Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Inside Leg to Outside Rein

Seems so simple, and it is. I'm continuing to learn. The following is what I gleaned from an article in Practical Horseman (September 2009) by Kristina Harrison, given to me by my trainer Karen Brown.
Rhythmically squeeze with your inside leg as your horse's inside hind leg comes off the ground, then relax. This is what Karen calls "activate the inside leg." Concurrently regulate the forward energy with your outside rein so the horse balances her weight back on her hind end. When the horse rounds over her back and gives with her head, relax your inside leg and outside rein a little and allow the horse to travel in self carriage. If she picks up her head or slows her tempo, repeat your aids to connect her from your inside leg to outside rein. Guard against allowing your outside rein (and hand) to go forward; rather, keep your reins even, your outside elbow down, and your shoulders even. To prevent the horse from counter-flexing, be sure to use sufficient inside leg (and whip as needed) and keep your hands even as you take and relax the outside rein. To prevent evasion by raising her head up or out, guard against half halting too firmly with the outside rein. Rather, relax your outside rein enough to allow the horse to give, then use your inside leg to ask for more bend so she can relax forward and "down" to the contact. On the other hand be sure not to overbend to the inside by regulating the horse's balance by increasing the frequency of give and take on your outside rein.