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Western pleasure- what to do with that other hand?

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  • Western pleasure- what to do with that other hand?

    I know in IHSA, it stays up where the hand holding the reins is... but real WP?

    I have a kid doing her first walk/jog WP class in a few weekends and realized I had NO idea what that free hand should be doing...

    Thank God her horse has a clue, because I, apparently, do not!
    Big Idea Eventing

  • #2
    I believe it is held down and slightly away from her leg. kind of in a soft fist. Good luck to her!
    "To my Gub... Godspeed my friend, till we meet again." 1996-2007.
    Runway (Sasha) 2009 Zweibrucker filly by Redwine.

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    • #3
      It is held straight down. Just make sure she can ride with it staying still- it is very distracting to see arms swinging around. If it helps she can rest it against her thigh. Sometimes when I am showing I lock my elbow to prevent movement. Hand is kept in a soft fist, with fingers curled up slightly.

      you hold it up as if you were holding two reins in horsemanship classes.

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Ah, thanks guys! Thats how I had her doing it, so we're good to go!

        She'll probably end up in two hands for the show anyway, as he tends to have selective obedience while neck reining. Oh well! Its just a little open show with a WP class thrown in, but her horse has major western points on the arab circuit, so we thought we'd add a class to aim for high point. Why not?!
        Big Idea Eventing

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        • #5
          Originally posted by eponacowgirl View Post
          Ah, thanks guys! Thats how I had her doing it, so we're good to go!

          She'll probably end up in two hands for the show anyway, as he tends to have selective obedience while neck reining. Oh well! Its just a little open show with a WP class thrown in, but her horse has major western points on the arab circuit, so we thought we'd add a class to aim for high point. Why not?!
          If the horse is an arab and you're showing in romal reins, then the above advice isn't really correct - you hold the end of the romals in that hand (with the other, usually the left, like an ice cream cone). If she's showing in split reins, then the above advice is fine...most arabs are not really taught neck reining for WP, in my experience - more of a weighted seat/legs cue than with the romals.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dazednconfused View Post
            If the horse is an arab and you're showing in romal reins, then the above advice isn't really correct - you hold the end of the romals in that hand (with the other, usually the left, like an ice cream cone). If she's showing in split reins, then the above advice is fine...most arabs are not really taught neck reining for WP, in my experience - more of a weighted seat/legs cue than with the romals.
            Correct.
            When you get to riding one handed, you and the horse up to that level, "neck reining" is what is called, but in reality what we use the reins for is supposed to be minimal.

            At that level, we use seat and mostly legs for impulsion and collection and the reins for direction, barely moving an inch or two either way.

            If you have a horse that you can drape the reins and trust him completely to respond to your leg and seat, you ride in a split rein, but if your horse is still apt to drift a shoulder here and there, you can keep him a little bit straighter with romal reins.
            The judge will know by the kind of reins you are using what your horse may ride like and that is why most people show in plain split reins, as that makes the degree of difficulty a tad higher.

            Most reining horses will generally show in split reins, but many excellent cowhorse horses may show in romal reins, because those horses tend to be a little more chargy and so less exact and the romal reins keep them straighter.

            How you hold split or romal reins showing will determine which kind you are using, as explained in the post above.
            Riding with romal reins is easier on the rider and seen with very young riders, as it helps keeping the horse on hand better.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by eponacowgirl View Post
              Ah, thanks guys! Thats how I had her doing it, so we're good to go!

              She'll probably end up in two hands for the show anyway, as he tends to have selective obedience while neck reining. Oh well! Its just a little open show with a WP class thrown in, but her horse has major western points on the arab circuit, so we thought we'd add a class to aim for high point. Why not?!
              I don't know about arab but A.Q.H.A rules you can only go 2 handed in a snaffle and with a Junior horse under 5. I hold my free arm down to my side others hold it up by the other arm but some judges find that cheating as you can grab the reins and correct the horse easier with your free arm

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Oh, good night people. This is a $5 entry open show.

                I know the snaffle rules. I will put my kid and her (*gasp* 11 year old) horse in a snaffle for the class if she needs it to, oh, you know, steer.

                He's half appy/half arab- we've been de-arab-ifying him so she can focus on dressage and jumping... so he goes like an appy at this point. I will try putting her in romal reins though, and see if that makes a difference.
                Big Idea Eventing

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                • #9
                  One thing I didn't see mentioned...you can hold one finger between the reins with your riding hand with split reins, but NOT with romels. Also with romels make sure to keep at least 16" of rein/romel between your riding hand and free hand.

                  I would suggest at this level of riding, have your youngster hold their free hand where ever they are most comfortable and relaxed. Either down by their side (as long as they can keep their shoulders even) or up level with their riding hand is fine. Now might not be the best time to introduce something new especially if you have any doubts about how the horse will behave.

                  I've never spoke with a judge that felt one way was 'better' than another or considered one way 'cheating'...the goal is to make the whole picture look relaxed and pleasurable, so what ever works for that horse/rider combination is the way to go. Trust me, if I am riding with my free arm down and need to go two handed for a moment, it will get done without the judge ever seeing it.
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                  • #10
                    If you drop your free hand down by your side (as is so popular in pleasure classes), you will also drop that shoulder. Now you are crooked, so guess what? The horse is crooked, too. I'd teach her to keep her free hand up so that she and the horse are more balanced.

                    If her horse has lots of AHA points, then he's probably used to going in weighted romal reins, a very dramatic drape in the reins, and a high port curb. I don't know if you want your kid riding in that kind of set up or not, but that's probably how the horse was trained. As another poster pointed out, you aren't allowed to place a finger between the reins with romals the way you can with split reins.

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                    • #11
                      You only hold your other hand up close to the rein hand when riding horsemanship - which is what we did in IHSA. Helps keep your shoulders square.

                      In WP - Free hand hangs loosely down, often time with you hand hanging behind your thigh. If yo9u are shoving your free hand down, then yes -your shoulders won't stay square. But if you just let it hang loosely, you shouldn't have a problem staying square.

                      Romals are great - but she should only use them if she knows how to already.
                      Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.

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                      • #12
                        I just have to say

                        read the title and immediately my mind went to "pleasure" and "one hand" and well... this is not an X rated board so I won't continue. Might explain some of Steffan Peter's pictures though. Oh wait. He rides with 2 hands.
                        "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by CatOnLap View Post
                          I just have to say

                          read the title and immediately my mind went to "pleasure" and "one hand" and well... this is not an X rated board so I won't continue. Might explain some of Steffan Peter's pictures though. Oh wait. He rides with 2 hands.


                          Thanks for the input, guys. I promise we have no intention of winning this class (as she has ridden western exactly one time...) but she won't hurt herself or anyone else trying it, so why not!
                          Big Idea Eventing

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by eponacowgirl View Post
                            Oh, good night people. This is a $5 entry open show.

                            I know the snaffle rules. I will put my kid and her (*gasp* 11 year old) horse in a snaffle for the class if she needs it to, oh, you know, steer.
                            If, this is a fun/schooling show that doesn't bother with the snaffle rule, then by all means, snaffle up and have fun!

                            If, however, you were to try to enter your kid and 11 y/o horse in a snaffle at my (former because I moved) $5/class open show in WI or even the $3/class circuit I showed on, your kid would be humiliated when she was disqualified and excused from the ring for improper equipment.

                            If she can't, oh you know, steer an older horse properly for the discipline, she has no business trying for a high point award by cheating in a snaffle, even at a $5/class open show.

                            Rules are rules, even for dinky little shows.
                            I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right
                            Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Well, gee golly. Never thought to check with the show first and make sure it was okay.

                              Wish I would have thought of that.
                              Big Idea Eventing

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by HighFlyinBey++ View Post
                                If, this is a fun/schooling show that doesn't bother with the snaffle rule, then by all means, snaffle up and have fun!

                                If, however, you were to try to enter your kid and 11 y/o horse in a snaffle at my (former because I moved) $5/class open show in WI or even the $3/class circuit I showed on, your kid would be humiliated when she was disqualified and excused from the ring for improper equipment.

                                If she can't, oh you know, steer an older horse properly for the discipline, she has no business trying for a high point award by cheating in a snaffle, even at a $5/class open show.

                                Rules are rules, even for dinky little shows.

                                Agreed. Even if it is just "a little $5 a class show" follow the rules. And on every circuit I know of in western pleasure aged horses need to be going in a curb bit one handed. Train you horse and teach your child to ride as required for the class or don't enter the class. Your attitude seems poor, like you are going to go and break the rules even though you know them. I hope you don't get upset when your child gets disqualified and even worse I hope you don't beat and honest exhibitor because the judge just assumes that because the horse is being shown in a snaffle you are following the rules and it is a junior horse.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Again:

                                  Checked with the show. They don't care.

                                  Kid has decided to learn how to ride western. Her horse does nicely with one hand. He knows how to neck rein. If he's not listening to her, she'll be pulled from the class... or she'll ride with two hands. Everyone has a learning curve and we're in the middle of ours.

                                  I'm encouraging my kid to reach out and try a new discipline. She's enjoying it. She is attending a show and the class is offered. She wants to try it, it's a SCHOOLING show and management is ENCOURAGING her to do give it a shot.

                                  Isn't that how we learn? Trial and error? I'm also calling her dressage tests. And will talk her through her cross rails class if she needs it. Because its a SCHOOLING SHOW.
                                  Big Idea Eventing

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by eponacowgirl View Post
                                    Again: Checked with the show. They don't care.
                                    Why didn't you just say that in the first place That puts a whole new light on the subject = use snaffle, try new stuff, have fun!

                                    Seriously, I hope your kid has a blast
                                    I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right
                                    Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.

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                                    • #19
                                      back in the old days, before peanut rollers, WP people were allowed to rest the right hand on the thigh if they used split reins
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