REINS, NECK REINING
& THE SIDEPASS
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What hand do I use on the reins?
What should happen with the hindquarters when I neck rein?
What is the best way to teach the sidepass?"
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What hand should I hold
split reins in?
When showing in a western pleasure class I'm confused on which hand my split reins
should be in! I have had many people tell me it should always be in your left
hand and I have had people say it doesn't matter because you work both ways in
the ring and you have right and left handed people Can you help me? - Laura
I am right handed and always hold my split reins in
my left hand. This keeps my right hand free for opening and closing gates, for
holding the lead of a horse that I am ponying, and for any other task that I'd
rather perform with my right hand.
However, since a horse
show judge wouldn't know if you are right handed or left handed and holding the
reins with either hand is "legal" in the show ring, it boils down to a matter
of your personal preference. When you ride, do you feel more comfortable and coordinated
when you hold your reins in your left hand or right hand?
thing I do want to mention is that in a few classes in certain associations, there
is a rule that once you commit to holding the reins in one hand at the start of
a class, the hands may not be changed. You'll need to check your breed association
handbook for general performance rules and for specific class rules for the classes
you are showing in.
For more specific information and illustrations
related to holding reins, refer to:
Best of luck,
should the hindquarters do when neck reining?
I decided to teach my English horse to neck
rein (for convenience while trail riding) and I have very little Western experience.
We are making pretty good progress, but I am confused about one thing. If the
horse is at a standstill and I apply a neck-rein cue for a left turn, do I want
the hindquarters to move to the right around the front end, as in a direct rein
cue, or do I want the front legs/shoulders to move to the left around the hindquarters?
Please help, as I haven't been able to find the answer anywhere. Thanks. - Pat
Great idea. You'll be the
envy of all your trail riding buddies because you'll have a free hand for taking
a sip of cool water out of your canteen while your horse continues down the trail!
Western neck reining, when performed from a standstill, is
a turn on the hindquarters. So if you want to make a 90 degree turn to the left
(by applying a right indirect rein on your horse's neck) you will also be using
your right leg behind the cinch (girth) to hold the hindquarters from swinging
to the right.
Neck reining is always preceded by a "check"
which is the western equivalent of a half halt, a slight lifting up of the reins
to shift the weight of the horse to his hindquarters. Then the neck rein aids
are applied and the horse turns with his weight balanced on his hindquarters with
the forehand moving around the hindquarters.
is the best way to teach the sidepass?
I am trying to train my 19 year old QH mare to side step. She was a pet in her
early years, then a trail horse, then a Western/English pleasure horse and now
she is mine. I have had formal training and for the most part, can train a horse
to do various things well. However, she has not responded well to my efforts.
Any help would be welcomed. Thank you. - Merlin
Like so many other maneuvers, it is best to break down the
sidepass into its components and teach them one at a time so if you have a particular
problem, you have various places you can go back and "tweak" or review. Once your
horse knows all of the simple components, the sidepass will be a "piece of cake".
Here's the progression I follow to teach the sidepass:
- Move forward energetically from pressure of the lower leg aids.
- Master the turn on the forehand (hindquarters moving around the
- Master the turn on the hindquarters (forehand moving around
- Master the leg yield (moving forward and sideways at
the same time)
- And finally! Master the sidepass (moving directly sideways)
Since it sounds like you've had some experience with these maneuvers, you will
be surprised at how easily it will all come together when you follow the progression.
Plan to take a week or two to teach or review all of these steps to your horse
so she doesn't become confused by progressing too quickly.
you need a review, all of these maneuvers are described in detail in:
Best of luck with your training,
Where can I find Panel Caps?
My sister and I read your article "Instant
Fence" in Western Horseman and would like to find the Panel Caps that you mention
to use on our round pen. Can you help us out?
1809 E. Sherman Ave.
Nampa ID 83686
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