The all important outside rein? Do you know how to use it effectively to turn, control, and develop your horse?

The outside rein? You know how to turn a horse. You pull the inside rein to draw the horse’s nose and shoulder around, right? Could that be why your horse falls on her forehand?

Imagine you’re riding a wide flexible tube, about the length and width of a horse’s barrel. If you wanted to turn the tube to the right, what would you do?

If you visualize this situation, the best way to turn is to place your left hand on the outside of the tube just in front of your body, hold the tube with your left leg behind your body, and press your right leg against the tube. The tube will bend slightly around your right leg. That bend will allow the tube to glide smoothly to the right, making a graceful arc.

If you turn your horse this way, she won’t fall on her forehand, slow down through the turn, lose her balance, or push her shoulder out as she turns. Instead, your inside leg will gently drive her into your outside hand (like your left hand on the tube) and your outside leg will be slightly behind the girth to prevent her haunches from swinging away (like your left leg on the tube), and your inside leg will allow her spine to bend and her barrel to yield to your leg.

What is your inside hand doing through all of this? Not much. You can turn your horse through every bend with just these aids. The inside rein adds the final polish. By gently squeezing your inside hand, you encourage your horse to soften and flex her jaw. She will remain perfectly balanced as she glides smoothly through the turn (no matter how wide or sharp it is), driving with her inside hind leg toward your outside hand, and remaining on the bit throughout the turn.

Copyright Denise Cummins, PhD

Return to basic horse training from outside rein.
Return to dressage horse training from outside rein.
Return to horse jumping from rein outside.