Good riding means constant communication between horse and rider. As well as weight and leg aids, the rein aids are means of communication between both creatures. These signals can be complemented by the rider´s voice. Rein aids support the forward driving aids and are always used in interaction with these.
The beginner in equestrian sports and Optihand Basis
Mistakes in using/controlling the reins have a great effect on the quality of riding and unfortunately originate during the first riding lessons.
Most riders start with lessons on the lunge. This way the beginner can get used to new motion situations and learn the correct seat without simultaneously having to control the speed and direction of the horse. In their first lunge lessons pupils mostly struggle with the energetic movement of the horse and are occupied with not losing their balance or even falling off. In order to master these first seat exercises without fear, most beginning riders hold on with their hands as long as they are very insecure. The traditional method is to hold onto the saddle strap. But this has a great disadvantage: the position of the saddle strap causes hands held very low facing downwards with outstretched arms and results in a tendency of rounded back and “chair seat”.
All these problems lapse when using Optihand Basis. The novice rider can hold onto a stabile “handle”, which is attached to the saddle with two straps over the pommel. The rider can stabilize himself as long as necessary and from the very beginning gets used to the correct hand position and posture. The fists are directly in the right position, the rider can sit in an upright position with angled elbows. The straps can be lengthened as training progresses until the rider can sit securely at all paces without grab handle.
The advanced rider and Optihand Evolution
Advanced riders usually do not have problems with keeping balance. At this stage it becomes more important to work on the seat and good communication between rider and horse. A very important aspect is the hand and arm position, in order to give correct and sensitive rein aids.
The rein should only supplement weight and leg aids, but, being very hand-oriented creatures, riders often use their reins much too vigorously. This problem can be found at any level of training. It is very uncomfortable, even painful for the horse with its sensitive head and mouth if the rider gives impulses that are too strong, uneven, jerky or have the wrong direction. The aim of a correct training is to ride with a steady, empathetic hand. The different rein aids described above ideally should be very small movements that can hardly be seen at all.
In reality, only few riders reach this perfection. Therefore, many riders want to improve the action of their hands. Using Optihand Evolution, problems of the rider´s hand are quickly and effectively revealed. With this tool the rider perceives how the correct rein aid should feel. The twisting of the fists for the asking rein aid is clarified by the rotatable handles. Optihand Evolution predefines a steady, even use of the reins as well as the desired upright fists. Thus, the rider can sense the correct motion pattern in himself and simultaneously observe the more content cooperation of his horse. The tool is most sensibly used for targeted solving of problems during riding lessons and of course is not intended for continuous use.