Rekindling My Relationship With The Outside Rein

I read a lot of theory-based dressage articles and blog posts, I love learning about riding and training, and I'd say I'm a fairly educated rider overall. Unfortunately, all the reading in the world doesn't necessarily translate to being able to do things correctly in the saddle!

After riding with my friend the other day, I hopped on Dino after work on Thursday night to see how he felt after his tune-up and jump around a little bit. The feel of having Windows truly connected in the outside rein was burned into my brain, and I wanted to see if I could re-create that on my own pony.

You guys.

Inside leg to outside rein.


I am AMAZED at the work I have been able to get from this pony riding him LITERALLY BACKWARDS.


Not from me doing weird things with my inside hand, but from putting my inside leg on right behind his little elbow. Inside hip forward and outside leg back helps, too.

All those times in the dressage court when Dino marched in there and then got stupid crooked and stiff? And I tried to fix it with my inside rein?

Yeah, inside LEG would have remedied that nicely.

You know what gets him through and connected SUPER fast? Taking a nice strong contact with that outside rein. Add inside leg, lo and behold, I don't need to hold onto the bend with the inside rein! Everything is going to be so much easier now that I understand this. So much easier.

Suffice it to say that Dino flatted AWESOME yesterday evening! I was focusing my hardest on keeping my outside elbow connected to my hip, the inside rein soft, inside leg forward at the girth and asking for bend with my legs and seat before I even touched the inside rein. The result was nothing short of wonderful. I didn't have to finagle around for 45 minutes to get Dino connected, he was just THERE. And when he came apart a bit, all I needed was to push him back into the contact with my inside leg and he sorted himself right out. It was SO HARD to not ride off of the inside rein, but things worked out so much better when I resisted the temptation!

I feel like a total idiot, but also so excited about understanding this super-basic concept better than I did before.

After flatting around feeling like Laura Graves, I jumped a little bit to give Dino's brain and body a break from all of the hardcore dressaging.

He was absolutely great! There were a few times where I forgot to really ride his hind legs to the jumps and just sort of chilled out there like a passenger, resulting in some longer distances than I wanted. But when I remembered to ride the jumping canter like my trainer told me to - seat in the saddle, hip angle closed, turning with my outside aids - the distances came up absolutely perfectly! Dino was jumping INCREDIBLY over everything, cracking his back and coming way up with his withers and shoulders. I worked a bit over an oxer with a placing pole set in front for a nice tight distance, and while I was nervous about finding the right spot the first time over, I made the leap of faith to trust Dino to get it done, and he did. Our subsequent efforts over the oxer were flawless! I also worked on the three-stride downhill line, working on keeping up a good canter continuing down the hill, and then making a rollback turn to jump a vertical uphill instead of being a weenie and pulling up after the line. After getting through it the first time and realizing I wouldn't die, we rocked it every time. The confidence I've gained this year is so exciting!

It's still many months away, but I can't wait to come back out with guns blazing next season!


  1. i love that feeling when a concept we've heard over and over again suddenly *clicks* - and only wished it happened more often for me lol

  2. Love when things click into place. I am currently trying to Break up with my left rein.


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