How to Hold the Reins & Steer a Horse (SNAFFLE BITS ONLY)

How to Hold the Reins & Steer a Horse (SNAFFLE BITS ONLY)


You’ll see lasting results for one
simple reason: It’s you that makes the change, not your horse. This is brilliant!
Who wrote this? Oh, it was me… “What I’d Teach Your Horse,” my book. But
seriously, folks… If you want to see lasting changes, huge changes, and you
want to see those changes fast, you need to get better with your hands. 99.99999%
of the folks out there need to get better with their hands… and this means
you. So what follows is a bunch of tips and tricks that will teach you the
muscle memory it takes to get better with your hands. You’ll learn how to pick
them up and to drop them. You’ll learn your timing and your horse will thank you. We are going to practice here a turn to the right, so everything we do during
this video, during this exercise, is going to be a turn to the right. Obviously, all you want to do is reverse everything later when you then practice and build your muscle memory going to the left. Sometimes when you’re training your horse, you want to use one hand on the
reins. Other times you want to use two hands on the reins. This particular
exercise will help you develop the muscle memory that you need for a one
rein exercise. The first thing I want you to do is pretend that you’re sitting on
your horse. You’ve got one hand on the outside seam of your pants, the other
hand is loosely holding the reins. The reins are down on the horse’s neck.
There’s a pronounced droop in the reins. Now I want you to walk around the room
practicing that. Walk around like this. Okay, this hand holds the reins down on
the horse’s neck. It does not move. This hand holds your outside seam. That’s the
way you start and that’s the way you end. That’s the first step of this exercise
and it’s the last step. You will begin like this; you will end like this. Okay, so you’ve got your right hand on
your pants outside seam. You’ve got your left hand down on the reins on the
horse’s neck. When you’re ready to start your turn, the first thing you do is
raise your left hand up off the horse’s neck high into the sky. Let’s practice
that together: Left hand to the sky. Down, up, down, up, down. It goes straight to the
sky. It doesn’t go to the left; it doesn’t go to the right; it doesn’t go forward; it
doesn’t go backward. The left hand goes straight like an elevator to the sky.
Okay, next step: You’ve got your left hand up in the air, your other hand is on your
seam, right? Take your right hand and grasp the other side of the reins. The
right side of the reins. Bring the reins directly back to your side. It’s just a
choo-choo Charlie move. Okay, so practice that. Take it off the seam. Reach forward,
grab the reins. Bring it back to your side, directly to your site. It’s just
forward and backward. So now you’ve got two moves: You got “left hand goes
straight to the sky”… right hand grabs the other rein and comes directly back. Like
this. Now, walk around practicing that. Just
like this. Just like this… So now you got one hand in the air and you got the
other hand on the rein and you brought it back to your side. The next step is to
simply bring the left hand down, back towards the horse’s neck. Right hand
holds pressure until the horse gives and then, when it’s time to let go, I want you
to flutter your fingers away and push the rein down and away.
Don’t drop it. If you drop it, the horse will learn to start jerking his head.
Practice the steps again and again and again and again. It’s very simple: Left
hand goes up; right hand goes forward, grabs the other rein, comes directly back
against your side; left hand goes down; right hand releases when the horse gives
to the bit. Relax. Reward your horse. Breathe. Think about
the next step. Let’s practice those steps. You’ve got to do
it a thousand times if not 10,000 times until you build the necessary muscle
memory. You begin and end exactly the same way: You begin with your left hand
grasping the rein as it sits on the mane. The right hand grasps
the outside seam of your pants and when you’re ready to initiate your turn, left
hand goes directly up like an elevator. It doesn’t go to the right or to the
left or forward or backwards. It goes straight up towards the sky. Your right
hand grasps the right rein with your thumb in an upward position. You don’t
bring it to the side. You don’t turn your hand at all, it just has to be exactly as
you see with my thumb upwards. The right hand then comes directly back so that
your elbow rests on your side. Left hand then goes down against the horse’s mane.
Right hand relaxes and throws away the rein when the horse does what you want,
when it gives to the bit. Then you’re back in the same position as you started.
You’re back again with your right hand on the outside seam of your pants. Your
left hand is on the rein on the mane. Here’s what it would look like in real
time. If I realize that I’m not close enough
to the horse’s mouth with my grip, I want to keep the same amount of pressure the
entire time. The way I do that is I use the other hand to take up that same
amount of pressure, to take it away from the right hand in this case. The right
hand slides forward, gets another grip closer to the horse’s mouth, and then the
left hand relaxes, goes back to where it was, resting on the mane. Watch. Let’s say
the hand’s back here. The left hand has to pick up that amount of pressure
momentarily while the right hand slides forward. It then takes up that amount of
pressure. The left hand goes back against the horse’s mane. If I realize that my
hand is too close to the horse’s mouth and I want to change the positioning of
my hand on that rein, then I want to use the left hand to take up the pressure
that the horse feels in his mouth momentarily as I allow the right hand to
slide back and it takes up that same amount of pressure. Left hand goes back
to where it was on the mane. When the horse finally gives to that bit pressure,
I release entirely. Relax just long enough that you hear something, that you hear the traffic, that the horse is whinnying, or your friends chatter… Doing so
will relax your body just long enough that the horse will feel that relaxation
and know it’s the end of that particular exercise. Once you drop the reins away, you want to
count three steps out of your horse before you repeat the entire process. You
don’t have to do that when you first start because you’re just learning this
exercise and you’re going to fumble around naturally. But as you build your
muscle memory, you want to try and do it every three steps out of the horse. So
your left hand goes up, right hand grasps the right rein, comes back as the left
hand goes down. The horse gives to the bit. You push the bit away. Hand back on
the seam. Let your horse take three steps… one, two, three… then repeat the process. At first this stuff’s going to look ugly as sin, but after a while you’ll get
practiced at this and you’ll you’ll start to own it, okay? You’ll get muscle
memory. You’ll understand how to make your moves more efficient, and this will
start to look pretty to everybody. Don’t worry about how silly you look when you
first start. Just make sure that you get the movements correct and the… the
fluidity, the ballet, will come in time with practice. When you let the rein go,
make sure that you fan your fingers out like you’re reverse milking a cow. Push
your pinky out and then your ring finger and then your middle finger and then
your index finger and your thumb so that you go… you fan your fingers out as you
let the reins go. Every time you release the reins, that’s your reward to the
horse. You release the pressure on his mouth. That tells him he did a good job.
That tells him that’s what you’re looking for. But remember, you need to see
a pronounced droop in those reins as proof to you, the horse, and the rest of
the world that you’re not applying any pressure to his mouth, that you’re not
actually riding the brakes the whole time. So get in the habit of holding one
hand on the outside seam, the other hand down around the horse’s neck. Once you
get used to all these things, once you’ve built the muscle memory, then you can adapt as you see fit. But until then, take it from me, these tips will help you build
the muscle memory that you need to build a better horse.

6 thoughts on “How to Hold the Reins & Steer a Horse (SNAFFLE BITS ONLY)

  1. Very instructive and clear. I wish I knew this when I was young. I love horses, but I don't know how to ride them. I'm a lot older now and I'd rather pet, hug, walk, watch and talk to a horse. I'll keep watching your videos bc it doesn't hurt to know a thing or two that might help someone else. 🙃

  2. I'm riding a professional horse today – I have been practicing your moves. I'm a little scared as this horse does not like any pressure from your leg.

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