Deciphering Inside Leg to Outside Rein

Photo by Barbara Olsen on

By Real Riderz

What the hell is it?

Simply put: it’s when your horse feels more on the outside rein and is bent to the inside. But why? Why not ride with outside leg to inside hand? Well, you still need to use your inside hand and outside leg, but more for guiding purposes.

Think showing your horse where to go. The outside leg keeps the horse on the turn by turning the hind end and keeping it from swinging out. Your inside hand literally shows your horse where you want to go (along with your seat and eyes, but thats a subject for a later post). Think of it sort of like pointing. Remeber, we want to make things as obvious as possible for the horse.

So why is the outside hand the chose one? No, it has nothing to do with the wall. Truth is you could think of it as inside hand to outside leg, but when you are on the wall, the “true” bend is to the inside. To be on the bend the horse has to curve the body, including the neck, which esentially inflates the outside rein. The inside leg creates the bend in the body with a slight push. As you may have already noticed, most horses start to track up (hind hooves fall into footsteps of front hooves and maybe even beyond) when put on a circle with these aids. This is the start of the concept of being through and on the bit.

Common mistakes

We don’t want to disturb the horse’s motion by putting too much bend in the neck (often done with too much inside rein). This is why the outside rein is the main operational rein for things like half halts and general speed control). Think of it this way: if you try to do too much with the inside hand, your horse will likely start to turn in that direction or just simply be put off balance.

So how is it done?

The concept is mostly feel. You will find that horses naturally fall in/out one side or another, so some sides will take more effort than others. The most basic intro to this concept for both horse and rider is a simple shoulder fore and then shoulder in. Circles also help. Attention to detail is required, but with more practice it becomes muscle memory.

Things to note

Some horses may refuse to step into the outside rein due to pain or other issues (think tack, injury, anxiety, etc.) It is most helpful to have video/ground people available to notice your mistakes. The concept is simple but requires attention to details. Simply putting inside leg on and tightening the outside hand will more than likely not help if you do not already have a balance, independent seat (article on that is coming soon!) However, knowledge of concepts like these will keep you sharp and keep you knowledegable for the future, even if you cannot apply them yet!

Good luck with your riding!

Published by realriderz

Many equestrians coming together to make our horses' (and our own) voices heard

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