The One Rein Stop

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The One Rein Stop

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  • Pulley rein
  • Can one rein stops be dangerous?

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    03-24-2010, 07:23 PM
The One Rein Stop

Lets talk about it :]

Some exerpts from the full article here.

The ORS can be effective in regaining control of a horse when the horse is ready to listen. But if a horse is so panicked that he NEEDS to move his feet, a ORS can cause further panic. Horses are primarily flight animals. When they get scared their first option is to flee. If you try to stop the flee by shutting down his feet with a ORS (or any type of stop) you are trying to take away his main survival tool. Sometimes this will worsen the situation and make the horse even more desperate to flee. So you set up a situation which will cause the horse to fight any attempt to stop him. This can escalate the problem and be very dangerous. It can lead to a much bigger problem than the one the ORS tried to fix. I have seen it several times, so I know it is real.
Rather than try to bend the horse to stop, just use enough bend to get the hindquarters to yield then release the rein and move forward. When you use a ORS it is not the stopping that keeps you safe, it is the disengagement of the hindquarters. The HQ yield (or disengagement) takes away the ability of the horse to buck or bolt. The stopping only gives the rider a chance to get their composure back, fix their hair and check their makeup. Once you have disengaged the HQs and the horse has relaxed his back a little you can allow him to move. If he goes to buck and bolt again, just disengage the HQs, release and move again. By doing this you avoid the panic that can come with trying to get the horse to stop his feet. This approach has never failed me and never made a situation worse - unlike the ORS.
And this paragraph I really agree with:

Before finishing discussing the ORS there is one other aspect about it that I don't like. Because a horse is being asked to bend and not move his feet, he is being taught to disconnect the feel of the rein from the movement of the feet. This promotes an inaccuracy in how a horse moves when directed by the reins. It can encourage a horse to "rubber neck" - where he is being turned one direction, but he keeps moving in another. I never want my horse to have a lateral bend that is not directing the feet - especially in a young horse.
I personally don't use the ORS and don't teach it. I can see where it could help younger kids, etc. I have enough strength to convince most horses that I can stop them whenever I want - I also have found ways to increase my strength by careful use and placement of the reins, my hands, my arms, my weight.

What do you guys think?
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    03-24-2010, 07:39 PM
I prefer the pulley rein over the one rein stop. It doesn't require as much balance or strength as the ORS. I used it successfully on a horse that thought a canter cue meant gallop and payed little attention to my normal slow-down aids. He went from a gaining canter to a halt in about 5 seconds tops with the pulley on the first try (I had used it with the trot and walk before so we were both more used to it, this was the first for the canter). With the ORS, I think there is a greater risk for unbalancing the horse and causing a stumble. Another advantage of the pulley is that it does not require circling, so it can be used on narrow trails/spaces where the ORS would be a dangerous option. If I was a trainer, I would teach the pulley rather than the ORS.
    03-24-2010, 07:42 PM
^ Ditto - I hate the thought of unblancing the horse that is already on the forhand and generally not in control by bring their head around. I use my own vairation of the pulley rein and it hasn't failed me yet.
    03-24-2010, 07:50 PM
Your second quoted paragraph, on the disengagement rather than simply bending the horse's neck is precisely what I was taught and what I teach my horses as a ORS. Apparently there are variations of the ORS, perhaps geographically? The precise process I use is to sit deep and back, slide one hand midway down the rein and smoothly pull the rein to my hip, and dig the heel on the same side as the shortened rein into the horse's side, pushing the HQ's away.

This has worked wonders for my spook-aholic first horse, but I never waited until I had been bolted with for a quarter mile before I asked. More as a quick reaction to the horse's initial "Oh, crap" moment. I can't speak for a hardcore bolter as I've never dealt with that situation. To me the idea of using one rein instead of two to eliminate the potential for the horse to brace on 2 handed pressure makes good sense. Scout knows the drill, that dramatic shortening of one rein and firm pressure behind the girth means stop those front feet and get that butt around, no matter how fast he's going, but I've never needed to use the technique "for real" with him. Seat cues plus a verbal "whoa" does the job for every trick he's ever pulled with me.

Perhaps it isn't the end-all, be-all, but I like having my version of the ORS as an option in my bag of tricks. I'll have to become more acquainted with the pulley-rein, though. It doesn't get a great deal of attention in what I personally have read and been taught.

Good thread topic. I'm looking forward to reading others' ideas and thoughts.
    03-24-2010, 08:01 PM
I think the key is to release and let the horse keep moving - Most explanantions of the ORS I have heard include keeping the head flexed until they stop moving their feet.

I really like this guys thoughts on disconecting the head from the feet - I hate that rubbernecking feeling on a horse who doesn't equate the head with the feet.
    03-24-2010, 08:06 PM
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
I really like this guys thoughts on disconecting the head from the feet - I hate that rubbernecking feeling on a horse who doesn't equate the head with the feet.
I took lessons on a quarter pony mare who did that. We'd be trotting along the rail in the lesson, and her shoulders would just dive to the center (where the lessons tended to end), and only an extremely strong inside leg would get a reaction. Too many little kids steering with reins alone and the wise old girl learned how to disconnect her neck from her shoulders. Not really on topic, but that disconnect is a royal pain, to ride and to try to fix.
    03-24-2010, 09:05 PM
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
    03-24-2010, 11:20 PM
If you wait to do a ORS untill your horse is bolting or bucking it is not going to work. You pull yourself and your horse off balance and make a bad situation worse.
    03-25-2010, 07:48 AM
Originally Posted by NittanyEquestrian    
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.
I would love to know how you can use your seat, your legs when a horse bolts, panics or whatever??
Your seat means nothing, your legs mean nothing when a horse bolts and he responds to one thing only and that is your hands.

Climb aboard a known runner, a known bolter and try the seat, the legs on him and see where it gets you.
Try hauling it's head to it's butt and see if that works???

The seat, the legs are tools you reason with a horse when he is of sane mind, not in flight.

Like others I feel the one rein stop on a running horse is stupid and just asking to wipe out a horse by throwing him off balance. You need the space, the footing and the guts to pull a hard running horse in a tight circle. Hauling his head to his butt works far better. Do that a few times and you no longer have a bolting horse.
    03-25-2010, 10:48 AM
Green Broke
I guess I am confused. What is the difference between ORS and HAULING the head to the butt? Which is more dangerous? What is HAULING? To me that means yanking as hard as you can. I agree with not pulling a horses head around at a full bolt which will create a danger. I was in this situation when I first got my horse. She almost took us thru barbed wire. I could not for the life of me get her face turned. We ended up crashing into a tree. Luckly. As I think about that situation and what I would do differently, I honestly am not sure. Especially if your horse has a hold of the bit. My only thought, I guess, is to try to tug on one rein hard enough to make a difference but not hard enough to unbalance my horse. ORS are mainly used for slowing an animal down. To have their feet not move during ORS is to soften the horse.

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