Correct hand position for horse riding

Correct hand position for horse riding is a very common question for any horse riders. Here is an example: I’ve discovered that riding with my hands spread apart helps me wrap my horse’s neck over the bit and secure him. A doctor advised me to maintain my outer hand near to my neck, pointing toward my navel, and my inside hand away from the neck, particularly when turning and circular motions are involved. Where should the hands be positioned optimally?

Correct hand position for horse riding

Finding the proper hand position can be tricky, as each teacher is unique and has unique teaching experiences. Here are a few points that every rider should bear in mind as they work on developing a proper hand posture.

Your entire body must be aligned in order for the hands to attain the proper posture. I like to refer to this posture as a “natural” one because it should not be coerced. Your hands should be an extension of your lower arms, which should be relaxed yet steady, allowing you to feel the horse’s mouth and communicate with him via the rein aids. This is only feasible with closed fingers. To prevent slippage, keep your thumbs slightly curved and softly pulled down on top of the reins, where they pass over the index fingers. Your hands should be held with the knuckles upright and at a height so that when viewed from the side, your forearm, hand, and the horse’s mouth form a straight line.

Each of us is uniquely built. What is simple for one rider may be challenging for another. Riders with longer arms frequently demonstrate greater bend in their arms, while those with shorter arms have less bend. That is okay and even varies according on your upper body length.

A simple approach to check your hand position periodically throughout a ride is to put out both pinky fingers toward your horse’s withers. If your hand posture changes or becomes shaky, it will be difficult to continue reaching for the withers of your horse. Ideally, your hands should be positioned in accordance with the description above. Your hands should be spaced apart according to the thickness of your horse’s neck. However, as viewed from above, the line from your elbow to the horse’s mouth must likewise be straight. Generally, the reins should contact both sides of the horse’s neck softly.

Another critical aspect that assists you in determining if you are carrying your hands appropriately is the posture of your upper arms. Your arms should hang freely from your shoulders and be in close touch with your upper torso. A modest push of your arms against your sides may be necessary to accomplish this. Certain riders may need to thrust their arms forward slightly to keep their elbows from sliding behind their upper torso. This is frequently an indication that the reins are excessively long.

Where should your hands be while riding a horse?

Generally, holding the reins too far apart will obstruct the above-mentioned correct lines and your proper stance. In rare instances, a rider’s hands may spread wide apart as a result of the horse not releasing his topline and swinging in his back. In that circumstance, it will appear as though the only option to maintain control of the horse’s head is to ride with broad, muscular arms. However, this is not proper training; rather, it is a Band-Aid solution to a problem.

Often, we find ourselves riding without eyes on the ground to guide us. Riding in front of a mirror is an excellent opportunity to assess your hands and body position—first in walk, then trot and canter. Another option is to have someone photograph or videotape your ride. By incorporating the right lines into your own image, you may see and practice a more accurate hand posture.

And don’t forget that each of us, even the majority of great riders, teachers, and clinicians, has created our own unique style of horse training and coaching. Generally, the more developed our style is, the more we train and compete. Dressage horses that have been trained to the greatest level are capable of withstanding a great deal of (positive) pressure and energy from the rider in order to perform well.

The more forward a horse goes in his training, the more linked he becomes to your seat and the more trusting he becomes of all of your cues, including the rein aids. To ensure proper engagement on straight lines as well as all bending lines and lateral movements, you can secure the frame or movement by pressing the outside or even inside rein on your horse’s neck.

If the horse has a proper comprehension of his duty and is physically capable, adjusting your hands via various postures or rein lengths should be achievable without interrupting the harmony.