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by Downunder Horsemanship

One Rein Stops Work Only if They’re Second Nature to You and Your Horse

When the unexpected occurs on the trail with your horse, a One Rein Stop – sliding your hand down one rein and flexing the horse’s head so that he stops moving his feet – is your emergency brake. However, it only works if you practice it and it becomes an ingrained habit for you and your horse.

“To be effective, a One Rein Stop needs to become second nature to your horse, but it has to be an ingrained habit for you as well. If something jumps out onto the trail and scares your horse, and it takes you 10 seconds to slide your hand down the rein to do a One Rein Stop, you’re already going to be on the ground,” Clinton says.

When you sit down in the saddle and slide one hand down the rein, your horse should immediately stop. “If you fumble for the rein or your horse braces against the pressure, it won’t work. When you’re in a high-pressure situation – i.e. one in which the horse is scared – it has to be an ingrained habit, or there’s no guarantee it’ll work.

You need to practice doing One Rein Stops so much so that when you pick up on one rein your horse thinks the world ends. It doesn’t matter if there are cattle up ahead, if there’s a motorbike racing past or if there’s a kid screaming in a stroller. When you pick up on the rein, your horse stops now. Period,” Clinton says.

Learn how to teach your horse to do a One Rein Stop in the Fundamentals Series. Not only does Clinton give you step-by-step instructions on how to teach the exercise, but he also goes over common horse problems and rider mistakes as well as offers troubleshooting advice and success tips to get the most out of the lesson.