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Fix Your Opening Rein Riding Problem

In this article...

Uncover a secret weapon in your riding toolkit - the opening rein. Discover its potential to create tight turns, easily control young horses, and make your signals clearer to your equine companions. Check out our recent blog posts for the full rundown on using this invaluable aid correctly.

The opening rein is a great training tool and can be slightly more effective than other rein aids with tight turns, young horses and lesson ponies, just due to being more clear to the horse. That is if you are using the aid correctly.

In the last two blog posts I’ve covered what an open rein is, why it’s useful and how to do it. Then I went over the 2 common problems rider encounter when using the open rein.

Stop here and read the two short posts right below before moving on, so you have the whole picture.

Post 1: Open Rein Meaning: What Is An Opening Rein & How Do You Do It?

Post 2: 2 Common Problems Riders Encounter Using An Opening Rein Aid

In this post I am going over how to fix the open rein problems I discussed earlier in the second blog post above.

So let’s go over how to fix problems using an opening rein.

Fixing Your Issues Using An Open Rein

The goal is that you want to be able to open the rein with minimal to no disturbance of your riding position, upper arm and elbow position, while giving the horse a clear rein aid.

Start off by carrying your elbows and hands in the correct basic position with your thumbs on top. Their should be a straight line from elbow to hand to bit.

When you go to use the open rein just turn your inside wrist over so that you’re fingernails are facing up towards the sky and your thumb is pointing towards the center of your circle or turn. You don’t have to move or twist your forearm sideways although if you do it will emphasize the aid.

Think about keeping the same contact and be aware that this simple turn of the wrist will cause you to open your inside rein by about the width of your hand.

Your horse can feel this in his mouth and because it is a subtle, gentle and calm aid your horse is very likely to listen and follow through.

Just because you know what to do now doesn’t mean that you will get it right away. Practice this and focus on being smooth, and steady.

I hope this short series was a help to you. Stay tuned for more riding tips.

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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