Many riders have issues with stiffening their hands and/or turning them flat, which stiffens the wrists, elbows and shoulders, too. Unfortunately, this is a much more “natural” position, one we assume when writing, driving etc. so it can take real effort to do something different when we ride. An easy way of softening your feel and reminding yourself of the correct position is to think that if you relaxed your hands, your thumbs would automatically fall to the outside, fingernails pointing up. It can be useful to do this literally if you are finding you are locking up and getting into a circle of tension with your horse, but even the idea of it will relax the arm. It can be particularly useful if you tend to “hold” at a particular spot on the approach to a fence – replace that moment of tension with an mental reminder to let your thumbs fall out and feel the difference in your connection.
About the author
TarrSteps is a Citizen of the World (aka Canadian) currently working with young horses and "problem solving" - for both horse and riders - in the Surrey area. She has dabbled in most horsey disciplines but loves eventing because there is always another question to ask and another answer to find.