|Driving Rein (and a cute gray boy)|
So, since everyone gets super-duper-bonus points for noticing my weird rein hold - I figure it deserves some explanation (as I understand it).
Use of a Driving Rein is something that I've done on and off over the years.
Up to this point, I had only ever used it in clinics and with a couple of my dressage trainers when I was (much) younger. Bernie Traurig is known for having a major fondness for a Driving Rein, and even noted that with some young horses he would ride that way for a year to establish honest, true contact.
As a tool in clinics I've always seen it applied to discourage those of us who like to brace our hands or break our wrists (I'm guilty of both).
By bringing the rein in over the top of the hand, the only way to increase pressure on the rerun is to pull straight back with your shoulder and elbow.
With a traditional grip (entering between the pinky and ring finger) a naughty rider can increase pressure by playing with their fingers (gasp) or bending their wrists (double gasp).
You also have the option of bracing your hand down toward the wither (with a locked elbow) to give yourself some leverage against a heavy horse, or perhaps if trying to contain a bolting maniac (who would do that I wonder????).
My last couple of horses have given me reason to guard against sudden desires to bolt/spin/whatever - and that defensive mindset often leads me to stiffen my arm and brace in my hands - even when there is no bolt or misbehavior in sight.
The problem with this particular habit on a horse that doesn't bolt forward is that when I try to maintain a steady contact, I end up holding too much, not following the mouth and bottling a certain pretty Gray pony up in the corners (or in the last stride to a fence).
So, by flipping the rein and forcing my elbow to unlock, I keep a softer feel of the mouth and am forced to rely on straightening from my leg as well as pushing more sincerely to my half halts.
It's not a bad thing.
|However, it can make the line on a crest release a bit silly...|
( I just spent a REALLY long time trying to find a picture or clip from that scene of the movie and am somewhat shocked I can't find one... am I the only one who remembers that?)
Hold the reins normally, and give yourself some contact. Pretend you are trying to soften then mouth and see how much wiggling and breaking your wrists can do.
Then flip the reins, so they enter your hand between your thumb and forefinger, do the same thing and notice how all the movement has to come form the elbow.
Ideally try this on an actual horse... but you know... most people aren't reading blogs while they are riding (are they?).
The Driving Rein also naturally lifts my contact a bit and helps me carry a higher line of contact/balance. I might be overdoing this now - as there were a few moments in Canada where my hands were getting precariously close to my chin - but for now that's better than my preferred alternative of burying my hands and creating a stiff connection.
|artificially raising the balance a bit... but..... I'll take it|
It's also making it easier for me to separate my hands if I need to offer some help landing a lead. I don't know why it's easier than with a traditional rein - but maybe because my shoulder is already soft, I am more likely to utilize my hands separately in the air.
|staying low, with contact on the right, releasing forward on the left|