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Dropping your reins and patting your horse in an equitation class?

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  • Dropping your reins and patting your horse in an equitation class?

    I know I should know this but hey, I can't know everything, rght?

    In an equitation class and medals at the end of your course do you drop your reins (or loosen them) and pat your horse? I have heard that the judge takes off for this, something about keeping contact until your out of the arena? I have also heard that some judges like to see you praise your horse.

    What do you do/what should you do?

  • #2
    keep your reins. you can pat your horse the second you are out of the ring but you need to continue looking professional until you are done with your round completely. Also, your horse could still spook at the very end of your course so you need to keep your reins short and pat your horse when you're actually done.
    Oldenburgs do it better

    rip mystic puddin' 1984-2006
    rip banacek 1992-2007


    • #3
      All I know is, at the last George Morris clinic I attended, he felt that the " patting your horse at the end of the course" was inappropriate, he didn't like it - good enough for me!
      " It's about the horse, and that's it."
      George Morris


      • #4
        I dont think you should BUT I do it anyway no matter what kind of class I'm in because 99% of judges drop their head to write on their card after your last fence anyway.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Running Fox Farm View Post
          All I know is, at the last George Morris clinic I attended, he felt that the " patting your horse at the end of the course" was inappropriate, he didn't like it - good enough for me!
          yes if he said it then it must be right!

          normally in an equitation round i just use one finger and scratch my horses withers. you can't tell im doing it.
          but thats only if the course was good. if the course was terrible then ill just pat him and let him walk on a loose rein out the gate, hey its not like i have a chance of placing!


          • #6
            Loosen the reins and pat your horse on the way out the gate.
            "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

            Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
            Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post
              Loosen the reins and pat your horse on the way out the gate.
              What she said. I also don't mind seeing the rider stroke the neck with the closed hand still on the reins.

              In a test situation, absolutely no loosening the reins/patting the neck. I did it once to reassure my horse, who got a little tense in the test, and got completely chewed out by my trainer, who pointed out that the test did NOT include the directions "halt and pat your horse."
              Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


              • #8
                I was always taught that you are judged from the time you enter the ring until you leave whether or not the judge is looking. I would wait until you leave the ring to praise your horse.


                • #9
                  I always give them a good pat while were still cantering after the last fence in jumpers. Hunters/eq I think you should pretty much keep contact. Although, I am guilty of petting my horse on occasion.

                  An old trainer of mine (not particularly fond of a lot of the stuff she said) but she always said how she hated it when riders walked to the line up of FLAT classes and didn't pat their horse, waited till ribbons were presented to pat. She would be POed if any of her riders did that, horsey better receive his pat as you're walking to line up!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sing Mia Song View Post
                    the test did NOT include the directions "halt and pat your horse."
                    I HAVE seen this be the instructions though! Good for the judges!

                    In normal situations though, no, I wouldn't pat the horse. Scratch with your fingers closed or just wait the 10 more steps until you get out of the ring.


                    • #11
                      I absolutely abhor when people finish their course,and while still cantering their finishing circle,drop the reins and pat the horse,ugh..................A nice pat when out the gate is another story,absolutely fine with me.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by shalomypony View Post
                        I absolutely abhor when people finish their course,and while still cantering their finishing circle,drop the reins and pat the horse,ugh..................A nice pat when out the gate is another story,absolutely fine with me.
                        ever watched the olympics ?

                        Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3


                        • #13
                          It should not be done. However I think it is judges discretion. You can risk patting your horse and loosing points, or you can pat your horse and not get points. You will NEVER be favored for doing it and some judges HATE it. Although it may sound stupid to not do it, its better to be safe than sorry...


                          • #14
                            what about verbal praise? when i showed schooling level i always said good boy when my rides did something well. i nwvwe used verbal cues though or reprimands and i never heard any resistance to it but again schooling level but that was 20 years ago. what is the general consensus (is that spelled right?) about verbal praise?


                            • #15
                              If you bother to read the USEF rule book (crazy thought, I know), it says:

                              EQ 110.1 The following constitute major faults and can be cause for elimination... d.) loss of reins.

                              So it states very clearly in black and white that you can be penalized for letting go of the reins, regardless of the reason. Much safer to just wait a few steps until you're out of the ring.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by superpony123 View Post
                                ever watched the olympics ?
                                I know,I know....it just drives me crazy.........


                                • #17
                                  I don't drop my reins, but I do give my horse a good pat as I near the out gate. They deserve one!

                                  But, I have no idea if a judge is taking off points, and I'm not a judge, so I don't really know. However, I've never been reprimanded for patting my horse when I exit the ring.


                                  • #18
                                    Now this was about hunters and so might not apply to equitation but there was a thread here a while back about what judges want to see and a few mentioned that they like it when a rider loosens the reins and praises their horse after a round.


                                    • #19
                                      Good Grief

                                      Isn't equitation about good horsemanship? When is it ever poor horsemanship to reward a horse for a good effort?
                                      "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                                      Spay and neuter. Please.


                                      • #20
                                        Yeah, you don't need to throw your reins away to give the horse a pat.