Uneven elasticity of rider's hands
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 09:17 AM
When people use themselves to do a certain task they have their own view of themselves. They think they know how they look from outside, how they move, how much force they apply. The picture in their head can be very far from reality. This is also true when it comes to the sense of evenness, symmetry, applying same amount of force or having same amount of elasticity in right and left sides of human body. Riders genuinely believe they use their reins for similar situations absolutely the same way either with the right hand or left. That they can apply exact half-halts with the left rein as with the right rein if necessary.This is far from truth.
Hands/arms are most likely uneven in their elastic properties and their strength. It comes mostly from our handedness but also can be influenced by injuries and other asymmetries such as tight hip joint, one leg weaker than another, twist in a spine, etc. The hand in response to horse does not actually react as the rider thinks it should. For example, the action of yielding can be done faster or slower, further or shorter yield, quick stop or slowly diminishing the yield, give just in the fingers, or add wrist, elbow, shoulder, the whole side, collapse into the yield, etc. All these different actions can be done without the rider's awareness of them and each hand/arm performs differently. It is extremely hard to see the issue on your own, however, it is quite obvious to a person on the ground. You do not have to have an expert to look at you to tell if you are stronger with one hand over another. Ask someone at the barn or your riding buddy to watch your hands for 5 minutes and he/she will be able to tell you with certainty which hand holds stronger or yields easier.
Also riders can look at their own hands for a brief moment to check how level and even they are. This can help riders determine if they have a hand that likes to hold on to the rein. The hand will be further back, especially, when on inside. Usually, while going other way hands look more even. This "holding hand" does it to overcome the balance issue of the whole body. Sometimes riders cannot even apply outside/inside leg without grabbing the rein with their "holding hand". The other hand is a "giving hand", this hand will be more forward when on outside and usually the whole side of the rider's body gives a bit forward. Looking at a horse of such rider can tell which hand does what. The horse will be "molding" itself to rider's strength and weakness patterns. A horse can reverse it's natural convex/concave side tendencies under saddle if ridden for a long period of time by a rider with opposite strength patterns.
Next time you are riding, check if you have this issue with hands and may be it will answer some of your questions, like: "Why my horse is always stiff on this rein and soft on the other?" It may be not your horse's fault but yours...
Happy riding...
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