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Horses/holding reins style


QUESTION: hello. while riding in English style, should I hold my reins separated or to keep my hands close. my instructor told me to keep hands close but I found all the foreign riders holding the reins separated. can you please tell me the correct way?

ANSWER: Dear Rohit,
Nice to hear from you again. The answer is that it depends on what your horse is dong and how you may need to ride him. Your coach is correct that in terms of proper equitation- your hands should create a straight line from the corner of your horse's mouth to your elbow- your ear, hip and lower leg also falling in a straight line. However- there will be times when your horse needs an open rein, an indirect rein, to follow through over a fence, etc. and this will require your to adjust your hand position accordingly.
Best wishes,
S. Evans

[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks for the answer. may i know when to open the reins while riding?

Dear Rohit,
This is a more complex question than is easily addressed in text. In English riding- the open rein is used (usually) to create straightness. I have found a fairly good (audio isn't great) video of Olympian Breezie Madden explaining the use of the open rein. I think that in this circumstance- you kind of need to SEE the open rein in action. Try this Youtube link:
Be wary- there are some YOUTUBE videos out there that are supposed to be demonstrating correct use of the open rein but they are somewhat suspect. Breezie is an accomplished equestrian who knows what she's talking about.
S. Evans


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Shelley Evans


I would be happy to respond to enquiries in the following disciplines: dressage, working western, hunter, halter (open and IAHA), hack and pleasure. I can also offer assistance with schooling and equitation issues.


Twenty years Class A show circuit including multiple championships.


Inside International

BA, MEd, Teaching Certificate (PDP), CEF Western Level I Coach, provincialy approved Hack, Equitation and Western Judge.

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