Lisa and Jan have been practicing one-rein riding. Riding with one rein helps riders master the emergency stop — bending the horse’s nose to your knee — and overcome their instinct to pull back on two reins, creating imbalance in the rider and something to brace against for the horse.
To ride with one rein, you have to learn how to flip the rein from one side of the horse’s neck to the other side so that you can bend to a stop in either direction.
Here, Erin helps Jan find her balance point before she picks up the rein.
Flipping the rein gracefully from one side to the other is a wonderful exercise for helping riders develop an independent seat. Our instinct is to lean forward to make it easier for us not to get the rein caught on the horse’s nose or ears. But leaning forward brings our weight out of balance and our seat out of the saddle. Much better to be able to use our arms independently of our core so that we can maintain a deep and balanced position.
Here, our youth program director Lisa Murphy gives student Lisa B. a target to aim for, to help get that rope in front of Parker’s nose instead of onto it.
Lisa and Jan also practiced reaching in front and behind to pet their horses without losing their balance. All of this helps prepare them to ride safely and well, while also building trust between horse and human.
Jan practices bending to a stop from the walk, on Star.