Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Right Hand Woes

right hand
I'm right handed.

I have a problem.

It's called my right hand.

See, it has this weird reflex where it just likes to grab and clamp down no matter what I'm doing. I guess that would be less of a thing if I rode some giant lumbering horse that just blew through my hands, but I ride this tiny and sensitive thoroughbred who loves to WAY overreact to the right rein.

You think I'm joking?

more right hand
Yeah. Just look at the photo evidence. In the above pic and this one, my hands aren't completely terrible, but my right hand hasn't completely released.

I mean, in this one, my hand is even forward doing a crest release on his bloody neck and it's STILL NOT ENOUGH.

For reference, I came up through the junior ranks on a dirty stopper, then greenies, and then did eventing, so a defensive position with minimal release is my shiz. I've never been the prop and pose and throw away the reins type, because on a dirty stopper, that will get you dumped every single time.

I could post this picture all day. All. Damn. Day.
Then look at this picture. It's in the middle of a very challenging lesson. I kept just barely catching Courage with that right rein of mine and he was practically jumping sideways because of it. S finally got me to just do a total throwaway release on the right side and OMG look who jumps straight and round.

So to me, the world's most defensive rider, this picture actually looks like I'm a little more forward than I ought to be, but obviously, to Courage, this feels 100% right.


That's all well and good, but we haven't jumped since October (srsly dying here). I always thought that my right rein issues over fences were sort of a reflex due to me being a little tense and didn't anticipate having problems on the flat.

Silly, silly me.

Did you know that if your horse falls left while leaning on the right rein, pulling on the right rein only exacerbates the problem? Yeah, well, now I know that too, ok?

Courage has been going brilliantly to the left (srsly we win at right rein contact), but it's all been falling apart to the right.

see I give the left rein just fine
Until one day I was dinking around at the walk. Courage was falling out his left shoulder. I raised my outside (left) hand to block it and immediately got crooked... so I added outside leg a little behind the girth to keep him straight. That forced me to use my inside leg to get him to bend around and then when I completely gave up my inside rein...

Guess who went right like a total champ?


Sooooo. Yeah. We're not jumping until Courage gets his shoes back on, but I'm really excited to see how all this dressage cross applies over fences, both in his way of going and my understanding of the aids.


  1. Dressage inspired jumping is the best. You're going to love it!

  2. I'll trade you big, ridiculous hunter releases for your amazing hip angle over fences. Sound fair? LOL

  3. It is interesting how having a "bad" side can really mess up our riding to fences and over them!

  4. I tend to hold my outside hand higher on the flat, which is really confusing. So weird.

  5. The best defense is a good offense! Or is that the best offense is a good defense? You can sing that "let it go' Frozen song that everyone is obsessed with too.

    1. You mean the battle cry of the suburban mom? Ha.

  6. I think that jumping is going to be totally kick ass after this winter of dressage!

  7. The hollow rein will be your friend is overcoming that right rein!

  8. Dressage fixes all the things. ;) Also, your right hand and mine need to get together and talk things out. They just need to let it go, you know?

  9. yea... my right hand has somehow cast a hex on my mare and now she leans on it constantly.... the struggle is real!

  10. Hmmmm this is interesting. My horse falls right leaning on the left rein (or right rein, or whenever he feels like it), but I'm also right handed (but in my case my right hand is more inclined to give). I'm trying this tomorrow. We will see, we will see.

  11. Great post, I think a lot of us right handed people have this problem!

  12. That picture is so freaking amazing!!! I would be over the moon if I had such an awesome picture of me riding my horse. :-D I love how you're figuring all of this out. Giving the inside rein is definitely helpful. Keep up the great work!


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