Dressage Horse Training: Giving with the Inside Rein “Doh”

Hello Everyone,

Instead of an “aha” moment I had a Homer Simpson “Doh” moment referring to The Simpson’s cartoon show.  I had a great teaching moment with Judy Farnsworth regarding the inside rein.  This lesson applies to me as a rider and to remember when I’m giving lessons.  Judy asked me to give forward with my inside rein so Donzer would have a relaxed place to move his neck but then Donzer started to almost immediately counterflex.  I’ve had instructors ask me to do this in lessons before and found it equally frustrating because Donzer almost always falls onto the forehand and counterflexes to the outside rein that I’m maintaining.  I should know better and thinking through the biomechanics I do know better but in the moment of my lesson I didn’t have enough brain cells firing properly.

So, I asked Judy, did she want me to just let Donzer counterflex.  The answer was no.  What this highlighted was Donzer was clearly ignoring my inside leg.  My inside leg’s job is to maintain the inside bend.  In this case it was the left rib cage on the inside and this is the rib cage Donzer is reluctant to move over for me.  We are working to readjust my feel so I keep the correct yield on this inside rib cage and when I gave forward with my left inside rein it was obvious Donzer was leaning on my inside leg instead of yielding from my inside leg.

Most of the dressage tests have uberstreichen or the stretch forward showing that your horse is indeed on your inside leg aids and not balancing on your hands, hence the “Doh.”  For me this is another example of how I process information digitally and do not always link together training with the dressage tests.  Now that I’ve connected this dot, it will stay connected but it’s interesting to me what becomes very obvious does not always start that way.  So, when you are giving a lesson or just an eye on the ground, if the inside rein is yielded forward and the horse counter flexes, then the inside aids are not effective in that moment.

Good Riding,

Tara, Author, Out of the Saddle: 9 Steps to Improve Your Horseback Riding

Out of the Saddle

Out of the Saddle

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