Dressage question


New Member
Apr 14, 2000
Cambridge, UK
A friend and I went to watch some riding club dressage competitions at a yard near us. In the (relatively) more advanced tests, where people were being asked to show lengthened strides and collected trot, there was this thing in canter where they had to give and retake the reins at a certain spot. Can anyone tell me what this is for? Is it to show that the horse doesn't mind if you drop the contact for a moment? It looked very odd when people were doing it!



Jan 13, 1999
Taunton, Somerset, England
Give and retake the reins


You are asked to give and retake the reins when cantering to show that you are not holding the horse back with the reins and that the horse is starting to carry itself. When the reins are given, the horse should not change its pace or raise its head. It the horse bombs off or raises its nose, it is obvious that the rider was really having to haul on the mouth to try to keep the horse controlled - ie was riding badly.

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