Classical, sympathetic, personalised training
for you and your horse
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A British Dressage Accredited Trainer
Hands and Steering (click on "training tips" above for more)
When people are first learning to ride they are mainly taught to pull on the left rein to turn left and on the right rein to turn right. This is fine in the early stages, but we then need to refine this as we progress and move on to more precise schooling, when the outside rein becomes a key part in the equation. On a well trained horse, if you pull on the inside rein only, it will bend its neck and keep going straight ahead! You should allow your hands to be positioned by the correct positioning of your upper body and hence through the shoulders and elbows. With your upper arm against your rib-cage, and your upper body turned to the direction to wish to go, your inside hand is automatically opened (encouraging inside bend) and the outside hand is closed towards the withers (preventing the horse going out through the outside shoulder). If your horse is not bending correctly, you may be pulling back with your inside hand and therefore blocking the inside hind leg and preventing him from bending. If your horse is bending too much through the neck, you may be giving away too much outside hand. The outside rein needs to provide a reference point for the outline of the horse and guide it regarding direction. It should feel more like pushing a wheelbarrow than using a steering wheel or leaning round the corner on a motorbike!