USING YOUR OUTSIDE REIN
Don’t be concerned with controlling the horse with the reins. ESTABLISH FORWARD FIRST! When you are establishing “forward” in the horse, the only rein you usually need is an opening rein. Remember, you will be riding circles (page 79, Forward: Riding with Eloise King) for the most part when you start your mounted work or you will be using the arena wall or fence (page 82) as a soft aid. You should not need an outside rein in the initial stages of training or retraining the horse.
Some people say that you need to support the outside shoulder with that outside rein. But when you think about it, losing that outside shoulder generally comes about when you do not have forward established in the horse and/or are over-aiding him. Go back to your basics; forward, check your position, etc., until the horse is strong and supple enough that the outside rein is no longer a blocking aid and becomes the soft aid that it should be. Using the outside rein starts when you begin two-track work — haunches-in, half-pass.
If you ever feel that you have lost control of the horse and think you need that outside rein, go back to your circle. Twist your shoulders in the direction you want to turn, use an opening rein to that side and step into the inside stirrup. Stay balanced on top of the horse and relax (especially your legs). Certain school figures can help, too, such as the circle described on page 80. Breathe and you will soon be enjoying the ride.