The concept of riding without hanging on to the mouth of the horse should be the first thing every rider is taught. First on the lunge with a quiet horse and then independently on the rail. Eventually, riders should be able to stop, steer, and yes, even jump with out rein contact.
Learning to ride with an independent seat with real balance should be the cornerstone of teaching riders. However, it has been my experience that many riders have been taught to hold a tight rein, pull turns, and pull to stop.
The result for the horse is:
- The complete deterioration of lightness and responsiveness of the mouth.
- A building of the under muscles of the neck and a deterioration of the longitudinal muscles of the horse which completely changes the mechanics, carriage and paces of the horse.
- Makes any future correct or remedial training of the horse far more difficult for the rider and completely traumatic for the horse.
- Causes a proliferation of horses that won't stand, horses that lose their brakes, horses that become dangerous run-aways.
- Horses that are crippled with incorrect muscle crookedness, stifle problems, and sore backs.
The result for the rider is:
- Falls... Hanging onto the rein does not keep you on the horse. Staying balanced on your seat bones does.
- Fear... Rider loses control of the horse as the horse no longer has brakes.
- Failure... Rider gives up riding. An activity that should be fun and safe becomes filled with tears and frustration.