Dressage rein bridge

As I am getting back into riding I have noticed my hands go off into different directions and sometimes/often not even so I have been using a rein bridge to help retrain my hand position.
I hold my rein between my baby and ring finger then over my pointer with my thumbs on top.
Where should the rein bridge be held? It seems easiest to hold the tail of the rein going down into the opposite hand, that way I can hold it with my thumb and it doesn’t interfere with my taking finger.
Is that correct or does it matter?
Thank you,

I saw a thing about someone using a bit, helped by the ring finger in each hand, to reset muscle memory of even hands, I might try this one.


I’m with KBC, I don’t think bridging is going to fix your issue. Are you working with a coach? One trick I use (and yes, I was doing this before I read that Carl Hester uses it too!) is to hold a child’s sippy cup with both hands, and your rein in each hand. The trick is to ride without the cup EVER touching the horse. You should still be able to half halt, turn, and do other elements with your reins. But you can’t let it go and you can’t drop the cup. (Unless your horse does something naughty.)


Bridging can be great if you have uneven or loud hands. Bridging will limit the width between hands, how much you pull back on one rein, and it can encourage you to stop choking up on one or both reins if that’s a problem. You can run the tail of each rein to the other hand under the thumb which will create a “bridge” with the reins.

If that seems a bit much, you can also take a whip and hold it horizontally under both thumbs. Using a whip will stabilize your hand position and keep your thumbs on top. It has the same effects as bridging but I think it’s a little better because you can’t rotate your wrist and create puppy paws.

Another trick is to take some twine or a rein (or whatever) and wrap it under the neck and hold the ends on both hands. This will stabilize the hands and prevent pulling back as well.

I have heard of holding a cup in your hands, my only apprehension is that doing so can create a lot of tension in the wrist and forearm as your hand has to grip the object. The reason for holding the rein as we do with thumbs on top, etc., is that it relaxes the forearms while still being able to grip the rein. The cup can be great for making your seat quieter and developing balance as you move with the movement of the horse, but not sure I’d use it to correct the hands.

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Do you guys have Feldenkrais practitioners in the States?
One of my instructors used small feldenkrais balls to help me when I got a wayward right hand - I had to hold the balls to my torso with my upper arms - If I started waving my hands around I’d drop them.
Took some getting used to, but it really did help


This is how I was taught! You can also use a whip (or short jumping bat, which may be easier), a flash nose band, a piece of baling twine, etc. between your hands. Other ideas are to hook your pinkies into the saddle pad billet keepers or the good old fashioned grab strap.

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I have used a whip years ago, prefer the rein idea, don’t want anything extra in my hands with this mare, she has learned big spooks as an evasion before I got her.

I’m in Canada, cool idea, will try it. thanks

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Something similar to that - I use an exercise band around my elbows (aka both arms are inside the band) helps keep elbows in and quiet the hands. And if your horse spooks both hands can function as normal.

A set of exercise bands are I think $15 on Amazon (I am also in Canada) and I use the medium band.


I call these my handcuffs :smiley: I think mine are 10" bands. I have a tendency to bring my hand in towards the withers when I shouldn’t, so the band tells on me by going slack. I read an article recommending 8" bands, but that seems really narrow, and I would probably only try that on a very schooled horse.

Haven’t used it in awhile, need to get back at it.

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I have an exercise band, will try that out, thanks.