When riding a horse, your reins will be the main source of direct communication between the rider and the horse. Knowing how you should be handling this strap will help you to cue your horse accurately and make the riding experience a pleasant one for both you and the horse. Here are a few pointers that you have to remember when you are riding.
A Common Mistake Made By Riding Novices
Most of the time new equestrians will hold their reins way too long while riding. If you can extend your hand behind your leg when you try to turn while riding or if you can scratch your stomach while you are backing up or stopping it could mean that the rein is too long. Riding with a strap that is loose is always positive and can be easily done. But you have to remember that you are in charge of directing your horse and for that you need to have the right amount of length only. You should shorten the strap by instinct and for this practice sliding your left hand down the strap on the left and the same with the other. If you try to cue your horse with a strap that is too long it might be ineffective.
Avoid Riding with Handcuffs
This problem occurs a lot of the time if you are riding with split reins. This can take up some practice and teaching both your hands to slide backwards and forwards on the strap to shorten and lengthen it at the right time while riding can become a little tricky for the novice rider. You should have enough distance between your hands so that you can guide one side of the strap without unintentionally pulling on the other too. If you only have six to seven inches of space between your hands, you have effectively handcuffed yourself and limited your mobility in that.
Do Not Ever Jerk On the Strap
You can hold, bump or pull on the strap but jerking it sharply is not right. If you sharply jerk the reins your horse will get confused and will respond with more stiffness and brace itself more. If you take up the slack before you pull or bump on the strap the horse gets a signal that you are going to be pulling on it and will be less likely to think of it as something to react negatively to.
Be Purposeful In Your Riding
When you pick up the strap and climb onto your horse do so with a plan and a purpose. The horse needs to feel the direction that you are giving them and understand the pressure. Only then will they yield to what you want. Remember that horses are intelligent and gentle animals and they should not have to guess what you want to do while you are aimlessly pulling the straps. If this happens the horse will automatically just tune you out and stop responding. Riding with contact is really important when you clearly apply the pressure to the corners of the horse’s mouth. You should be feeling for your horse and the horse should feel you.