Where to put your hands

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Where to put your hands

This is a discussion on Where to put your hands within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • How to hold my hands when riding a horse
  • Where to have your hands when riding a horse

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    10-06-2010, 10:25 AM
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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    10-06-2010, 11:34 AM
Above or in front is correct. Your hands should be in front of your knee
    10-06-2010, 11:39 AM
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.
    10-06-2010, 11:54 AM
Originally Posted by GuitarChump    
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
    10-06-2010, 12:14 PM
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.
    10-06-2010, 08:24 PM
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 :)
    10-06-2010, 10:15 PM
Green Broke
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.
    10-06-2010, 10:30 PM
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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