One of the most difficult things to teach riders is feel and lightness in holding and using the reins. Most riders are heavy on the reins and don’t know it.
Here Bill shares how he holds the reins to ensure he is light and what causes a rider to be heavy handed:
“Well first of all there is a way I like to hold the reins that helps. The goal is to not have my hands or fist clenched, by dropping my little finger .
For example, when I hold a rein in each hand I literally hold it on my fingertips. I do not completely close my hands when I hold the reins in a Snapple bit or anything with two reins. Reason being is that I am much softer on the reins and It gives me the lightness I desire .
The next thing is simple – it’s very simple…just never be forceful about anything.
Sometimes when people observe others ride, they get confused on how light they are.
For example, if they see a person riding and the horse opens his mouth, it’s not necessarily that way. Often times the horse is trying to escape their hands because maybe he’s not trained well enough or he is young or for whatever reason. You can never judge a book by its cover in that respect.
if a person is not forceful about a stop or a turn or doesn’t have a “give me your head attitude;” I would say you’re considered a light handed person.
In my opinion, I think the heavy handed are the riders that constantly are bumping on the mouth and tipping the nose and asking for submission all the time, because they’re not sure the horse will be light enough so they’re always checking checking checking… and it’s just not my cuppa tea.
Another thing that would cause a person to be heavy-handed would be to not be able to sit on a horse properly and then also brace with her feet if a horse if a writer is pushing on their feet and using their feet as a brace instead of as a Q that’ll make a horse heavy in the mouth but if a horse listens to your cue from your feet first there’s no need to even touch the face when you want to stop a horse because they’ll know what that means when you take your leg off a horse.”
~ ~ ~ Bill