Give and Retake of the Reins

Tuesday’s Tip!

Another from the list of things to improve your dressage score.

Give and retake of the reins.

This is an easy one to get right, but only if you know what to do in the first place!
Lots of riders thrust hands forwards or up and forwards. This is not what you want to do. This allows for no give in the reins – you want there to be a loop in the reins between bit and hand. It is a test of self carriage – the horse should show no difference during the give or the retake.
What you want to do is ensure your elbows are soft and at your side, then over about three strides gently push your hand and arm down towards the bit, pause, then gently bring the hand and arm back so that your elbows are soft and bent at your side once more. This will give you the loop in the reins and the gentle give and take gives your horse the best chance to stay in self carriage.

Be careful that your position isn’t negatively affected – no tipping forwards! Your arm will straighten during the give, so you need to have a soft bent elbow to start with otherwise you have nowhere to move your arm from.

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