Lean, lean, lean.

I know I've already posted about Sunday's ride but I was thinking about a new habit of mine. That started like, Sunday, actually. I started open reining as opposed to neck reining because when I neck rein, I tend to jerk them up too high. So, when I open rein, I'm able to keep them as tight as I need them-without Red's hack jabbing him of course!-and keep them lower, like this:

Open reining isn't quite as popular in Western than in English, but it works better for us and in turn, Red responds much better. It also helped me sit the trot a bit better, I had more of a handle on him so I could stop him quicker, slow him down easier and etc, while when I neck reined, I kept having to gather my reins.

Anyways, my habit. Yeah. I lean back. Not just when I'm stopping him, but when we're moving into a canter or a really fast paced trot-although if I'm honest, all Red has is a fast paced trot-I kind of look like this;


And while it helps me keep my seat a bit better, I can't decide if this is a bad bad bad thing for my EQ-ya know, take some bad out, put some bad back in-or if this may help me. I mean, I'm not in the show ring(yet) just on the trails, but I don't want any bad habits. Nope nope nope! If I ever end up showing, I don't want to have to say, "nope, doing this wrong, gotta quit, gotta quit that, gotta quit that" until I end up having to change my whole riding EQ and more. I typically only leaned fairly far back when I was either stopping or trying to slow. I don't do it at a walk or just a trot, but I do it a bit when I work into a canter-by the way, his canter feels like he's bucking. No joke. Anywho, I sit forward when going up steep hills, going over a small log or something on the trails which he tends to *hop* over. But not sure on this new habit...Any tips???


  1. Generally, the goal is to always stay in the horse's center of balance -- leaning too far forward or too far backward -- is not ideal. I know it seems intuitive to lean backwards, especially when transitioning down, but it helps me to think about sinking my weight down into my heels instead. This helps me maintain my balance and allow my hands to begin to work independently of my seat.

    Hope that helps a bit!

  2. Looking back on old pictures, I saw that I used to do that too, My horse would be in a canter, and I'd practically be laying on her butt. Well, not that excessive, but close. What I did to correct it/help it, was to lean forward more when working into a canter, or grab onto your saddle horn. Hope this helps! :)

  3. See, I have the opposite problem, I don't lean back enough for dressage. I think a little behind the vertical is okay though, especially for what you're doing. When I did western, it was all about sitting up straight- which to do, you feel like you're leaning back a little. I'd have to see pictures of you to see for sure! And in my opinion, whatever that's worth, there is no true 'good' 'neck-reining.' Like, either you neck rein and you look like an idiot doing it because to get any response you HAVE to put your hand all over the place, or, you start with an opening rein, while simultaneously using pressure from the outside rein and outside leg- letting your horse learn to move off of your leg. Then, for western pleasure etc., you one-hand rein- but really, you're not using your reins much at all. It's 98% leg cues. By the time you're riding them one handed in the ring, you really should be able to ride without reins at all. That's why in the baby classes, they can have two hands.

    Like I said, just my humble opinion. I think the point was, don't feel bad about your hands being high- that's basically the only way to get a reaction, until you teach him to move off of your leg and combine that cue with the rein :)