Holding the Reins Correctly
Before you ride, you've got to know how to hold the reins.  The first three fingers of each hand
(starting with the index finger, not the thumb) go over the reins, and the reins come our between
the third and fourth (or little) finger.  Later in the book, you'll learn more about how to use your
hands, but for now just gently close your fingers around the reins.  Don't use a death grip.  Your
hands should be relaxed.
Keep both thumbs up, pressing against the reins and your forefingers.  The fingernails on each
hand should face each other, about four inches apart.  Hold your hands about two inches above
the horse's
withers (the ridge between the shoulder bones).
Avoid slack reins, but don't hold them so tightly that they pull back on the horse.  Keep steady
contact between your hands and the horse's mouth; through the reins, the horse's mouth should
feel elastic.
To hold the reins correctly, position your first three fingers over the
reins and the fourth under it.
Woodland Horse Center
16301 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905
301-421-9156          fax: 301-421-9049