What is an "inside" rein or leg? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-01-2013, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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What is an "inside" rein or leg?

I read this term on the forum and internet in general all the time. Things are said like "place your outside leg here and squeeze the inside rein". What does that mean? I don't ride in an arena so if I am just wandering down the trail how does one determine what is inside and what is outside? And why can't we use terms like "right" or "left" ?
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post #2 of 18 Old 08-01-2013, 12:59 AM
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It is refering to applying your cues in relation to your horse's bend.
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-01-2013, 01:04 AM
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Inside hand and leg basically mean which is closest to the center of your work area and then outside is the one that is farthest from the center of your work area.

On a horse, inside hand/leg can be either your right or left hand depending on which direction you're going in.

If you are going to the right, then your right hand/leg is usually your "inside" hand/leg. If you are going to the left, generally your left hand/leg is your "inside" hand/leg.

Now if you start lateral work like leg yields, etc. it goes back to which hand is closest to the center of your work area.
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-01-2013, 01:06 AM
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If someone said inside rein it would be the rein on the side of the direction you are turning towards. Outside for the side you are turning away from. If you're going in a straight line, like out on a trail, than you wouldn't use those terms.
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-01-2013, 02:05 AM
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keep in mind that you can be moving toward the left, such as sidepassing, or leg yielding, but your inside leg is your right leg because that is on the inside of the arc created by the horse's bend in his body.
Going along the trail, you can bend the horse right or left, and thus create an inside leg that is left, then right, then left, all depending on what direction the horse is bent in .
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-01-2013, 07:55 AM
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EVERY horse needs to learn how to move away from leg pressure -- not just move forward from it.

Have you ever had a horse hit your leg on a tree on the way by? Well, If he was trained to move away/over from leg pressure, you could just 'push' (put some leg pressure) on that side and he would willingly 'bend around your inside leg' and move your knee away from the tree.

Your reins ONLY control the direction your horse's head is pointing; They don't always control the direction your horse goes. Haven't you seen a rider try to turn a horse and the horse pointed his head that direction but he kept going the other way shoulder first? A horse does not have to 'follow his head. He does have to follow his shoulder. ONLY your legs can control his shoulders and body. Your legs control everything behind his neck and head. So, if you ever have problems getting your horse to go where you point his head, it is because the horse has not been trained to move away from pressure from one leg or the other.

If you are 'pushing' him with your right leg while you are pointing his nose to the left, your right leg becomes your 'outside leg'. If you are trying to move your horse over to the left because there is a tree or a hole to your right, you will just push his body over, he should bend around your right leg and move shoulder and ribs first to the left (not nose first) and your right leg becomes your 'inside leg'.

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post #7 of 18 Old 08-01-2013, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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I think I understand a little more now. Usually we're just walking in a straight line down the road so I was having a hard time understanding these terms in that situation.

I'm not entirely sure my horse knows how to yield from side to side off my legs. I have tried to do things like that before to avoid holes or trees and he just moves forward. Of course it could be rider error, but I have never been successful. Something to work on.
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-01-2013, 02:46 PM
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It isn't rider error. He just has not been taught to yield laterally to leg pressure. He has only been taught to go forward. You teach him by shortening both reins to prevent him from speeding up and use more rein on the side you want him to move FROM. That turns his head slightly to that direction and your leg on the same side becomes your 'inside leg'. You go 'bump', 'bump', 'bump' with your inside leg until he moves over.

I teach lot of horses this 'leg yielding' exercise going down a wide trail or on old ranch road with 2 'tracks' on it. I ride down the left track, shorten the left rein more than the right one and 'push' the horse over to the right track. I let him straighten up for a ways and push him back over to the left track.

One of the easiest ways to teach a horse to move away from leg pressure is to stand in one spot, steady him with both reins and prevent forward movement but shorten one rein more than the other. Then, bump him with the 'inside leg' until he moves his butt away from it. As soon as he moves a single step, relax, quit pushing and let him rest. It is this 'release of pressure' that tells him he did the right thing.

Conversely, don't quit bumping and asking him to move over until he moves away from your leg.

It is very important that you teach one to move both directions. They usually have one 'limber' side and one 'stiff' side. It trains them much better if you practice bending and 'yielding' twice as much on their stiff side.

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post #9 of 18 Old 08-01-2013, 02:53 PM
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OP, these terms are the language of riding. The European Military Schools studied how to train and ride a horse and we follow their methods, even today. It really helps you, as a rider, to take several months of riding LESSONS so that you are speaking the same language of cues that were trained into your horse. We all have to be trained to drive a car, so it makes sense to be trained to ride a horse, as well.
Riding to the RIGHT in an arena, means your horse is on the "Right Rein." Travelling to the LEFT in an arena, means that your horse is on the "Left Rein."
Right rein, right leg is on the INSIDE, left leg is on the OUTSIDE.
Left rein, left leg in on the INSIDE, right leg is on the OUTSIDE.
It's basic and usually covered in the first few lessons.

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post #10 of 18 Old 08-01-2013, 04:10 PM
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Depends on where you get lessons. The lessons I took were very good in terms of how the rider's balance affects the horse's balance and motion, or how to get the horse to soften to cues. But there was no mention of 'inside leg', for example. Cues were always discussed in terms of 'left / right'.

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