Where to put your hands - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-06-2010, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Where to put your hands

I was just wondering the correct placement for your hand when riding English. I was always taught to keep my hands up, my elbows bent and not to go past the horses withers because it makes the bit sit correctly in the horses mouth.

But I've seen seen pictures of people riding with the hands low behind the withers, some pictures I've seen they were even kind of on either sides of the withers.

Which way is correct? Or is both correct, it's just a matter of preference?
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-06-2010, 11:34 AM
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Above or in front is correct. Your hands should be in front of your knee
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-06-2010, 11:39 AM
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Can't say if it's right but I ride saddleseat and was taught to hold my hands at approximately belly button height above the withers, keeping elbows bent and close to the body.
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-06-2010, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GuitarChump View Post
Above or in front is correct. Your hands should be in front of your knee

That's what I thought. I see a lot of people with their hands behind their knee, so I was a little confused
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-06-2010, 12:14 PM
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Basically you sit with your arms bend nicely with elbows by your sides. Hands not too high, not too low. Hmmmm.... I'm trying to phrase it correctly and that's the best I could describe (that's how I was taught). The big confusion I personally run into is how wide to keep the hands. Most trainers and riders I know keep rather close, however my new trainer is asking me to keep them as wide as my waist/shoulders for better communication with the green horse. I have to say it does make lots of difference indeed.
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-06-2010, 08:24 PM
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As KV said, it depends on the schooling level of both the horse and rider. Essentially though, the easiest way to know where your hands should be is to remember to keep a straight line from elbow to bit. This line is both how someone standing on the ground will see it, and also how someone standing above would see it.

Different hand positions do have different effects on the horse, but I would speak more to your instructor before you start using them :)

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post #7 of 8 Old 10-06-2010, 10:15 PM
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Part of it depends on who your coach is. Two different coaches at my barn, slightly different placement of the hands. One likes hands just over the withers, the other likes them almost belly button level.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-06-2010, 10:30 PM
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Basically, as forward as you can get them. I have T-rex arms but still above or in front of the withers is where I try to get them. They should stay within 2-4" above the horses withers, whether they are beside the neck on a dressage horse, or above the withers slightly on a h/j horse. They should not be raised too high and should remain quite close together so the reins are contacting the horse's neck on both sides - at all times.
Google Robert Dover, Tina Konyot and Edward Gal for pics of good hand placement, and position in general. I'm sure George Morris has a book written on the subject as well lol.
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