Soft tissue wrist pain caused by riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-19-2012, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
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Soft tissue wrist pain caused by riding

This summer I again have a wrist brace on my left arm. This is the second summer and I finally figured out yesterday that it seems to be caused by the way I hold my left hand when riding. I ride western now and most often with both reins in my left hand. I am not a technical rider by any stretch of the imagination, but I'd like to think that at this stage of the game my posture is generally OK for stability, strength, and well-being of me and my horse. Apparently, I have overlooked my hands.

I ride with a french link and 90% of the time with a loose rein. Occassionally my horse can be a big jiggy, or mareish and I have to have more contact, but if that is the case, I usually split the reins to use both hands and revert back to more of an English style with firm, but not pulling, contact.

I'm sure this is just about my position. My hand is usually more horizontal than vertical, with the left rein between my ring and pinky fingers and the right rein controlled by my first finger. I have tried vertical with the tail of the reins coming out of the top or the bottom, but I can't seem to get the message across to my horse as well that way. Maybe because I don't use shanks? Most of the time, my horse will respond to my legs, but sometimes she needs a reminder with a bit of a neck rein, or sometimes a gentle snugging up of the inside rein. I do not consider her to be actually trained to neck reining. The neck rein is more like a reminder to her that she's not doing something right. She does respond to direct rein for sure; I could do that without leg cues if I wanted to.

Would shanks help? I have never ridden with a shanked bit. I'm a bit leary of it due to my own inexperience and the fact that my horse has never had one either.

Or maybe I need to relearn a hand position?

Does anyone have any tips for this?
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-22-2012, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Bump please.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-23-2012, 07:35 AM
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It's time to sit on your horse and assess how to reduce the strain on your wrist. When you hold the reins you should be able to draw a straight line down the top of your forearm to your middle knuckle. The hand should be bend neither side to side nor up and down. Your wrist support creates this effect. We get in to bad habits and it will take a lot of focus to change how you hold the reins. Many trainers claim the angle of the hand should follow the shape of the horse's shoulder.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-23-2012, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, that's what I've been trying. It was still not working for me though, so today I rode with the wrist support. I figure if I wear that I have the correct posture and maybe I will get so used to doing it correctly, I will be able to do that without the support ;)
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-07-2012, 11:40 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
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I'm trying to get a mental picture of how you are holding your reins, and I think I have it, but a picture would help immensely. I think part of your problem is that you are not keeping your wrist straight. From the comment that you are now riding western, is it safe to assume that you used to ride english? If so, the wrist movement is the same, except you can reach over the horse's neck. In general, when neck reining the reins are held together between the thumb and forefinger with the extra going down through the palm. The wrist is held verticle and straight, slightly in front of the saddle horn, centered over the center of the neck or close to it. I hope that made sense, I understood it, but you (or someone else) might not have. If not, let me know and I'll take another stab at it. It is okay for you to continue to ride two handed with a snaffle in western. Do what you are comfortable with.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-08-2012, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
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I'm sure it is because I'm not holding my wrist straight. I have been riding ever since with a wrist support and no more problem. I just never paid enough attention to it before. Thanks.
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