One on one help and advice for you and your horse!
Are You Softening the Rein Correctly?
Does your horse maintain his balance and self carriage every time you soften the reins? Or does he sometimes become hollow, strung out, or heavy on the forehand? If you lose any of the quality of the horse's movement or carriage when you soften the reins, it usually means one of two things - either you were holding the horse together too much with the reins (meaning your connection was not correct), or you didn't soften correctly. It seems it should be such an easy thing to do... how can you soften the rein incorrectly?? Well, there are some things you can mistakenly do when giving the rein, that would be unfortunately setting you up to fail.
First of all, why should you soften the reins? Softening the reins is both a test, and a way to increase the harmony in your ride. Throughout your work, you should frequently give one or both reins to check for self carriage, and to allow your horse the freedom to really relax and come through over his back. The more often you are able to give the rein, the more brilliance your horse will show in his work. So, now on to how to soften correctly!