View Full Version : Using the inside rein.

26-12-08, 09:45 AM
I noticed in a post (on a different forum) somebody write

The inside rein is for flexion not bend....

I find the idea of an "absolute" use of the inside rein intrigueing. In my opinion you can use it for whatever you want provided the weight in it is never more than in the outside rein and preferably with the intent of helping the horse carry more weight on the inside hind leg not blocking it.

I can't see that you DON'T use inside rein during shoulder-in (for example) but what I can see is that it IS used to tell the horse the amount of bend you need and therefore the degree to which the inside hind leg must step under to keep the horse straight. Both legs keep the impulsion and engagement and the outside rein puts a control on the amount of bend vs engagement and the degree to which the shoulder is allowed to come off the track.

But surely the use / sensitivity / submission to the inside rein is there and apparent all the time?

PS. I know it's Boxing Day but I'm between orphan feeds. :)

26-12-08, 07:51 PM
Yep boxing day, but what does one do on boxing day apart from drinking :7 watching movies :D , cooking and falling asleep :+

Well one gets on the net and on forums :P

I also find the 'absolute' use or non use of the inside rein intriguing!

However for me the inside rein asks for flexion not bend, flexion for me relates from the nose of the horse to the wither and not beyond (if I am making sense probably not). Bend for me refers to the 'whole' horse.

But I agree, saying that only using the inside rein for flexion and bend is well, incomplete for me.

I believe that each hand should stay on its side of the neck, I believe that sometimes asking what is not well classical can and does play a part in training the horse.

Every moment is and can be different for every rider/horse combination, in a 'perfect' world then yes, its inside leg to outside rein, but I have been more of a believer in both reins/both hands at times and when necessary.

Horses have two sides, one normally weaker than the other, humans also have two sides, one normally weaker than the other, so in saying that I feel that sometimes the opposing sides collide, come together and yes I agree, saying that the inside rein, asks only for flexion and or bend is, well incomplete.

However I do believe that staying OFF the inside rein once you have got the reaction you wanted to be extremely important, ie knowing when to give is more important sometimes then knowing when to ask!!!

When a horse is submissive, sensitive, to the inside rein at all times, then we have achieved our goal:7

Am I making sense, probably not..........

Ah well what is new.



27-12-08, 11:52 AM
ahh its saturday the 27th - does that mean we have to sober up now or can we keep drinking - i suppose it depends on whether we have to drive or not and the stock levels of the 'beer' fridge:-)

this inside reins stuff cannot be absolute.

when we first teach the steering aids to the horsey - that first couple of rides - we put pressure on that inside rein and when the horse turns its head towards the pressure - we release - so at first, we turn head and feet turn and pressure on the left reins means we go left. We also teach horsey that pressure on both reins means soften jaw and stop.

We spend ages instilling this idea in horsey.

When horsey understands that pressure on rein means turn we then say to some horseys (ie the ones that are expected to go round as opposed to the campdrafting and sporting horsies) - we say to the ones that are going to go round - ok, i'm going to put pressure on the inside rein and turn left, but I'm also going to have a contact/on both reins -

what I'm saying is that i'll give a bit quicker and i'll be happy if you keep moving your feet but you stay soft on the jaw with your nose closer to the vertical as opposed to the 45 degree angle you were trying to balance me under.

that inside rein with no pressure isn't so much 'turning from the outside aids', its us giving the pressure when the horse simply flexes to the inside rein and relieves the pressure as opposed to insisting on a full turn to the inside with the feet before we relax that rein.

I suppose from a training perspective - the 'no pressure on the inside rein' is more of a half-turn like a half-halt, i want you to start turning (ie flex) but thats enough and I'm going to work more on forward.

I wonder if we thought about flex in terms of what's logical progression of the aids from when we first start teaching under saddle then we would have far less confuzzled riders and far less confuzzled horses.

that said - i'm drying out now and can't think straight - going in search of more alcohol it is after 10 am after all.

27-12-08, 12:50 PM
I like my horses to be even in both reins..if I take a little with one rein I give with the other so the horse can bend his body OR just his neck to even up the pressure on both reins.. If I take up a contact on both reins my horses continue to go forward unless I quit riding them forward with my body, then it means slow down or stop ..
Riding horses is not doing one thing and expecting the horse to respond in the way it says in the book ..you may have to apply an aid.. release it..straighten a little with opposite aids.. tweek the front end..bring the hind a little to the inside.. a little more forward.. come back.. it goes on and one.. this is riding.. When every thing is going just to plan leave it alone .. but if its not quite right, fix it..ride the horse on YOUR line .. ride the horse between your hands and your legs.. when he's there leave him alone.. when hes not ASK him to get there.. but don't keep asking..horses learn from the release.. SOON he will try to keep in that place (where you want him) because that is where he meets the least resistance..
That place where you want him may be on the track out for a trial ride or it may be a beautiful 1/2 pass across the arena.. the same principles apply.. To me that is riding the horse..
All this inside and outside rein is worthless until you can feel the horse and put him where you want him ..with all the rein and seat/body aids ..and he goes there without resistance..he is happy to try and for you to mold and shape his body..because he has learned that there WILL BE a release and he WILL BE REWARDED for his efforts..

27-12-08, 01:44 PM
Nice to see reata has returned from her ..er holiday..
While I'm sure reta's post reflects empathetic horsework.. it doesn't reflect the applied priciples of classical drressage.

I would have to dig deep to articulate even a potted summary of the rein(s) and bend.. but suffice to say that the outside rein is passive supporting and the inside rein is active directing.

A dressage prospect wotking well in my eyes will mostly demonstrate a quiet and somewhat passive outside rein with some tension (or rein weight), and an inside rein always seeking release to indicate a steady state to the horse.
I mostly see a lot of inside rein tension/weight that demonstrates that the horse remains a "prisoner not yet ready for parole".

The horse in nice forward carriage with a released inside rein is my vision of good work in progress..

( having said that my vision is probably crap... so feel free to give me both barrels md..... :-) )

27-12-08, 04:01 PM
"I would have to dig deep to articulate even a potted summary of the rein(s) and bend.. but suffice to say that the outside rein is passive supporting and the inside rein is active directing."

I like the way you put that.

27-12-08, 07:20 PM
Well yes, and it's correct.

The inside rein indicates the flexion and bend and the outside rein allows it to happen, allows the horse to reach into the contact of the outside rein. The outside rein is the one that dictates the amount of bend, the size of the circle, the angle of the half pass and shoulder in.

Always the horse should be stepping into the contact of the outside rein via the rider's inside leg but the bend (and flexion) is indicated via the inside rein, not the inside leg, which should maintain the forward and activity of the hind legs.

Perhaps it should be the outside rein that has the "absolute" use?

Sorry if I'm rambling ... in a hurry to feed up.

Edited because I can't spell.

27-12-08, 10:45 PM
Just a couple of extra's...
One nice example of a well structured combination demonstrating progress in early schooling is to ask for shoulder in on an inside track.
So many (most??) rider work only with the fence for support.
Remove the fence and the truth appears.
The fence ( whatever it actually is )tends to be a prop for both horse and human , and inside track work should be very high on any training agenda.

Absolute ???... there are few in dressage after cfs , so my spin is that there is no superior rein .. just harmonious and sympathetic direction to the riders wishes

Finally.. sorry to have been a bit abrasive md.. you do so often find fault with the comments of a humble endurance rider....and ....thanks to bats and midnightly for the supporting comments.

28-12-08, 01:56 AM
"so my spin is that there is no superior rein .. just harmonious and sympathetic direction to the riders wishes"

Be careful Teege or you will be agreeing with my uneducated opinion.. ;-)

Bad Bones
28-12-08, 10:07 AM
I don't think there is a one absolute use for any of the multitude of sgnals/aids we give a horse.
Inside rein can be a lot of things, direction, bend, lift shoulder, half halt, even (particularly in the western arena) the initla aid to move in the opposite direction. Much depends on how it is used whether it is a direct contact, or against the neck, or an upward lift asking for elevation, the uses of the 'inside' rein are so varied I can't imagine being able to say that it has one absolute purpose.
Also we never use one signal all by itself (I hope!). so each individual question asked of the horse is supported with encouragement from other directions (legs, seat, voice etc).
I remember one thing that has stuck in my mind for all time when it comes to riding horses, particularly young horses, and to my discredit I cannot for the life of me remember who told me.......
basically when giving a horse a direction your should be providing
"3 walls & a door (opening). The horse should always have a door to go through and if you are putting the 'walls' in the right place he will go through the door you want."
I use this principle all the time and have found it to be faultless.
So whether it comes to inside rein, outside rein, legs or seat, you really need to be using at least 3 together don't you?
OK enough ramblings form me.
Hope you all had a nice & safe Christmas.

28-12-08, 02:19 PM
Huh? Oh tgh, at least your ramblings are more often than not intelligent (thats when I can understand them that is and they are not being written in cryptic code that is way to hard for this mind to comprehend at times, never was good with the written word).

For me the inside rein is the asking rein, the outside is the control factor, however sometimes in early training well, whatever works really at the end of the day.

As long as you get the required result and its all been done with tact and sensitivity the horse won't mind.

I too hate riders that only use the outside track, I find myself using the inside track more often or not to prove that I have my horse on my aids and not on hers so to speak, I rarely ride the outside track in training, apart from maybe warm up and warm down.

Ah dressage training, such good training for the rider :7

edited to say, I plan on being very good in 2009, so I only have a few more days to be bad......

Pfft endurance rider indeed. I am sure you can take the heat tgh:P

28-12-08, 09:05 PM
Yes, BB, always we should leave the door open for him .. that should actually go without saying but then ... quite often it's not the case. "Leg without hand, hand without leg" should be a mantra.

Flexing, bending, circling, lateral work, all require a combination of aids, but again IMHO the direct (inside) rein indicates that a little bit of flexion and bend is required. The weight aid half halts the horse, then the outside rein determines how much flexion/bend is required and the inside leg maintains the horse forward whilst the outside leg holds the bend by preventing the quarters from swinging out.

"For me the inside rein is the asking rein, the outside is the control factor, however sometimes in early training well, whatever works really at the end of the day."

Yes, I agree with that, but I would add the use of weight and legs to the control factor. :)

28-12-08, 10:40 PM
Sorry, md, tried to edit but had run out of time. We were only talking about reins and rein aids really.

So yeah ... outside rein is the controlling rein (provided the horse is working into the bit) and so I agree with you. :)