Q: Why should you not turn with the inside rein?
A: When starting out with this funny thing called horse riding, every instructor worth their salt will tell you ‘not to turn with the inside rein’. In fact, the idiom ‘inside leg to outside rein’ will soon be something you’ll find yourself chanting in your sleep.
And yet, starting out in the sport many of us will be a little confused by all of this. To add to this confusion it is absolutely undeniable that using the inside rein turns our horse. So why on earth is this the ‘wrong’ thing to do? Why would we use our outside rein when we can simply turn our horse like a bike with our inside rein?
The benefits of turning on the outside rein are really all about efficiency and reducing the chance of our horse ‘falling’ completely on the inside shoulder through the turn.
If turning with the inside rein, we turn the head, which ultimately causes the shoulder, then the body, and then the hindquarter to turn after that. Essentially, it’s a bit like turning an articulated lorry – slow and relies on a bit of a hinge effect in the neck/withers junction.
Turning using the outside rein, on the other hand, skips the head/hinge stage and instead turns the shoulder, allowing the body and hindquarter to follow. This, thereby, increases the efficiency of the turning, tightens the turning circle, and keeps the horse more balanced throughout the turn.
If you don’t trust us, try it for yourself and you’ll quickly see that the difference in the smoothness and tightness of the turn you can achieve is quite remarkable when the outside rein gives you your steering, rather than the inside.