|Shortening reins one-handed in a double bridle? Level = Expert.|
Has your rein shortening technique changed since those early days? Have you even thought about it?
|Remember when figuring out how many fingers should be over the rein was the hardest thing? Or, maybe it still is. No judgement here!|
|Reins too long. Cannot touch mouth consistently without engaging elbows way too much. Additionally, this is the least flattering photo of both of us in history. You're welcome.|
|"No, lady! Please be nicer with the rein shortening!"|
|So fuzzy. So heavy.|
"Shorten your reins without letting go."
See, what I had been doing was kind of shuffling my hands down the reins. I would pinch the rein between my thumb and fingers, and scoot my hand down the rein inch by inch. This sort of shortening caused my hands to move a lot, creating an inconsistent contact that would back off my own horse and cause a heavy horse like Glory to take advantage of the slack by bearing down.
|Such wishy-washy rein shortening is impossible in a double... Obviously I had to get my act together!|
My trainer proposed I shorten my reins one at a time. I was to bring my hands together and reach over with my left hand, gripping the excess rein just behind my right hand. Without changing the contact, I was then to slide my right hand forward the full length I needed to shorten. I repeated with the left rein. While the movement was more drastic, it actually created less movement in the contact and fewer weak spots for a heavy horse to take advantage. It also made keeping my reins even much easier.
With my contact more steady when shortening my reins, I was able to work to keep Glory working in the contact and get Pig more confident in the bridle and working more through when I got home!
|Good rein length, and a happy and forward Pig.|
To begin, the rider has to quietly shorten the reins, as well as continue to add leg. Sometimes a highly sensitive horse may need a light wiggle of the ring finger while each rein is individually shortened. In this way, the horse is reminded to stay active in the contact while also made aware that something is changing. The active leg aid reminds him to engage and step into the newly smaller rein space.
|Pig often takes quite a bit of light finger wiggling!|
Relax those elbows! Otherwise, you can also have a horse with a constricted neck and hilarious expression!
|Whee! Elbows behind me!! At least my heel is down?|