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How do YOU shorten your reins?

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  • How do YOU shorten your reins?

    Do you grab both reins in one hand and take turns moving each hand up the rein separately? Or..Do you slide your fingers up each rein as needed?

    My 7 year old is having a hard time keeping her reins the correct length. She was taught to hold both reins in one hand and move each hand up the reins one at a time. She holds a crop and this shortening method seems hard when she trying to canter.

  • #2
    Kind of hard to explain...but say if I am shortening my left rein, I pinch the left rein between my thumb and index finger of my right hand and slide my left hand up the reins, then reverse.

    I used to just walk my hands up the reins, but my trainer doesn't like us doing that either because of the way it looks or some other reason.

    This method means that your hands never leave the reins, so that is good.
    "Look, I'm trying not to test the durability of the arena with my face!" (Because only GM can do that.)

    Comment


    • #3
      If I just have to shorten them a smidge, I'll do what piftisha does and "walk" my hands up the reins. Otherwise I do the pinch and move one hand at a time. But either way I would say is fine - whatever works best for your daughter!

      I am wondering, does she NEED a crop? I know some ponies absolutely need one or they will not canter, but if she could get away with cantering without it for a few rides in order to practice changing her rein length, that might help. A lunge lesson might help if she can't get away with not carrying a crop. If it's more that the horse is pulling the reins slowly through her hands, maybe those rainbow reins would help so she can see what's happening? Or even putting a bit of tape on the reins at the length she should hold them at.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by 80s rider View Post
        My 7 year old is having a hard time keeping her reins the correct length.
        To help with this, try tying a knot in each rein at the spot where she should be holding them. My trainer does this for me every once in awhile, because I tend to keep my left rein shorter than my right and think they are even
        "Look, I'm trying not to test the durability of the arena with my face!" (Because only GM can do that.)

        Comment


        • #5
          while i will sometimes walk my hands up my reins now, when i was younger it was much easier to grab in one hand and move my other hand forward.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by piftisha View Post
            Kind of hard to explain...but say if I am shortening my left rein, I pinch the left rein between my thumb and index finger of my right hand and slide my left hand up the reins, then reverse.

            This method means that your hands never leave the reins, so that is good.
            This is what I was taught as the "correct" way. You sort of bridge the reins in both hands, and then just slide your hand up, like you said.
            I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by piftisha View Post
              Kind of hard to explain...but say if I am shortening my left rein, I pinch the left rein between my thumb and index finger of my right hand and slide my left hand up the reins, then reverse.

              I used to just walk my hands up the reins, but my trainer doesn't like us doing that either because of the way it looks or some other reason.

              This method means that your hands never leave the reins, so that is good.
              I just had to get my bathrobe sash to see what the heck I do, and this is my method also!

              Comment


              • #8
                I do the grab n' slide. Walking your hands up the reins takes longer and leaves you more vulnerable to having the reins pulled through your hands. I would be more concerned about a pony learning to rip the reins through a child's hands than I would about a little awkwardness with the grab and slide method.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I use both.. but usually the pinch and slide method. I used to primarily use the walking the hands method until a past trainer realised this was causing my reins to actually get longer because they would slip out of my hands more and more in the process.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Magic. just kidding.

                    Both ways, I can just choke up on them pretty easily without much flustering, not too complicated. If the horse is a puller definitely the two hand method.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Guin View Post
                      This is what I was taught as the "correct" way. You sort of bridge the reins in both hands, and then just slide your hand up, like you said.
                      Thats what I do.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "pinch and slide" is what I tell me kids. Pinch your opposite rein and slide your hand down and the switch.

                        By walking your fingers up you are opening your fingers and having the opportunity to of your reins slipping out farther and being counter productive. Also A LOT of people actually pull while doing this which is never good and often leads to school ponies not moving forward and the child to need their sticks even more!

                        I also use knots in the reins for younger kids. If you still want her to practice holding her reins you can tie a knot longer then her reins should be and tell her when her hands get to the knots she should shorten her reins. That way she isn't as dependent on the knots and holds her reins on her own.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks everybody! She has been tying her shoe since she was 4 and learned to ride a bike in 5 minutes. She's very coordinated and balanced-but the rein thing has been her only frustration with riding. She has very soft hands and is tiny-her pony is a saint-and will just canter in place on a long rein.
                          Thanks for all the tips!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bridge and slide when jumping, sometimes the "pinch w/opposite hand and slide" or the bridge and slide when flatting.

                            The 7 year old's issues with any way of shortening her reins will have a lot to do with how small her hands are. Tiny hands with reins and crop...that's a lot for little hands to move around with. Also what we see as narrow reins aren't as narrow in a 7 year old's hands. Practice often will help, and practice different ways to see what works best for the little one.
                            You jump in the saddle,
                            Hold onto the bridle!
                            Jump in the line!
                            ...Belefonte

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I usually use the pinch and slide method. If critter is pulling like a freight train or I need to take up a lot I'll bridge and move up. If I need only a tiny amount of change I'll walk my fingers an inch or so.
                              "Beware the hobby that eats."
                              Benjamin Franklin

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by piftisha View Post
                                To help with this, try tying a knot in each rein at the spot where she should be holding them. My trainer does this for me every once in awhile, because I tend to keep my left rein shorter than my right and think they are even
                                I used to use vetwrap at the place where they should hold the reins so they don't become too knot dependent. If their hands start slipping, they will see the vetwrap and adjust their reins.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Anyone know why the 'walking the hands' method is so wrong? I can just remember trainers regarding one handed rein adjustments as almost an act of the devil. Lol.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I was always taught that "walking hands up the reins" is completely, totally wrong because you could lose a rein, etc. I was taught that you should pull the rein through your hand with your opposite hand (thus keeping both hands on the reins at all times). I frankly don't see a lot of difference as far as safety goes, but that's just me.

                                    Recently, I heard that a very good GP rider actually lets go of the rein that needs adjustment and grabs it back at the place where she wants to be holding it. That sounds insane to me and I have not actually seen it done. I'm pretty sure I could not execute it myself, but to each his or her own.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by equidae View Post
                                      Anyone know why the 'walking the hands' method is so wrong? I can just remember trainers regarding one handed rein adjustments as almost an act of the devil. Lol.
                                      If you are riding correctly, you have a steady, albeit, light contact with the mouth. To a horse, any extra meaningless movement on the reins is like static on a phone line. When you bridge and grab you should be able to maintain consistent contact on the mouth during the procedure thus not interfering with the training that you are doing.
                                      Justice will only be achieved when those who are not injured by crime feel as indignant as those who are. - King Soloman (970-928 B.C.)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I use one of two methods:

                                        1. Pinch and slide
                                        2. If going from buckle, I hold the buckle in one hand (hand 1), other hand (hand 2)is holding both reins loosely. I pull the buckle with hand 1, sliding the reins through hand 2 until they reach the length I want them at. Then I let go with hand 1, grab one rein close to hand 2, let go of one rein with hand 2 and it should all be good.
                                        Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                        Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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