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Now, I have only skimmed the posts after the first page so if anything I say has already been covered then just ignore me :)

Anyway, the one-rein stop is a tool/emergency/training aid. Its intended use is to teach the horse how to stop with no reins. Nobody uses the one-rein stop every time they want to stop. I train my babies with the one-rein stop primarily because I break them in a rope halter - and only have one rein. They stop, supple, and if they move I disengage the hindquarters.
I actually rode with a NH trainer for a couple months who had multiple horses whose only woah button was a one-rein stop. I was warned before going on out a five mile trail ride that the horse I was riding would buck if I used a traditional pull-back-on-both-reins halt, but that was okay because 'she is a perfect beginners horse'. Yeah right. In what world does a perfect beginners horse bolt up even the slightest incline? It's a lucky thing I'm not (and wasn't at the time) a beginner.

Needless to say I did not stay there for long.

In my opinion a one-rein stop is just a crutch at best, and dangerous at worst. I use something similar to keep a horse from walking off while mounting, but I start with a horse that is hesitantly taking a step forward and simply redirect their momentum so that they are still lined up for me to mount. Eventually they get sick of it and just stand still :lol:
 

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Coming off at the bolt - painful

The last time a bolting horse carried me off, I wound up in the accident and emergency department of the local hospital with severe bruising and concussion.. The ugly pink blue and black photos of the bruising which I suffered are not fit for publication on a forum visited by young folks.

On one summer’s day, having climbed up a winding country lane, we had reached the top of the hill at a junction with a minor road between two villages. My horse was well known to me but suddenly at the junction he unexpectedly whirled off his hind quarters to the left. I was unprepared for the move and at the time I had been looking around to check for traffic. I was caught completely off balance and left in the saddle tilting over to the right.

I jerked the left rein and managed to pull the horse round to the right on his hind quarters but it was not enough. The horse was still facing down the hill. He took off. I pulled sharply on the left rein and I kicked him in the left side by the hind quarter and I brought in my right leg in an attempt to force him into the bank. But he was ready to resist and he worked his way off to the right and thereby evaded merely by an inch or two the side of the high earth bank. He was now free to gallop home which was back down the hill along a tarmacced surface. By now he couldn’t stop even if he wanted to and he didn’t want to.

I lent forward and tried to shorten the reins to restrict his head movement but he had the thick neck of a cart horse. I looked for another bush in the bank to direct him into but he was settling into his stride and I did not have a hope to restrain him. The saddle was flat topped and had been engineered with neither cantle, nor a pommel nor knee rolls. It was a design for use in the dressage arena, to be fitted on a flat backed Icelandic horse and was not for use by my cobby mount when being ridden cross country.

At this point I made a fatal mistake. Instead of leaning back in the saddle and pushing my feet out forwards in the stirrups, I leant forwards in the style of forward riding. I was thinking to use my legs to steer the powerful devil between my thighs. Suddenly I realised that I was also fighting the forces of both gravity and motion. I was slipping forwards on the saddle and there was nothing to stop me. Gripping the flanks of the horse with my thighs just didn’t help and sawing at the horse’s mouth through the reins did not throw him off course. I did not have the leverage to restrict the movement of his head. If anything by pulling on the reins I was pulling myself off the horse. Plus the action of his front legs was vibrating me relentlessly up towards his neck until finally I slipped over the front edge of the saddle onto his wither Then he simply tossed me off. As I fell I made a grab for his neck with my arms. I even got a handful of mane but too much of my body weight was already out of the saddle. By this time horse and rider were motoring downhill fast.

Finally I lost my grip on his neck and I fell and hit the road on my shoulder blades. Subsequently the base of my spine came down and slammed into the road surface. My head followed in a whiplash reaction and the rear of my riding helmet banged into the stones of the road surface. Those small stones remain embedded in the plastic rim of the helmet to this day. I seem to remember facing upwards towards the branches of the trees but later I discovered that all of the impact had been taken by my upper rear torso. There were even graze marks in my skin created under the various layers of clothing up by my shoulders. Unbeknown at the time, a football sized haematoma was beginning to form over my spine just above the sacrum. I was lucky the impact did not break my back.

The horse, ran on until the hill levelled out and it was physically possible for the horse to slow its frenzied gallop. Later I found it grazing peacefully on the grass down by the lake.

Put simply, I had been completely unaware that the horse was going to bolt. It had no reason to do so. Actually we both paid the price. I was to stay bruised for months but the horse had torn a check ligament which eventually led to his euthanasia.

However if a car had been coming up that lane, we would both have died along with the occupants of the vehicle. Horse and rider would have collided head on with the car at a combined speed of at least 40 mph.

Moral : don’t let your horse bolt - ever.
 

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Not a fan of a one-rein stop.

If a horse runs the bit and won't turn in response to seat and leg cues, and I feel like I am going to lose him, I'll pulley rein him to shut him down.
 

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In my opinion, it should be used for starting babies, or runaway horses. Grabbing a handful of rein and pulling either into the ground would not be a good idea. Esp, if the runaway is panicking, pulling back can cause them to become more claustrophobic. As far as babies, I think it would be helpful to teach them, if it is followed up with using your seat and later grabbing both reins. It's not meant to be used all the time or on finished horses. I don't think so many ppl would like it if it did not work, when used correctly. But, thats just my opinion :)
 

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I used on today. my horse was overly focussed on home, i asked for a trot and he started into the most braced out trot and was just about ready to step into to a cnater. it wasn't the speed, but his rigidity and obvious desire to bolt. I slowed and turned him sharp right, disengage the hind, and then offered himn a chance to try again and be good. The ORS was more of a disengage, turn around, think back to the rider, and try again. and I only did this after I felt him tuning out both reins.
 

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ORS isn't just to pull the head around. Many here are right, that will cause them to fall on you. The hip has to be disengaged, I think that's the purpose. Not just pulling their face around.
 

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I don't think anyone argues that impulsion, relaxation etc aren't better than a ORS. Nor do many people advocate pulling a bolting horse in a tight circle.

I've also understood that the one rein stop is for preventing a bad situation. When your horse is really worked up and not responding to the reins you ask for the one rein stop. You don't just turn a horse who hasn't learned the one rein stop, you have one that has been trained to stop when you give those commands, and stand still. When they have settled or whatever you keep going.

I don't think anyone should rely on it, nor do people with horses with refined training need it. I think it's just a bit of an emergency button that is good to have.
 
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