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Steering Your Horse With No Reins


reinless riding1. Start out at home, off your horse and on a chair. Sit on your hands, palms up and settle into your seat as though you are riding your horse. Practice shifting your weight from the left to the right without leaning from side to side. You will feel pressure on one hand and a release of pressure on the other, doing this seated in front of a mirror will help you know when you are leaning.

2. Put a bridle on your horse, mount and hold your reins as you normally would. Keep them loose, however. They are only there to help you in the case of an emergency.

3. To practice steering, set the reins down and work on using your seat and legs. Horses will shift away from pressure, so when you want them to move right you will apply pressure to the left and vice versa. Press your calf into the left side to turn right and your right calf in to turn right. Be careful! Too much pressure may encourage your horse to speed up.

4. Stopping a horse requires more off-horse practice, so return to your chair and practice shifting your pelvis forward. This may feel to you like a release of pressure, but horses have different spines and to them this is a reason to stop.

5. Return to your horse and practice. Some horses may need leg pressure and others may need extra practice. This is why you need your reins; if they do not stop you can use the reins in tandem with your motion to show them that you want them to stop when you make that movement. Don't say woah unless they refuse to stop.

If you are using a western style saddle, keep the reins attached to the saddle horn so that they are not lost if the horse tosses his head.

Keep you heels down, keep your leg on the horse, and hold onto the horn with one hand just in case.

You will want to practice this continually for a few months before attempting to go out without your reins. Always keep a bridle and reins on your horse for safety's sake; if your horse spooks or startles you will have no way to stop them otherwise. Remember that not all horses will take to this quickly. As with any training of a new task, you must have patience and understanding. If you do not have the time to fully dedicate to teaching this to your horse, then don't start. Always remember to ride with a partner and to keep good distance between yourself and other horses.


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