Improve your Hands: 3 Tips for a Better Contact

Finding a steady and soft contact with the horse’s mouth and keeping your hands quiet is one of the most difficult things in riding! Here are some tips to help…

  1. Find the correct hand and arm position – It is very important to have a straight line from your elbow to the horses’ mouth. Imagine that you have a very long forearm and you can actually hold the bit with your hand. This will help you to keep the straight line from your elbow to the horses’ mouth.  Some of the common mistakes to avoid: (1) riders tend to ride either with their hands too high or with a straight elbow and their hands too low. (2) Indirect rein aids where the rider crosses the rein over the horses’ neck to turn are also incorrect.  Often riders use an indirect rein aid instead of using the leg to make the horse straight. (3) Riding with “piano. hands” or rotating the palms upward is also incorrect as this causes the forearm to be stiff. Make sure that your thumbs are up and your palms face each other
  2. Follow with your elbows – at the walk and the canter, the horse has a nod in their head.  Your elbows must follow this nodding motion in order to establish a steady contact and not hitting the horse in the mouth. It is essential to have the correct arm position in order to follow with the elbow. 
  3. “No seat, no hands” – Improve your seat to improve your hands – if you are having trouble with your hands, it is probably because your seat is not good enough!! Unsteady hands that bounce is often related to a seat that does not correctly follow the motion of the horses’ back.   Focus more on your seat and on lowering your center of gravity and you will find it helps your hands!!

What is your biggest issue with your hands? Comment and let me know! Maybe I can help!

Happy Riding! 



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