"One rein stop is cruel/Not for English riders?" - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 52 Old 03-30-2019, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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"One rein stop is cruel/Not for English riders?"

I'm starting to feel that I'm maybe over safety crazy... My friend (the wife from my journal) has a new share pony. She's the best schooled share she's had, the owner rides and jumps her 1m+ and loves dressage. The pony is very forward but so far very responsive and safe. My friend is still nervous though, having only ridden 2 years and been a slow grower at that. She's petrified of being bolted on, even though she's never had it happen. It took her over a year to feel safe enough to try canter and she used to death grip at the trot for a while when she started just to give you an idea. She's better but still tenses and panic grips if the horse wants to move out. I taught her initially to spiral or circle inwards on her previous shares and she immediately felt better having some back up plan if a half-halt or halt didn't work. I merely asked the owner of her share pony if she knew the ORS and was sent a rather sharp email about how the one rein stop is extremely cruel and unconventional, not needed or taught in the English discipline and to never be in contact with her again :S I literally.... only... asked. She did also say that to stop a bolting horse all you need is a deep seat and half-halts - that my friend is not to attempt a one rein stop (fair if horse doesn't know it) or even circle her (what?)...

Well she's got a point, sort of. I've only personally met three people in person so far in England, UK that use or train the one rein stop, whether or not they call it that. I look online though and see a ton of English riders (as in direct rein contact) explain it actively. In fact, just for her, I did some digging and found dressage coaches/channels that explain the ORS as well so it can't be all that unconventional. Obviously the first steps are to train the horse (duh) and work on deep seat and teaching the halt/half halt etc but worst case scenario then what?

I don't know am I going crazy? Is it really that unconventional or just not an English thing? Or is it more that "finished" horses don't need ti because well.. they're finished so newer riders only see the end version halt/half-halts? :S
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post #2 of 52 Old 03-30-2019, 02:16 PM
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It sounds like she's the crazy one, not you...

Many English riders tend to see the ORS as a 'western thing' used by unskilled riders on untrained horses, from what I've seen. And it certainly can be misused or dangerous if done incorrectly. Done properly, with the horse trained in the response, it can prove very useful in a sticky situation.
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post #3 of 52 Old 03-30-2019, 03:39 PM
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To me a horse has to be schooled and know the ORS and to be used effectively it has to be done quickly before the horse gets moving and running. I would hesitate to use it and pull the horse's head around sharply if the horse is running, this could cause the horse to trip or somersault - not good.

If I have the space I would circle a runaway making the circles smaller and smaller until the horse is under control, but ideal conditions are not always available when you need them.


My first horse was a run away but I just let him go as I had 10 or 15 miles to go and didn't worry about it, he got over it fast. BUT I do not recommend this.


I would be willing to bet many riders use this without really thinking about it or putting a name to it. just something they know to regain control of a situation.

In fact many years ago, Sis in a dicey situation would say "keep 'em busy" and would apply a version of it without giving it a name.
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post #4 of 52 Old 03-30-2019, 03:49 PM
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I guess the one thing I would say about the one-rein stop, from what I understand, is that it does help, *if* the horse has been trained to understand what that means. The horse learns to disengage ... it's hindquarters, I think? ... and thus it slows down. But for a horse that hasn't been trained to do this and is panicking or out of control, it could just run right through the attempted one-rein stop, with its head pulled sharply to the side, and that seems like even more dangerous than going too fast in the first place.

From what the owner said (I also agree she sounds a little, um, emphatic) it sounds like this horse has not been trained to do a one-rein stop, so I think it would make things worse if your friend were to try it. I'd recommend that she work on half-halts instead, trying to bring the horse back to her and slowing down rather than trying to force it to stop.
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post #5 of 52 Old 03-30-2019, 04:24 PM
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The '1 rein stop', as a terminology, isn't something that 'English' riders in the UK ever refer too, unless they're also into western riding or spend a lot of time on US forums.
It doesn't mean that they don't use the same technique in certain situations where its going to be safe and effective.
As a technique it was one of those things we did to defuse a bolt that just never got a name.
I think that maybe because English riders are more inclined to keep a decent contact when they think a situation might occur, its a lot easier to stop the bolt before it even starts.
I must say, though, that a half halt isn't really about stopping a horse or slowing a horse - its about riding a horse into your resisting hands to 'gather and balance it' before transitioning down.

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #6 of 52 Old 03-30-2019, 04:30 PM
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more of a 'my dressage horse is perfect and would never bolt, his mouth is a temple don't touch it" type thing I think
my trainer taught me a one rein stop, as well as many other 'ugly' riding techniques... but the fact is they work and they stop my horse from trying to gallop off with no control



edit; my trainer is also an absolutely lovely person who would never wish harm on an animal, a ors isn't cruel, its just necessary when your facing a greater danger

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post #7 of 52 Old 03-30-2019, 05:15 PM
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Huh......ask her what she thinks of a "pulley rein", i.e. see sawing at the horses mouth when it's in a bolt and won't stop.....Yes, I'm all about adding kerosene to the fire..
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post #8 of 52 Old 03-30-2019, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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omg @DreamcatcherArabians that would just about send her over the edge o.O!!

@jaydee that's what I tried to explain - we don't call it that but I do like it having a name. Prior to knowing it I would literally just do a tight circle but much prefer there being a training technique you can work on in a controlled environment. As for the half-halt my friend literally doesn't even know what it is but was too embarrassed to admit that to the owner (bearing in mind I've explained it numerous times over the last year). To be fair I think the half-halt is often only known to be used to slow the horse down than for it's original intention >.<

I suggested it @ACinATX to be taught first obviously it's dangerous to attempt on a horse that has no knowledge of it, hence why I asked the own directly. I'd be p***ed if someone was trying new things on mine without permission. Katie knows the ORS but I have to be aware of her size and limitations and the fact she is better balanced if I ask her to give to the right and at what speeds...

@Woodhaven I would love to have that kind of space around here but it's simply too dangerous with city roads. It's part of why I want to really be on top of it... if I lived where there were fields to burn them out I'd be more relaxed about it I think. My friend is committed to bailing if the pony bolts and has upfront said she will not even attempt to stop it now >.<

I really like it @SilverMaple . It's now just another fun thing to practice - and by practice I don't mean yanking on her mouth ofc just asking her to be soft with it. When she's paying attention and focused it's a lot of fun and she gets a ton of reward/chance to relax when she does good as she's not able to fully flex... yet. I've been using it more regularly on hacks when she's in a good frame of mind hoping that if I ever need it I'll get a good response.

@UnhappyHacker I didn't think of it like that but it makes more sense put that way tbh. I sincerely hope she doesn't' get bolted on but she might think differently when it happens as that little pony got some fire but also deserves to be hacked out. Until I hand walked her she hadn't been hacked out in months! No wonder she was so excited!
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post #9 of 52 Old 03-30-2019, 05:49 PM
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I'll say people like that make me mad, they're unreasonable and dont really have a clue what they're talking about. A good thing with experience is you realize the "conventional" and "traditional" way isn't always best and simply doesnt work with certain horses. Same with arm chair experts, just drives me up a wall. But then you realize most people are simply clueless, are opinionated or have an ideology but not a clue about reality or pragmatics. Gave a talk about how so many people are detached from reality because they've never had to see the repercussions or be grounded. I've re-trained so many horses from people who were the "nicey-nice" types and wouldnt ask a horse to behave or stallions I've worked with from people who would never make the horse toe the line, so then the horse was dangerous and had to be handled with whip and chain at all times or it was coming at a handler with hooves and teeth. Or sometimes having to be unconventional or do "ugly" things to make a point and teach something important. Cant be afraid of those ugly moments, it's more fair long term. Just drives me crazy...

And I dont know my dressage horse is a bolter, I dont know that I'll ever be able to train that out of him but I'll say I'm super proud that we're down to getting bolted off with about once a ride vs ten. A one rein stop is completely useless with him. He'll take the reins clear out of your hands, flying change and spin the opposite way before you can blink or he'll just bare down, pull the reins out of your hands in charge. So the only way that works is aim straight at a fence and hope. Sometimes he spins but only thing that works.
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post #10 of 52 Old 03-30-2019, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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@DanteDressageNerd I totally appreciate that - I think Katie has the physical power to do much the same but she's mentally in a different world to yours :P What scares me is that the owner is just rely only on half-halts. I can't bear that. I think you have to apply some stress to at least learn how to cope with it and improve upon. I think you're amazing for being able to sit what you do and I super respect you'll post the ugly bits online for the world to see. Crap really does happen - the owner is adamant her pony will never bolt and that half halts are all that are necessary.. That actually scares me. I'm a pretty cautious person and like to consider myself well prepared but even I was caught of guard and I hack out alone regularly! Open minds are few and far between it seems :<
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