Stoping/slowing using reins - should I go back to doing it? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 12-20-2017, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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Stoping/slowing using reins - should I go back to doing it?

Iíve just realized that I stopped using reins for any kind of speed control with my mare quite a while ago. I only use my seat/stop following. Should I go back to using them? Why?
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-20-2017, 03:00 AM
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I don't think you need to. Do you ride western? I believe, per some of what Smilie's taught me, leg and seat are completely desired. English is a bit different - depending on your discipline you want a little rein contact, but slowing with the seat is absolutely ideal!
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post #3 of 9 Old 12-20-2017, 07:20 AM
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"Speed control", rate of gait and "steering" regardless of discipline all can be greatly enhanced by using parts of the human body as accomplice not just riding with hands and reins.
Sit down, shift, tilt or pointedly move that seat bone that horse should be doing something in response.
Upper level dressage riders "cue" with invisible movements.
You rarely see a hand with gross movement, even a finger twitch yet their mount just changed cadence, is doing flying changes, shoulder in/out, haunches in/out, half-passes, a sudden controlled burst of power and speed to a mind-blowing snails pace of movement...and the rider did not move...
Or did they?
Seat bones, legs speak volumes...the hands are only a tiny part of communication to be used when astride.

Use your hands silently and gently, by all means, they are a part of the package of invisible, silent cues shared with the horse..
Few riders achieve the level of communication where they can throw away the bridle and perform flawlessly...I wish I could ride that well.
The use of the entire body, yours or the horses when communicating makes for a very pleasing picture unfolding.
Hands, seat, legs, body posture and voice are the tools of communication.
.....
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post #4 of 9 Old 12-20-2017, 08:13 AM
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If riding English you will probably want some contact. I ride English in a bitless bridle, and maintain some contact. I also use my seat to stop rather than pull back, but the contact means I am communicating with my horse using my entire body. Horses are so incredibly perceptive and can sense when you're asking them to do something even if your cues are invisible. If I want my horse to halt, I sit back a little, and in doing so, my hands probably move back a fraction of an inch, therefore she is getting my cue consistently throughout her body. Some horses may not need any reinforcement through the bridle/bit, but in English disciplines, contact is desired.

If Western, maybe not, though most Western people I see use their reins for neck reining, move them forward as a "walk on" or "speed up" cue, etc..
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post #5 of 9 Old 12-20-2017, 11:23 AM
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If you ride English you halt by riding the horse forwards into a light, resisting hand. You sit up (back and shoulders), sit down (seat) and your legs gently ask the horse to step forwards as you resist with your hands by closing them around the reins. That should result in the horse stopping with his head and legs in the correct position.
I've heard riders say that they halt a horse by stopping riding but that would imply that the rider is having to constantly nag at the horse to keep it going which might be OK in some sense for a lazy horse but otherwise not going to work
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post #6 of 9 Old 12-20-2017, 03:11 PM
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The stop riding, is more of an idea of using seat, sitting down, and not following the horse;s forward motion, versus need to nag a horse to keep him going.
No one, including any western rider, wants a horse they have to pedal!
The concept is basically the same, you want the horse to stop by bringing his hind end under him, keeping form, staying light in the hands, versus jamming front feet into the ground, sticking head up, leaning on the bit.
In other words, the basic form of a correct stop is universal, and only the speed from which it is executed varies. The degree that horse is expected to stop without light bit support or none, changes, according to discipline
Whether that horse stops on light bit contact, English, or on a totally loose rein,western, makes no difference, as long as it is a correct hind end stop, with the horse staying in the correct frame, versus sticking head up and nose out,leaning on the bit, jamming front feet into the ground.That is the type of stop you get, if only trying to stop a horse with rein pressure
How I ask for that stop..also depends if I am just stopping from a collected lope or trot, as in an equitation pattern or from a reining run down.
In an equitation like stop, you ride the horse into the stop, with your seat and legs, with amount of bit depending on discipline.Iin a reining stop, that horse is building speed in that run down, running up hill, and you in
a run down, are cueing the horse to build that speed, both with your body position, and the position of your rein hand. You cue the horse to stop. by sitting back in the 'neutral position, rein hand in normal position, sitting back,letting legs move foreward, thus the term, 'stop riding'
If you just sat in that equitation position, the horse might stop, but you would keep going!
This cue, has the horse bring those hocks under him, lock them, while his front feet continue to walk, until all energy from that run down is dissipated, without the horse trying to 'scotch that stop, slowing before, antisipating

Last edited by Smilie; 12-20-2017 at 03:25 PM.
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-20-2017, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I donít think I gave enough details. I ride English with light contact but I avoid doing anything with my mare to ďput her on the bitĒ. At the moment somehow I donít feel I should be doing that. She will put herself on the bit most of the time. My hands just follow. When iím slowing down/stoping I slow down/stop following/firm up my seat (not sure how to explain it) but I donít firm up the contact. It works but Iím not competing, just playing around in the school and trail riding.

It seems from your answers that itís not majorly wrong to keep doing what Iím doing.

Thank you all.
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post #8 of 9 Old 12-26-2017, 09:18 PM
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If it works, I don't see much reason to change it.
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-26-2017, 10:27 PM
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I use my seat and legs to stop horses in all situations. In all situations unless it endangers my horse, another horse, another horse and rider, or livestock.

If you aren't in a pressure situation I can see no reason to use reins if you are getting along fine without them.
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