Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: State College, PA
I agree 100% with the author of the article. For three main reasons.
1. A horse that is a confirmed bolter or nervous enough to be likely to bolt should NOT be ridden by a rider whose only defense is the one rein stop. That horse should be ridden by a rider whose skill level is high enough to shut it down with seat, leg and hands. Not just hauling it's head to it's butt.
2. Many beginners feel the one rein stop is a miracle tool in training sent from God and that it's going to save their butt no matter what. So when their horse spooks, they lean down, grab the rein and yank themselves right out of the saddle and their horse and themselves out of balance or they hit the dirt, spooking their horses even more. Many beginners that rely on the one rein STOP do it wrong, they give up their position and they end up getting wobbly and usually falling off.
3. Since when is it a good idea to go from 60 mph to 0 mph as fast as possible?
That being said I think there is a definite need for every horse to learn to disengage. If you have a nervous horse you want to add inside bend and if that doesn't work then you haul their head to their butt and you move their feet until they are paying attention to you again and not the boogie monster. But as stated above, completely shutting down movement is never going to calm them down if they are truly afraid.
Now if you're doing a beginner lesson and a bag starts blowing through the ring. It is a handy tool in your pocket to yell one rein stop and all the little lesson kids stop their horses, get the horses to look at the rider and not the ground and nobody gets dumped by a spooked horse. But being out on a trail or even in a ring at a dead gallop and trying to haul your horse into a one rein stop IMO = bad news bears. I consider myself a pretty decent rider, and I can sit a lot of things. But a scenario of going from 60 to 0, on a horse that suddenly lost it's balance and doesn't know where to put it's feet is generally going to end with me picking some kind of gravel out of my underwear. But hey, maybe that's just me =P