One Rein Stop vs. Pulley Rein - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 07-02-2011, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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One Rein Stop vs. Pulley Rein

Another post I was reading made me think of this, and I was just wondering if there's any real difference between the one rein stop and the pulley rein.

As far as I understand it, the one rein stop is just pulling one rein to your belly to bend the horse's neck and guide it onto a circle. You spiral the circle in smaller and smaller, which eventually allows you to stop the horse. With the pulley rein, you basically "choke up" on the reins, hold them in one hand, then reach up with the other hand to grab further down the rein. This gives you leverage to pull one rein with enough strength to slow the horse.

To me, this sounds like two different approaches to basically the same thing. Is that accurate? The pulley rein sounds a little harsher, but it might also be more effective in an emergency. Can anyone clarify?
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post #2 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 08:39 PM
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Two very different methods. The one rein stop uses hind end disengagement as the primary tool. There is only contact one the inside rein. This method is best for times when you can catch the horse before it gets to a full out bolt.

The pulley rein is very harsh on the horse's mouth and should only be used in true emergencies. While it also ultimately disengages the hind end, it does so much more harshly by planting one rein at the neck and pulling the other one up in sharp and rhythmic pumps until the horse is under control. If done very severely, it can permanently damage the bars of the horse's mouth.

One rein stop works for 99.9% of problems, so just concentrate on that one.
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post #3 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 08:58 PM
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They are two methods to get control of a horse, yes. But you use them in different situations. In short:

A one rein stop is what you'll use 99% of the time when your horse is acting up.

A pulley rein is serious shiz. If a horse bolts -- I mean truely bolts and gallops off with you, and you are unable to stop him---, you use a pulley rein. Pulley rein uses an amazing amount of leverage and can hurt a horse, especially in a harsher bit. I don't practice pulley stops for this reason.
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post #4 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 09:18 PM
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When I was taking lessons while in college (studying equine studies), the pony I was on decided to take off. My instructor was telling me to make the pony go into circles and to make them smaller and smaller and eventually he would stop. I not knowing what she was talking about, could not figure out why I would make the pony go in circles in which it could throw its balance off causing us to tumble over. After reading this, I know now that she was telling me to one-rein stop the horse. Thing is, I wish they would have properly taught us this BEFORE an incident happened because I totally freaked out and refused to ride that pony ever again. I will keep this info you all have posted in my mind for future reference. Thank you!
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post #5 of 23 Old 07-04-2011, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks for the explanation. That makes a lot of sense... the pulley rein sounds much more drastic, and I'll focus on the one rein stop. Good to have in mind just in case.
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post #6 of 23 Old 12-09-2013, 02:17 PM
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I wish I had known about the pulley rein stop this morning, I knew my pony was spooking at an approaching tractor, we circled and stopped, thought he was gonna be ok, then he took off, I was trying to one rein stop him but lost my balance and took a fall, he wasn't going to stop. I am now nursing road rash hands and sore hip, think I was dragged for a second along gage road. Will practice this for next time lol.. He's only a baby at four and a half x
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post #7 of 23 Old 12-09-2013, 02:30 PM
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A one rein stop needs to be practiced in a controlled environment for it to be effective. The horse needs to be very responsive to it in the controlled environment. If not, the horse can still run off or forward no matter if you have its head pulled back to its side. Been there, done that. Also, the rider needs to practice it so the action is instinct and not something you have to think of first.

The pulley rein doesn't have to be harsh. The reasoning behind it is that you are not creating equal pressure on the bit for the horse to brace against. It should only be used in cases of emergency.

Edit: All you have to do with the pulley rein is to pull just a little more on one rein than the other. The pulley rein can be done in a see saw fashion for more affect but that can be harsh.
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post #8 of 23 Old 12-09-2013, 02:43 PM
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I think it's important to know both methods (and how to gauge your strength on the pulley rein so you don't end up using more force than necessary!). My horse is still a little iffy on one rein stops (we're working on it), but even if he had them down solid it's highly unlikely I'd have a place to use it when we're out trail riding, since I'm usually in the woods. The trails I ride on are mixed use in a state park, so a bolting horse could potentially be very dangerous for hikers, cyclists, or other horseback riders nearby.
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post #9 of 23 Old 12-09-2013, 02:53 PM
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A spiral to a slow down is fine if there is room.

A 'one rein stop' is a learned behavior, and about as effective as any learned behavior - ie, it depends on the quality of the training! I've never heard an explanation as to why training to stop with one rein pulled is more effective or natural than training to stop with both reins pulled.

Yes, a horse can gallop very fast with its nose at your knee.

A pulley stop isn't that big of a deal. It gives you the mechanical leverage to pull harder than most people can without using it. It isn't gentle, but a bolting horse can be an emergency.

A curb bit is a frowned upon but sometimes useful option for riding without contact. The pressure on the poll and curb strap can make it much more effective than pulling on a snaffle. If the horse's head is near horizontal, pulling on a snaffle merely braces it against their teeth. They can ignore it pretty easily in that position. But that won't stop the pressure on their poll or the curb strap with a decent curb bit.
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post #10 of 23 Old 12-09-2013, 07:27 PM
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I use a the one rein stop, however only from a walk or trot, the version I use is not really a spiral down. It's a fast whipping of the head around (at fast speeds you can pull a horse over, it's how stunt horses fall in movies) however it's also using leg to move the hind quarters over.

I will use it to stop a buck, if a horse breaks gait, sometimes in a spook, to stop a bolt before it happens, I will also use it gently to just stop a very green horse or a horse with a hard mouth.

It's something that needs to be taught to both horse and rider. It also needs to be practiced (one each side every time I ride) to maintain it's effectiveness, it can be used with a bit, bitless bridle or even a halter so long as the horse understands how to yield to pressure. (Stiff/untrained horses generally will spin rather then stop).

The you can also pull the bit through the horses mouth, rending the stop ineffective. So a cheeked bit (fm, big d ring, English Tom Thumb) or chin strap should be used.

The pulley rein can be very harsh and I would use it if needed only on a bolting horse, where I missed the window to use a one rein stop, and I could not circle the horse

The idea of the pulley rein is to tighten and brace against the neck with on hand (to keep the horse head straight and create leverage) and pull up with the other rein. I've never needed to use it but I have (gently) practiced to make sure both my horse and I understand it.
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