The only stupid question... is one that does not get asked.
Generally when reffering to soft hands... its not about how tight you hold the reins. But more how tight you hold the horses head with the reins if that makes since. Being soft handed also means having quiet hands so not bumping the horses mouth when working. Basically.... soft handed people use very little pressure of the reins to direct the horse.
Many people have sighed for the 'good old days' and regretted the 'passing of the horse,' but today, when only those who like horses own them, it is a far better time for horses. ~C.W. Anderson