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  • Clare Long

Releasing the Inside Rein on a Bending Line

Pertinent information from video:

Releasing the inside rein:

The reason I'm sitting on Legacy for you is because he is really good at showing you how to release the inside rein on a bending line.

You want to release the inside rein a lot when you're on a bending line, to make sure that your horse is in "self carriage"; is carrying himself properly on your outside rein, as you connect your inside leg to your outside rein, and release your inside rein.

And Legacy is really good for showing you how I can supple him, drop my inside rein, and he'll stay in a frame.

The other thing is: always pat your horse with your inside rein.

So you'll see me pat him a lot; I'll release my inside rein and I'll pat him at the same time, so that he's getting the release of the inside rein and he's getting the positive reinforcement and praise for staying on the outside rein.

Remember the outside rein is always your active rein.

The reason that you're always giving with your inside rein is because the outside rein is the supporting rein, And you don't want to drop the supporting rein when you're on a bending line.

If I put Legacy on a bending line, and drop that inside rein, you see he'll pretty much just stay on the bit, and that's the point of this instructional video.

I can wrap him around the inside rein and then if you're using

your inside rein correctly, you can drop it.

And then pet their neck.

You know if your horse is properly on the bit, if you can drop your inside rein for a moment, and they stay on the bit and then they want to stretch down.

You see I'll supple a little to the inside, and of course add a little bit of inside leg.

I take a little bit of inside neck flexion, and then drop that rein.

If I drop the inside rein and his head and neck came up and his back hollowed, it would mean that he's not properly on the bit.

My outside rein (the outside rein is the rein closest to the wall) is steady and stable.

It’s my supporting rein, and it's not really doing anything.

The inside rein can supple and give and then pet your horse's neck.

Now, this is where it gets a little confusing.

Even though I'm doing more with my inside rein, my outside rein is the active rein. Always, on a bending line, on a circle, the outside rein is the active rein, because it is "actively" supporting.

Your inside leg is always the active leg.

You’re "actively" bending around your inside leg.

Your outside rein is always the active rein, that's the supporting rein, even though I'm suppling and giving, the inside rein is still my passive rein.

Sometimes Legacy gets a little heavy on this inside rein.

You’ll see me lift it a little bit.

Supple him off the inside rein, and then release it.

And just keep him steady here on the outside rein.

But the pat works so well.

Because when I pat with the inside rein, I'm dropping it, and he's stretching down.

Is he all the way on my outside rein?


Am I moving him from my inside leg to my outside rein?


And then I can drop the inside rein.

A side note on the Free Rein Walk:

For the free rein walk, you want their ears to be below their withers.

Then you need to get the nose down and out,

and the walk stride needs to get bigger.

So, as you lengthen your reins and you go to the free rein walk, your horse's head and neck should go down toward the ground like this.

Releasing the inside rein in the Canter:

This horse has been trained through 2nd level dressage and so I'm

going to do my canter transitions from the walk.

I'm trying to get him to my outside rein so I can release my inside rein.

Now, when you release the inside rein, your horse is not supposed to get faster.

But see how he's getting faster and faster?

He's not supposed to.

So I'm going to have to work on this a little bit.

But it's perfectly ok, especially because this is only my first canter on him.

Here is a really good rule of thumb for you guys:

If you lengthen your reins, and your horse's head and neck come up,

then they are not properly on the bit.

Something is incorrect in your training.

Any time you give in the reins, the head and neck should go down.

Every time you drop your inside rein, the head and neck should go down.

If you release your reins and the neck comes up, you're doing something wrong and you need to go back to basics.

Let me know if this instruction concept is clear, or if you need more "Clare"ification.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Best, Clare


View more instructional videos on

The Clarity Horse Blog YouTube page here.


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