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How to teach a young horse to rein back

Rein-back, dressage, young horse, Rider’s position, flat work, REF HA71, training of a young horse

According to Michel, it is essential that horses know how to rein-back. It is a good suppleness exercise which gives the horse awareness of his whole body and particularly his hind quarter. Frequently horses have a hard time to connect their front end to their hind end. It is even truer with young horses who focus more on their front end that their hind end. The rein-back is a good solution to solve this issue as it asks the horse to use the hind-leg joints while increasing the energy flow along the horse’s spine. Therefore, the rein-back is an excellent exercise to improve the horse’s pushing power and the suppleness of his back.

However, the rein-back will only benefit your horse if it is correctly performed. Unfortunately, too many riders force the rein-back by leaning back and pulling on their horse’s mouth, and this is counter-productive.

In this lesson, Michel demonstrates the ideal rider’s position as well as the different steps of teaching the rein-back, keeping in mind, of course, the horse’s wellness. For this session, Michel chose to ride Bounty, a young mare, a four-year-old who was started under saddle only a few weeks ago.

It’s the first time for Michel on this mare and today’s training goal is to help her understand the rein-back movement starting first on the ground and then under saddle. Once again, we can see how Michel’s training method brings fast results but insures that the mare remains calm and understands the exercise.

15 min