Sometimes something apparently minor that we do in the saddle without even thinking, and without being corrected, is quite unhelpful. Years ago I had a top dressage trainer who would always pick me up on the fact that I would sometimes ‘walk’ my fingers up the right rein to shorten it, rather than using the fingers of my left hand to stabilise it as I ran my right hand up it to the new place.
He was adamant that although my left hand contact was staying the same on that rein, the totally intermittent contact on the other rein when I ‘walked’ my fingers up the rein was not helpful at all to the horse, giving it a totally bewildering signal.
It’s something I still remember now when that old, bad, habit tries to reassert itself. I must always use the fingers of the other hand to stabilise the contact.
Here’s Joy Dawes in action at Burghley, just after jumping down the Leaf Pit drop and over the skinny, about to shorten her reins the right way, of course!
Photo by kind permission of Will Baxter.