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2 Common Problems Riders Encounter Using An Opening Rein Aid

In this article...

Discover the two most common issues horse riders encounter when using opening reins. You might be surprised to find you're making these mistakes without even knowing it. Armed with this knowledge, you can improve your technique and become a more effective rider.

As we know from my last blog post an open or opening rein can be really useful because it is fairly clear to the horse what you are asking them.

Which is why it’s great for using with young and green horses. When using two opening reins it can help straighten the young inexperienced horse as well.

If you haven’t read the last blog post here it is: Open Rein Meaning: What Is An Opening Rein & How Do You Do It?

Go read that post real quick, and come back. It is a short read.

For the open rein to be effective you need to be doing it correctly and there are two common faults or problems that riders encounter when using an opening rein .

In this post I’ll go over what the two problems are. Then you can evaluate your own riding and decide whether you think you may have one of these problems when you use the open rein.

The 2 Common Problems When Using An Opening Rein

  1. The rider is pulling the horse around which is against classic riding principles and can cause several problems. 
  2. The rider’s arm moves forward, losing contact with the horse’s mouth hence losing much of the effect that the rider is trying to get with the open rein.

So now let’s go a little deeper into these two problems to see why they really are a problem.

The Consequences Of These Opening Rein Faults

Problem 1: Pulling The Horse Around

Starting with the first problem again about pulling the horse around a turn.

First off this causes a shift of the inside seat bone to go backwards and sometimes the inside leg to slide forward.

This is incorrect, you want your inside seat bone to go forwards around the turn. And for your inside leg to stay under you by the girth. This is what happens to your riding position when you have this fault.

But what happens to the horse?

Often yes the horse will bend his neck but will usually fall out through the outside shoulder which you don’t want.

The only way to stop the horse from falling out through the outside shoulder is by compensating and applying your sideways blocking aids which would be your outside leg and outside rein.

This is awkward and uncomfortable way of turning your horse.

Problem 2: Losing the Contact

Now on to the second problem of your arm coming forward and losing the contact.

This usually comes from wanting to be gentle to the horse and you are attempting to indicate to the horse that you want to turn but also keep the forward movement.

This is pretty much harmless just ineffective and useless.

The horse might turn a little bit but you will have to use more of your seat, leg and outside rein aids to compensate and to communicate to the horse to make the turn or circle.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know the two common problems or faults associated with using the open rein, which problem do you face more?

Or have you not had any issues with using the opening rein?

If you have one of these two problems and they are something you have been dealing with, then stay tuned for the next blog post.

Because I’ll be going over how to handle these two riding faults. So you can ride with the open rein correctly and become a more effective rider.

Cheers, Kacey

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Disclaimer Notice: Please be aware that horseback riding and related equestrian activities carry inherent risks. The advice and experiences shared on this blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional training or advice. Ensure your safety and that of your horse by wearing appropriate gear, practicing safe horse handling, and consulting with certified equestrian professionals. Remember, each horse is unique, and techniques may vary accordingly. Always prioritize safety, respect, and patience in your equestrian endeavors.

Kacey Cleary Administrator
Kacey has been an equestrian since 1998. She was a working student at several eventing and dressage barns. She has owned horses, leased horses, and trained horses. Kacey received an A.S. in Equine Industries from UMass Amherst, where she rode on the dressage team. She was certified with the ARIA and is licensed to teach riding in MA. She has been a barn manager and has run her own horse farm.
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