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The constant contact

REF HANB1, constant contact, rider's aids, Intermédiaire

To encourage good communication, the horse needs permanent contact. This means a presence that is reassuring, that is a starting point for the horse to remain receptive to its rider’s requests.

Contact with the mouth must also be established through supple fingers and with the arm joints free of all useless tension. The horse is sensitive to the slightest rigidity, the smallest tension… his confidence in the rider’s hands is extremely fragile. It must be safeguarded at all costs, and above all… be aware of the natural reflex that leads one to hang on to the reins and move the hands back towards oneself.
The rider must, on the contrary, move his hands forward without changing his seat and this must occur whatever movements the horse’s neck may make while jumping, extending the canter… or each time the horse needs to relax after working in a “fixed” position.
To keep constant contact, imagine that you are riding with elastic reins allowing variations in tension to be eliminated. In reality, your arms will act as ‘shock-absorbers’ by moving forward.
You can also imagine that the bit is linked to the ends of your reins with nothing else keeping it in place… no cheek pieces, only the light and soft contact you establish with the horse’s mouth. If you lose contact, the bit will fall out of the horse’s mouth… and communication with the horse is interrupted.

3 min 50