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Showing posts from July, 2008

Riding on a Loose Rein, Continued

This post is in response to a comment from White Horse Pilgrim. Thanks WHP, for stopping by and for your great comment. I am so glad you brought up this subject, as it is something I didn’t address in my previous post, but probably should have! White Horse Pilgrim said... This is a most interesting discussion. I'm curious to hear your opinion about riding outside the arena. I was taught by some stereotypical (and sometimes rather fierce) English instructors to ride on a firm contact and to drive the horse forward into it, and was told to trail ride in that style too! However it was a fatiguing way to ride, and didn't seem to help the horse, though many English horses seem to need that contact to push against. I began to ride out on a loose rein using a curb bit after spending time with riders from the American West, and my horses (which were not English riding horses) performed well on the trail. I like them to be able to balance themselves when out riding for hours, esp

Riding on a Loose Rein

Everywhere you go in the hunter/jumper world, it seems you’ll find a majority of trainers, judges and riders advocating riding horses – and particularly show hunters – on a loose rein. I have never shown my own horses this way, and never will, despite the fact that most judges seem to require it if a horse is to pin in a class, even though the USEF Rule Book states that “ light contact with the horse’s mouth is required ,” (HU128 Under Saddle and Hack Classes,) as opposed to no contact. Of course, there are times when a loose rein is beneficial, but knowing when and where it is appropriate is key to good horsemanship. And from what can be witnessed at any show barn or showground across the country, it is clear that good horsemanship has become unfashionable, to say the least. When is it appropriate to ride on a loose rein? · When first mounting and settling in (if the horse is quiet) · When cooling out or resting · While executing a “free walk” (th