Horse Care & Riding : How to Hold a Horse’s Reins
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Horse Care & Riding : How to Hold a Horse’s Reins

August 29, 2019


When you learn how to hold the horse’s reins,
you’ll probably start just holding them however feels comfortable. What you want to though,
is actually sort of flip the rein around so your thumb can be on top and so that the rein
runs through your hand and between your ring and pinky finger. Then to shorten the rein,
you’re going to use your thumb. In order to shorten this right rein, I’ll take my left
thumb and forefinger and hold the rein and slide my hand down. This shortens the amount
of rein between my hand and the horse’s bit. And then to shorten my left rein, I take my
right thumb and forefinger and slide the left hand down until both hands are even. When
holding the reins, it’s important to make sure that your hand stays pretty upright as
if you’re hold two glasses of water. It’s a common mistake to do what’s called piano
hands and end up with your hands rigid and your wrists stiff pointed down.

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  1. I think that it was bad that she said you could hold the reins wrong at the start. its best to start correctly!!

  2. Yes and no. If you are getting what you want out of your horse with your hands down, then it is probably fine unless you show where the judge will be critical of hand position. It is also good to know how to ride with your hands in different positions because when training a young or novice horse you may have to move them up or down to encourage correct headset until the horse masters it and you can ride in a more normal position.

  3. my old teacher said it was like holding a little kid's hand when crossing the street. you want to keep constant contact (you're not going to let go of the kid's hand). but also careful not to pull hard at the kid's arm, or yank her around. that's a good comparison. (this was in england — so english riding, obviously). only use force if the little kid is about to run out into traffic — or, if your horse is really not listening and doing something dangerous.

  4. Thats not true at all about western and english ArabKate. I used to ride western and my horse hated having the saddle on his back. He is trained western but you could just tell he didn't feel comfortable and the saddle with great. I went english and he gives it his all. He loves it! Horses that ride english always seem happier. And natural horsemanship has nothing to do with type of riding I use natural horsemanship and ride english about to learn to jump. I mainly ride bareback.

  5. if theres a horn it would mean you have a western saddle, and western and english have different show clothes so if you wanna show english you should have a saddle without a horn.

  6. my riding instructor told me to put 3 figers on the top of th reins and the other to fingers under the reins for my whip is that right?

  7. a horn on the saddle means it is western riding. for western u wear jeans, approved cowboy boots with a 1 inch heel and a helmet. before riding, i would suggest research!

  8. actually, its not proven that horses who do english are happier, its your opinion. my opinion is that english riders hold the reins to tight and hurt the horses neck … trust me, i hav been to many shows where horses are breathing hard after a walk/jog class because the reins are to tight and their head is uncomfortable. western is a very relaxed and it gives me pleasure to have a fun relaaxing day with my horse on the trail … he loves it!

  9. Yes that is true that its an opinion thing. But it can also depend on the horse and how its and trained and what it prefers. Take a western horse and ride it english it will be uncomfortable. Take a english and ride it western it will be uncomfortable. But some english horses are fine with how the reins are. They aren't tight just more close contact with the bit and many horses show no signs of discomfort and a proper rider will try to correct the discomfort. But yes it is and opinion thing. 🙂

  10. Many riders use a whip english or western depends on the horse. But they dont whip their horse like a jockey at all. Even with my stubborn ex-racehorse I don't whip him like that.

  11. a horse with its neck and head in the 'on the bit' position is not uncomfortable, nor is its breathing in any way affected. its blindly ignorant western riders who don't know enough about english riding that ruin the reputation of what is a very fun way to ride. And if you can't see the subtle insult there, I mean western riders like you.

  12. actually i do hunter for 4-H ….. not only western, so i do have english experience. Yes, i mainly ride western, but i have to do hunter. i choose not to b hard on the horses mouth or hold the reins so short that he foams at the mouth … it is not an insult, but simply an opinion if you read the comment.

  13. Horses that are foaming at the mouth, as a general rule, are not doing so because the reins are too tight. They are 'working' the bit, which is actually a really good sign of the horse being responsive and accepting the bit. Its not a bad thing.

  14. ok, why do people dog on the opposite riding style all the time? they are both equally hard and equally enjoyable! if you ask me, western riders are extremely talented and english riders are extremely talented. ANYONE who rides horses is extremely talented. its a hard, yet very rewarding, sport. which is one of the many reasons its the second most dangerous sport in the world. but hey, thats the thrill of it. i love to just hop on a horse, warm up and head off on the trail one handed at a run 🙂

  15. i totaly agreee with you no offence but most of the top competers like in the olympic the english allways beat the americans no offence its just riding in england is more of a sport or hobby and are horses arnt used to extreme heat but i bet if ur quarter horses were put in our cold weather they wudnt do very well either so thrs no need to say tht only my opinion i hate thees riding vids thr crrap if u wannna no how to ride go to a stables lol

  16. foaming at the mouth can mean alot of things mainly because they have just been running adn somtimes the bit dus nt fit properly some people in england whip horses if they are lazy and dont do wht there told bt im sure some people in america do to i dont whip my horses coz most of tem are very young i dont agree with the jockys whiping the horses so much but they have very hard skin and hardly feelit if they get whipped on there rumps.

  17. @michellehorsefan7

    Don't laugh at me. I do not cheer. Im simply stating a fact. It doesn't matter what kind of people they are, the fact is that their sport lands alot of them into hospitals because they are performing extremely difficult gymnastic stunts with no protective gear on.

    And let me guess, you aren't exactly the "cheerleader type". They stereotype you, and you stereotype THEM back,

    This is a horseback riding video. Not a dissing cheerleaders one.

  18. I originally learned english so i hold my reins like this but now I do natural horsemanship/western

  19. @rodeoqueen1300 I completely agree.
    People only say ride western or ride English because that's the way that they do it.

  20. @CherrieCupcakeKerrie we don't get hot weather , its mild , cold and rainy.. most of the year round.. its alot more expensive over here and its a competitive market.. most that have horses hear compete and want to get to the top fast.. as most of the world champs are held here. Horses don't really work, they are used for competition or leisure.

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