Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eff my life - outside rein? Feedback please!

So this weekend I audited a Bernie Traurig clinic.  I listened, I learned, I froze my ass off.

Arena envy is a real thing

What did I learn:
- Use the softest bit in the world and only work up from that if you need to (DUH!  Who doesn't know this?  I saw him swap out countless harsh bits for less severe ones.)
- If a horse can warm up long and low, awesome.  If not - don't stress out about it.  Just let him loosen up without forcing a frame.  (This was a good thing to hear as that's what I've been doing with Gav.)
- Fancy horses don't necessarily equal clinic favorites.  It was allll about the rider.  His favorite pair was a 13 year old girl riding what had to be a welsh pony.
- Know your strides (I would be chopped liver in these clinics)
- Inside leg to outside rein is (and I quote) a VIRUS infecting the thought process of all riders.

Wait... what?  Let's expand on this last point.  Basically he said that the inside-leg-to-outside-rein mantra was created by George Morris to keep riders from overbending their horses.  The problem with it, is that people have oversimplified and bastardized it.  People are now riding too much with only one leg and one rein.  Ridiculous (says Bernie)!  We have two hands and two legs and we should use everything we have for effective riding.  He said that to push a horse out on a circle, you should shift both your inside and outside rein further to the outside (basically, inside rein against the neck, and outside rein out away from the horse's neck).  Think of the motion of the horse like a river.  The river flows between your two hands and two legs.  If you move both hands to the outside you are displacing the motion and moving their shoulders out (shoulders move out, body will follow) and with the inside rein against the neck you will create slight bend to the inside (bend through the neck, not necessarily through the body - body bending requires human leg action). 

Okay.  So I get all of that.  And I decided to try it on Gav.  It went really well, and seemed to get rid of some of our shoulder bulging, corner cutting issues.

So umm... here's where it gets embarrassing and sorta feeds into Viva Carlos' blog hop about being young, stupid, and believing anything.  I think I've had outside rein wrong my whole riding career.  I've always assumed that when a trainer says outside rein, what they mean is exert backwards pressure on the outside rein (aka - pull back slightly on the outside rein).  I don't know where I got that - I've just always thought it and this action has NEVER been corrected by a trainer.  Now I'm wondering if what outside rein has always meant was outside rein to the OUTSIDE (outward motion NOT backwards motion).  Anyone?  Anyone?.... Bueller?...

Please tell me someone has some thoughts on this!  I'm fascinated!  I feel like I'm having an AHA moment mixed with a Wow-I'm-Stupid moment!

My new favorite thing is Gavin's new SmartPak halter/Graycodesigns lead rope combo