Beginner: Using Outside Rein to Turn

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Avalancheé, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. Avalancheé

    Avalancheé Registered

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    Could someone explain how to use your outside rein to turn a horse? I’ve never taken lessons before (but I may be soon!!).

    I’ve always just turned my horse by using a light inside rein, and it really does just turn her head or takes her shoulder a while to come around. I trail ride and just follow trails in loops so it never really was an issue, but it’d be a good thing to learn. I watched some videos and read some, but I still didn’t really get it. Some didn’t even mention anything about leg, but I’m sure it’s somewhere in that equation for a good turn.

    I believe it’s something like:
    Turn left = right rein + right leg...? Or maybe it was left leg.. I’m not sure. Someone definitely needs to explain it better to me lol.

    Does this require my horse to be trained as well? If so, I could wait until I can get lessons so both of us could learn. But while I’m riding at home, it’d be nice to practice during my rides.

    Any advice would be great, thanks in advancs!!
     
  2. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    Pulling the head slightly in the direction you want to go is one way to cue a turn and a fairly natural one. But if you pull the head too far in that direction, the shoulder sticks out on the other side and the horse will drift in the direction you don't want.

    You don't use the outer rein to cue the turn, you use both. You need the inner rein to give the neck the correct bend and the outer rein to give the direction. Imagine the outer rein as a wall or a border.

    Of course the horse needs to be trained to do this. They are not born with the knowledge of what a human wants with the various aids, just as they don't know that leg pressure means forward/more engagement unless they have been taught.

    And yes, you need lessons to get a feel for this. Plus, you should take lessons on a horse that already has correct basics because it's really hard to get a feel for it if the horse has never been trained to do it properly either.
     
  3. Ziast

    Ziast Senior Member

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    If you are just a trail rider and have no aspiration to do more, than no, you don't have to learn to turn with the outside rein.

    When turning, the outside rein doesn't get used in the sense of pulling or anything. It stays as a passive wall or guide until a correction is needed. Its job is to regulate the bend and degree of the turn(in addition to leg/seat), and keep the horse aligned through the turn. Like Garfield said, it helps to control the shoulder through the turn. By keeping them controlled and straight in the turn, its easier in their bodies and allows them to be more athletic.

    Ever been on a horse who wants to go somewhere you dont, but when you pull on the rein they turn their heads but their body keeps going? That's because they've fallen out the shoulder. If you were to use the outside rein to straighten the neck, maybe even counter bend them a little, you'd have an easier time using your legs to turn them.

    It's considered an indirect rein, and in a way it's like neck reining.
     
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  4. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    I’d wait till you’re in lessons to learn this - if that’s the route your going to go. But if you’re aspirations are simply to trail ride, I wouldn’t worry about it much.
     
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  5. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    First, you do not turn using rein.

    Reins are your LAST cue. Look where you want to go, not at the horse. When you do that, your body position changes and the horse feels that and adjusts his position under you to mimic you.

    Try it on the ground. Face forward, legs slightly apart. Now, turn your head 45 degrees to the keft. Observe how your body responds. Your hips and shoulders move WITH your head. Now, try it the other way.

    These are your first cues to the horse that you want a turn. The reins are not your steering wheel. Your body IS.
     
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  6. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    It is more convenient though. Using the outer rein for the turn is fairly close to neck rein a turn, and then you can ride your turns on a totally loose rein out on the trails, just using your weight and the touch of the outer rein against the neck to give direction. Trail riding is most comfortable if you need only minimal rein contact and can hold the reins in one hand.
     
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  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Avalancheé, Could someone explain how to use your outside rein to turn a horse? I’ve never taken lessons before (but I may be soon!!).

    It depends on which riding discipline you're talking about, English, Western, or 'something else'(like dressage and related disciplines, polo, etc). In every riding style, the reins are used in a different way, including the outside rein. The horse is also taught to respond to the outside rein using a different method, in each discipline.

    I’ve always just turned my horse by using a light inside rein, and it really does just turn her head or takes her shoulder a while to come around.

    How do you mean 'takes a while to come around?' Can you not turn as tightly or as quickly as you want? Do you wind up drifting through the shrubbery instead of staying on the trail?

    I trail ride and just follow trails in loops so it never really was an issue, but it’d be a good thing to learn. I watched some videos and read some, but I still didn’t really get it. Some didn’t even mention anything about leg, but I’m sure it’s somewhere in that equation for a good turn.

    I believe it’s something like:
    Turn left = right rein + right leg...? Or maybe it was left leg.. I’m not sure. Someone definitely needs to explain it better to me lol.

    Which riding discipline was this video talking about?

    Does this require my horse to be trained as well?

    No matter how you use your reins, both you and your horse have to both be taught. You need to be taught what signals to use, and what to do if your horse doesn't respond to those signals. Your horse has to be taught those signals as well. In other words, you could apply those signals with perfection, and have your horse stand there and say, 'I have no idea what she is telling me to do.' Either you or someone else has to teach the horse what the signals mean.

    'Teaching the horse is usually simple,' just a matter of praising/rewarding the horse when he responds in the desired way. And typically, how you 'teach the horse' has more of a 'directing/showing/guiding' way. Similarly, you say 'sit!' and immediately press down on a dog's rear end a gently tug upward on the leash, when you want him to sit, while later on you'll just say 'sit.' He learns that 'sit' means, put your rump down on the ground because of repeatedly being guided into that sit position by hand and leash, and he learns 'sit' is the signal for it as well.


    If so, I could wait until I can get lessons so both of us could learn. But while I’m riding at home, it’d be nice to practice during my rides.

    Turning/circling/steering in dressage involves 'bending' the entire horse and is probably way, way more than you need or want.

    In Western riding, they don't 'turn with the outside rein' the way us dressagies do, it's called 'neck reining and involves putting the outside (on the outside of the turn) rein against the horse's neck. Some here will tell you they taught that to the horse by crossing the reins under the horse's neck, but I've seen people teach it without doing so.

    Probably the best advice anyone here could give you is to watch a lot of people ride in the discipline of your choosing, and get riding lessons.


    Any advice would be great, thanks in advancs!
     
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  8. bobo and horses

    bobo and horses Senior Member

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    We trained to turn left, hold horse withleft leg, push horse around with right leg, laying right rein against his neck.

    Mostly leg, until they get the idea, then just laying of rein against neck. Turning right, the opposite is used.also, read manes post about looking where you want to go, and horse will go. After much training, not not gonna happen over night.
     
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  9. Avalancheé

    Avalancheé Registered

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    Yep, she just likes to take her time turning or turns widely. I don’t mind most of the time unless I get spider webs in my face

    Dressage :)

    I appreciate the amount of detail a lot! Now I at least know that it’s much more than how to just direct a horse in general. I didn’t even take into discipline into a consideration, but it definitely makes 100% sense.
     
  10. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    That description did not sound like dressage aids for turns.

    While there are a few scoundrels purporting to train or teach dressage who are not teaching anything like dressage, most instructors are 'on board' with the correct aids('signals'). Unlike other riding sports there is no improvising of aids in dressage, lol(reminds me of Tom Hanks in 'A league of their own' shouting, 'There's no crying in baseball!')

    Once a lady was bragging to me that her friend's horses were highly trained dressage horses, and to signal them to back up, she poked them in the shoulder with the toe of her LEFT boot. I remember sitting there thinking, 'I have fallen into an evil, evil land,' lol. That night my partner said I was having a horrible nightmare screaming, "NOT THE TOE OF THE LEFT BOOT!" (Just kidding. Maybe).

    The way we turn, circle or get around a corner in an arena, is by using what's called the 'turning seat' (and the turning aids).

    The turning seat pivots right at the waist, without the person leaning to one side or consciously shifting in the saddle at all. Simply pivoting at the waist puts most of our body parts in the correct position to give the turning aids.

    Say you want to circle or turn left. Your inside (left) rein is used to put a very slight curve in the horse's neck. The inside leg is used at the girth, the outside leg slightly behind the girth, and only as a 'guard,' to keep the hind quarters from 'skidding' (shifting outward on the turn). And in fact, the inside rein and leg helps bend the horse, and the outside rein and leg 'define the circle line.'

    With a baby horse or novice rider (or God forbid, the novice rider riding the novice horse, lol), it's very, very simple. What's called an 'opening' left rein, and prayer.

    With the 'opening' left rein, your sort of 'take your hand over' - your inside hand, the left hand here, away from the horse's neck, and kinda 'point to where you wanna go with your hand.' In a perfect world that left opening rein is just looped and loose, and the horse just sorta 'follows that hand', and you apply no more pressure than if you were squeezing a baby sparrow. Unless that doesn't work and then you're going to have to, God Forbid, actually take that rein and bring the horse's head around.

    Nothing is really done at all with the outside rein with such a completely baby horse, except to be sure not to pull on it. One might even completely loop the outside rein so the horse doesn't get confused.

    But that changes very, very quickly. Because if you only use your inside rein for long, your horse's shoulder starts 'popping out' more to the outside of the turn.
     
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