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post #1 of 33 Old 08-22-2015, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Western

I wasn't sure where to put or title this, so I just did what I did. This is a stupid question probably, but if your horse is ridden western but doesn't neck rein and rides on a rein that's nowhere near as relaxed as most western riders, how are you supposed to hold the reins? I doubt it makes a big difference to the horse, but I don't wanna look like a fool either. I've been riding with my fingers kind of half facing the withers and half facing each other, without the weird English pinkie-stuck-out thing my horse Pistol's previous owner told me to use on him, just because I figure that's a good way to jam a pinkie. :P Note- I ain't here for crit, I'm here for advice.
PS I have been riding that way for a year which is why I don't think Pistol cares. :P My lesson horse rode like any Western horse, tho

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post #2 of 33 Old 08-22-2015, 10:52 AM
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Here you go:



This is not specific to Western, just how reins are normally held if you use both of them and ride with a contact to the bit and on a direct rein. Holding the pinkie outwards is not what should be done when riding English. :)

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post #3 of 33 Old 08-22-2015, 11:13 AM
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When direct reining, and especially with your horse who isn't really finished to neck rein YET, you must follow the bit. If you DON'T, you will hit your horse in the mouth at the walk and at the canter. It sounds like your horse is still green, and so are you.
Your horse, Pistol, needs training and You need training, too. Most horses are started with a snaffle bit and should understand some rein contact.
The picture above is correct, but it doesn't explain how you learn to follow, which is with your arms, first, and then you follow with your fingers. A horse can feel a fly land on him, and your can use less effort than it would take to pull a mouse with a string and your finished horse can feel and respond to that.
Most of horse training is for your horse to totally trust you, and then he learns to follow trained cues and become immediately obedient. Until your horse gets there, your horse will revert to his instincts and tune your out when he becomes frightened.
One more thing, as we learn to be an effective rider we learn to stop curling up in a ball when the horse frightens us and to isolate our torsos and balance from each of our legs and each of our arms and hands, and they all work independantly.
The best way, IMHO, to begin this process, is to ride a very safe horse, any saddle will do, without stirrups. I suggest, to start, one full week, one hour every day at the WALK, without stirrups. Your horse won't do for this exercise, but the exercise will force to sit correctly balanced and to learn to follow the horse's movement with your own body and in sync with your horse. It is both an easy exercise and a physically demanding exercise at the same time, but, with a safe horse, that will whoa for you whenever you feel your balance slipping, it is a fast start to a "good seat." =D
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post #4 of 33 Old 08-22-2015, 11:18 AM
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xD I'd love to see an english (or western! or any...) rider with their pinky sticking out haha.

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post #5 of 33 Old 08-22-2015, 11:54 AM
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It's western? If you aren't showing, then no one is likely to notice or care - provided you and your horse are happy. I tend to hold my hands parallel to the sides of the withers, a little slack in each rein. For unknown reasons, the pinkie on my left hand is usually on top of the rein, and the pinkie on my right hand is usually below the rein. To date, no one has ever said anything, and my horses don't seem to care.


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post #6 of 33 Old 08-22-2015, 01:05 PM
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^I feel like if OP isn't showing, the technical bits of riding are less important. So I agree with BSMS--who looks adorable on his horse, as always <3
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post #7 of 33 Old 08-22-2015, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Lol yeah. I'm not showing, I have no intentions of doing so, no intentions of teaching my horses to neck rein (maybe Mav one day), and also Pistol rides in a hack, not a bit. ;) and Dixie rides in a halter. I don't have anything against bits, if your horse is OK with them, but Pistol and Dixie aren't, so they don't have to have one.

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post #8 of 33 Old 08-22-2015, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Here is me on Pistol...
And yeah, I figured the pinkie thing was bull.
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post #9 of 33 Old 08-22-2015, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Here is me on Dixie, conveniently focused in on my hands.yes, I know I was slouching. It will be OK. Lol. By the time I got on Dixie I was exauhsted after rising Pistol for an hour and a half.
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post #10 of 33 Old 08-22-2015, 04:40 PM
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I do think that the "technical bits of riding" are still important, even if you don't show.

There is a reason things are done a certain way - in the case of direct contact between hand and reins, the hands should be able to feel the horse's mouth sensitively, move with it, give very fine signals. At the same time, you should be able to close your hand fully without getting the reins pulled through your hands.
In that sense, I do beleive the way to hold the reins like in the picture Saranda posted makes for better riding. Plus elbow - hand - horse's mouth should be one straight line.
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