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"Tight" outside rein, loose inside rein
M'kay, here's some background info:
I started riding at 12ish and got some lessons for around a year. I then went to a trail riding place and dicked about on weekends until I was 15. I've discovered the lessons I got when I was younger weren't brilliant because on my first lesson at this new place (which I love and I'm 19 now) my instructor was talking about things/showing me things I never did before. Including:
I had no idea what an "inside" and "outside" rein/leg was
Using leg yields
I get the leg yields and understand the outside/inside thing but this has confused me. She told me to keep the outside rein "tight" (as in have my elbow right into my side) and inside rein loose. I always kept both reins "tight" before and I'm a little confused about the this. Basically, why keep the outside "tight" and inside loose? When I say loose I don't mean no contact, just a bit less, if that makes sense.
Oh, and according to my instructor I'm not a complete newbie any more which was a huge ego boost :P
I've Googled around but I haven't found a simple answer. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Your instructor while on the right track was not using the correct terminology or describing what you should be doing ( unless YOU are interpenetrating her remarks wrong).
The outside rein should never be "tight" but supportive. It is this rein that you are moving the horse into doing the leg yield so if it is too loose the the horse will buldge and fall through it.
Think of the outside rein like a fishnet and the shoulder/neck of the horse like fish. You are catching fish and if the net is too loose the fish will get away.
The inside rein should also not be loose MY YOUR OWN MAKING. The inside rein should have contact but only as much contact to prevent the outside rein from turning the head to the outside.
If the leg yield is correct the HORSE itself will lighten its contact on the inside by arching its neck, softening its contact and bending and flexing inwards somewhat. This is sometimes referred to "on the bit" a terminology we don't like to use as it implies the rider is forcing the head. In fact the horse has ACCEPTED the contact of the bit by coming to the aids you as the rider supplied.
Again you should NOT allow the rein to be loose but take back the contact the HORSE has given to you so that the inside rein will now have the LIGHTEST contact and you should just feel the mouth.
Trainer was trying to help you establish the "inside leg to outside rein", which keeps the horse straight. (Outside rein used to bring horses shoulder slightly to inside while inside leg gets horse to slightly bend around inside leg. This means horse steps underneath iteself more with inside hind leg - which is the very beginning of more advanced riding.)
Riders legs control horses hips, reins control horses neck/head/shoulders. So when you ride as above you are straightening the horse (and not ignoring the hind end).
As you get better you'll find the inside rein is not just "flopping around" but rather just SLIGHTLY looser (when going straight) than the outside rein.
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