Monday, September 15, 2014

Riding on a Loose Rein

 First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for the kind comments on my previous post.

For Friday's lesson, I worked Chester on a loose rein because he has been a bit irritated lately when I take more contact. This may sound contradictory, but he is much more calm and controllable when`the reins are looser. Of course this means I need to use my body and voice as well to maintain his tempo and half-halt him. It's not always easy to keep the reins loose like that and I often found myself tightening them to slow Chester down, which in turn made him faster since too much of contact sometimes makes him a bit claustrophobic.
Riding one handed.

  I rode around the arena, across several diagonals, and then made several serpentines, all on a loose rein. While doing so, I talked to Chester and tried to use my body to balance and voice slow him down a bit when necessary.
 Then I made a circle right at A to begin the canter, starting with half the circle as I had done last time. His canter was surprisingly balanced and controlled when I started. After a few trot circles in between, I once again cantered half the circle, then an entire circle.

 Afterward, I changed directions and did the same thing in the other way. Like last time, there were a few times when he picked up the wrong lead or avoided the circle, but I was able to get a few good ones.

 Since I would be doing Pony Club stadium jumping the next day, I also practiced two-point in the canter, starting to the right. It takes a lot of balance to be able to hold your position. I rode quite a few circles, at one point lifting my inside hand in the air. The purpose of this was to learn to steer more with my body than only my hands, something that still needs work. I wasn't able to keep a good circle when I did this, but was still able to turn. I next did the same thing with my outside hand up. Chester went to the outside a bit a few times, showing the importance of using my weight to turn. After getting one good circle where I used my weight in addition to hands to turn, my lesson ended.


  1. it can been really hard to let go of the reins sometimes, but it's a good lesson! have fun with the pony club stadium jumping!!

  2. Looks like a great ride :) I'm so not used to keeping tighter reins, haha! I ride with a super loose rein all the time unless we're running hard somewhere where I have to have that contact.

    1. Thanks. Makes sense because western riders generally have a loose rein.

  3. My lease horse is the same way about contact -- she dislikes too much and will speed up if she gets stressed. It has been a big learning curve for me. I like the exercise where you hold one arm up to help steer with your body. I am going to have to try that one!!


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