Hand Aids

Welcome to the second blog in the E Equine tips for training series.  Starting at the beginning and following on from the last blog are talking about the hand aids.  

The hands should be viewed as supplementary and complimentary to the seat and leg aids. They are responsible for: 

  • Containing and directing the impulsion created by the rider’s leg and seat 
  • Speed control 
  • Together with the other aids ask for bend  
  • Asks for flexion 
  • Together with the legs and seat administer the half halt to rebalance the horse and prepare him for movements 


Application of the hands 

People find it helpful to think of the reins not just connected to the horse’s mouth but a direct connection to the horse’s brain. However their use has a huge effect on the horse’s mental and physical attitude. This is why a horse can be ruined within a few minutes of bad riding. However,  horses being highly sensitive can easily and quickly become fearful and resentful of harsh riding, particularly when it involves the hands. 

The hands should: 

  • Never pull backwards 
  • Remain still in relation to the movement of the horse and act totally independently of the rest of the riders body 
  • They should maintain a consistent, sympathetic but elastic contact with the bit. It should be noted that a horse can lose his sense of security and communication if ridden without a contact or an inconsistent rein 

The inside hand asks for bend and flexion together with the leg aids. However the hand does not say turn and it does not steer. It supports the leg/seat/weight aids and invites the horse to soften his jaw and flex. The outside hand controls the amount of bend, impulsion and helps the horse to balance. Used together as a symmetrical pair, the hands keep the horse straight.  


Next blog we will continue to discuss the use of our natural aids and move on to the seat and weight aids.


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