Working my hands up the reins, or in other words..... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-02-2012, 07:18 AM Thread Starter
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Working my hands up the reins, or in other words.....

shortening the reins through my fingers....I moved my question to this board, because I hadn't had any response, think I had it in the wrong place!
I decided that I should just jump in and ask my questions.... to me they all sound like silly questions, but if I don't ask here, by the time I get to my riding lesson every week, I've forgot what I want to ask, and end up with a whole new set of questions!
First question. I'm riding western, using double reins on Susie, the horse I have been riding for a couple of weeks. Keeping the reins loose most of the time, but when jogging, Josh(my instructor) has told me to pull up the slack in the reins so that if I need to slow her down, I am not pulling my elbows back to my ribcage, where I essentially have no control over her at all. I am a fumble fingers at trying to work the reins through my fingers! I do feel like I am going to drop one or both when I try. I will admit though, it's only been one lesson doing this, I am guessing it will eventually work, just takes practice like anything else!
Just wondered if anyone had some tips for doing that?

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post #2 of 8 Old 05-02-2012, 11:36 AM
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Just practice it. You can crawl up the reins now and when you get more confident you'll be able to adjust more quickly.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-02-2012, 01:25 PM
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LOL! I'm sitting here at my desk moving my fingers like I'm adjusting my rein length, thinking 'how on earth do I verbalize this'...
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-02-2012, 01:50 PM
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^^Exactly, Adam. It's so hard to put it down into words. The best suggestion I can give is to have your instructor demonstrate how to move the reins through your fingers without actually moving your hand. It's really simple once you get the hang of it, but if you are trying to figure it out for yourself, you'll end up frustrated LOL.

Other than that, don't worry, the smoothness and speed will come with time .
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-02-2012, 02:30 PM
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Most of us do NOT have horses that ride bridle-less or close to it, so we ALL end up "choking up" for control when we ride, and I often change the length of my reins every time I ride every horse. Here is "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) in 2007, at 25yo.

I have slack reins bc we're halted, but even THEN, if we were to take off I would have to shorten my reins. He LOVED to race!
I'm not a fan of split reins bc you get caught up in making sure that they are even and, IMO, you stop paying attention to your horse. I prefer, with my Western bridles, to hang and evenly knot the ends of my reins. Then I KNOW that they are even, and the knot gives me something for my other hand to grab when I choke up. THESE reins are period type and sewn or buckled together, like English reins.
I think it's a skill to walk your hands up the reins, but that's my opinion. Do it if you wish, but I use both hands to adjust length.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-02-2012, 02:44 PM
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In western rail classes, we call this "rein walking". You creep or walk your fingers up or down the reins as needed.
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-03-2012, 05:17 PM
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I have never heard it referred to as "rein walking." Maybe it is regional.
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-04-2012, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help everyone. I had a lesson yesterday, and again struggled to shorten up the reins while jogging(still trying to learn how to do more than 1 thing at a time too!) I asked my instructor, and he said he actually takes one hand at a time off the reins to pull the opposite rein up. It sound so slow to me, but I tried it and it does work. I also decided that even though I dont' have a horse of my own yet, it would be well to practice at home. :)

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