I’m struggling a bit understanding how to manipulate the reigns with respect to collecting a horse.
Conceptually, I understand the idea of impulsion as it pertains to collection. This is achieved through our legs/seat which create and ultimately drive that impulsion forward into the reign contact. Our hands, through the reigns, “catch” the impulsion and send any of it back to achieve an equilibrium between the hind end and the front end, thus collecting the horse.
I also understand that we’re predominantly concerned with the horse’s jaw and getting them to yield the jaw to facilitate catching the impulsion and achieving the characteristic arch in the neck at the poll. We’re not looking to crank the horses head up/down, sideways, etc. and it’s important to give when we feel the horse give.
If I’m wrong about any of the above, please let me know. I know there is more to it but I’m running through what’s going on in my head whilst writing this
This is now where my confusion begins. What on earth are our hands doing to accommodate all of this?
Many books I’ve read profess that all reign manipulation is through the fingers: a tighter grip with the fingers to increase reign contact or an opening of the fingers to ease up on the reigns.
Previous (very bad) trainers advocated breaking at the wrist or seesawing the horses head back and forth to get them on the bit.
More current people I’ve spoken to indicate that the motion is through the arms, not so much the hands. I’m having a bit of an issue with this because my arm, as it pertains to reigns and in keeping my elbows close to my side, really only functions in one plane which is backwards and forwards. Too much of this can be perceived as pulling back on the reigns which causes the horse to slow down.
So here I am asking for some clarity and advice on this. I know this is probably a simple question to a complex and lengthy topic and I also know that sometimes one reign/arm/hand is doing one thing while the other is doing something else, further complicating the matter. But I’m open to any thoughts, ideas, explanations, etc.