their reins again, and confirm that they maintain it. Once they're consistent with the reins, you can gradually increase fence height.

          Disclaimer: I'm not a trainer or an advanced rider who has done an automatic release, but I know a couple of eventing instructors who have used this approach with some of their more advanced students.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Madeline View Post
            If they're really ready to learn this, just have them hold the reins coming out between thumb and forefinger, as if they were driving.
            I'm familiar with using a driving rein as well... that, and making sure to do some no-hands work over grids (arms out to the side, mainly) to be sure they are not balancing on their hands at all

            for fun, here's a photo of a rider at the 1946 Madison Square Garden show with an awesome auto release... using a driving rein! There's one other rider shown in that photo series that's also riding with a driving rein - I'm willing to guess that was pretty common practice back then?

            For an extra exercise: one time when riding with Greg Best, he took my reins and flipped them over my horse's head (like he was going to lead my horse away) and then handed me the reins back without putting them over pony's head. Hope that makes sense - basically, the buckle of the reins was under my horse's neck, and I held rein a rein on each side... hmm, maybe not the safest idea, but when my horse used his head and neck it literally pulled my hand down an inch or two. I've wondered if this would be a bit safer with a really loose string tied from one rein to the other and over the neck, so if you do actually drop them they wouldn't automatically tangle around your horse's legs.

            Hope I explained that okay... as a note, I was on a well-school horse that day and very much trust Greg


            • Original Poster

              Thanks guys!!!!

              These riders ALL do gymnastics with no reins, eyes closed, no stirrups etc....They like to do the YMCA over a series of 4 bounces!!! That's our idea of winter fun up here!!

              I will have to try this while having them do the release and see if that works and then go from there!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Whisper View Post
                Couldn't you have them jump small gymnastics grids without reins, with their hands in the position they should be in for an automatic release?
                is better than this
                Originally posted by Late View Post
                ...do some no-hands work over grids (arms out to the side, mainly) to be sure they are not balancing on their hands at all
                because when the arms are out to the side the balance is totally different from what one needs to develop for a following release, where the weight of the arms is in front.

                They can start by pressing their hands (closed, as though they are holding reins) into the sides of the horses' necks to get the feeling of following the motion of the head and neck. They should be in two-point position, and practice this first on the flat and then over small fences.
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