Last Updated on January 4, 2023
If you’re new to the world of horse training, you may be wondering what a rein used to train a horse is called. The array of tack and equipment available for training horses can be overwhelming, and it is vital that you make the right choice for you and your horse! Let’s take a look at the best option of a rein used to train a horse, and find out some fascinating reining facts!
What Is The Rein Used To Train A Horse Called?
There are many different types of training reins for horses, and the type you use will depend on the training level you and your horse as well as the type of equestrian discipline you participate in. Selecting the most suitable rein to train a horse will help you and your horse get the most out of your training session, developing new skills and solving ongoing problems.
The word rein is used to describe a piece of tack that normally connects the hands of the rider or trainer to the head of the horse. The point of connection on the head is normally the bit rings, or alternatively the shanks of a bitless bridle. Some specialist types of reins also connect to other points such as the saddle or girth.
The purpose of reins is to allow the rider or trainer to communicate with the horse. They can be used to indicate to the horse when to slow their pace, stop, or turn. In advanced riding such as dressage, subtle signals via the reins will tell the horse to shorten or lengthen its stride or carry out intricate leg and body movements.
The reins should never be used with force, as they connect to the horse’s sensitive mouth. The rider or trainer should not need to pull on the reins – they are used to send a signal, rather than force a horse to do something. Overly brutal use of the reins can result in damage to the horse’s mouth and severe behavioral problems as a result of pain.
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How Are Horses Trained Using Reins?
Working a horse with reins normally starts as part of breaking a horse to ride. The horse will first be trained to accept wearing a saddle and bridle, then long reins will be used to introduce the horse to basic commands and aids.
Long reins attach to each side of the bridle, then pass through a loop on the saddle or cinch, and the handler holds the ends of the reins behind or to the side of the horse. The handler can then combine voice commands with signals via the reins to help the horse learn the basic aids. The advantage to this is that when the horse is backed it will already understand the commands sent through the reins.
When a horse is ridden, the way the reins are used will depend on whether it is ridden in the English or Western style. English riding involves holding a rein in each hand, enabling each rein to be used independently – this is called direct reining. Western riders hold both reins in one hand, and turn the horse by neck reining.
What Is The Purpose Of Reining Horses?
Reining is a style of riding associated with Western riding. This technique involves holding both reins in one hand, with a loose contact with the horse’s mouth. The horse is trained to react quickly to pressure from the reins on either side of the neck, turning and spinning quickly.
The purpose of reining horses is to train horses to be incredibly responsive when herding cattle out on the ranch. This technique also enabled the rider to control the horse with just one hand, freeing up the other hand for roping cattle or opening gates.
Nowadays, reining is a sport in itself, where the horse and rider perform a series of fast and complex movements within an arena. Watching a reining professional is an inspiring experience, as they appear to control and direct the horse with the bare minimum of signals.
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How To Train A Horse To Neck Rein
Even if you don’t use your horse to herd cattle, neck reining can be a useful skill to learn. Controlling your horse with just one hand can be invaluable when it comes to opening gates or leading another horse from your saddle.
Horses can be trained to both direct rein and neck rein, and do not tend to become confused between the two techniques. To train a horse to neck rein, start in an enclosed arena and try some simple movements at walk. It is helpful if your horse already responds to leg aids asking it to bend and turn when starting out with neck reining.
Keep the reins loose, with minimal contact with the bit, and hold the reins in your non-dominant hand. To turn left, move your hand to the left so the rein applies pressure on the right side of the horse’s neck. At the same time, apply gentle pressure with your left leg to encourage the horse to bend around your leg.
As soon as the horse has turn, move your hand back to a central position and release the pressure from your leg. To turn right, switch the aids around so you move your hand to the right and apply pressure with your right leg.
Summary – Rein Used To Train A Horse
So, as we have learned, the type of rein used to train a horse will depend on the experience level and training needs of you and your horse. Young horses are trained in basic groundwork and aids using long reins, where the handler guides the horse from the ground using two long lines attached to a bridle. English riding techniques commonly use direct reining, holding a rein in each hand to steer the horse. In Western riding styles, many riders use a steering technique called neck reining, where the reins are held loosely in one hand.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the types of rein used to train a horse! Are you a fan of using side reins or running reins to improve your horse’s outline and movement? Or perhaps you’re struggling to get the hang of working your young horse in long reins? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you!
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE