Riding Tip

Riding Tip

November 9, 2022

“LITTLE TRAINING TIP No. 18 – LIFT, DON’T PULL” from Classical Riding & Dressage – Susie Walker – Légèreté.

“Every single action we make on the reins is better done without pulling backward, inward, or downward. Therefore, that leaves upward, sideways (neck-reins), or forward. Yes, upwards, on the corner of the lips it is effective. Upwards and gently outwards to ask for the mouth, and mobilize the jaw. Up directly to rebalance, lighten, slow or stop, (demi arret) up and sideways to straighten the shoulders (ie neck-reins in lateral work/counter-bend). Up and turning out one wrist to flex or bend the neck. Up and forwards to open the gullet or extend the neck. You can bend your elbows to lift your hands, it is recommended in the best schools, and for good reasons.

Why Lift? First, any request to slow, stop, step back, turn or yield has a biomechanical balance element that is better facilitated by an upward action rather than a blocking, pulling backward or downward action.

Upward actions help because the whole aim of schooling in dressage has always been to ‘assist’ the horse in shifting the mass off the forehand and back to the haunches. NOTE: This doesn’t mean pulling in a high position, reversing the neck or holding the horse up. Rein actions should be gentle but precise, as little and light as possible, and short. The aim is the horse lightens the contact, raises the withers at the base of the neck, lightening the forehand enough to perform the task in an improved balance.”

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