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What are English vs Western reins?

Zonlover

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So I have read that:
"In english riding, the rider takes a rein in each hand, whereas western riders take both reins in one hand, allowing the other hand to fall naturally at their side, or lay on their thigh."

The only reins I've ever seen is one strap that each end of is attached to the two sides of the bridle/bit.

Why do they mean "a rein in each hand" and "both reins in one hand"?
 

finchly

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Ok so there are 2 sides to a horses bridle and a rein comes up each side. Or as you put it, one strap with 2 sides.

one side of the strap is near your left hand and one near your right. So we hold one in each hand and call them reins, plural.

English riders hold the 2 reins down near the neck, one in each hand. Western riders tie the 2 lengths together, making one thingie- theirs are also longer- and they can clasp that knotted rein in one hand. They don’t hold it down as low either
 

finchly

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I’m an English rider
 

macawpower58

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Western reining is also done by way of laying the reins across the neck to turn, if you lay the reins against his neck on the right side he'll turn left. Western use a loose rein.
English reining is done with a straight pull backwards in the direction you wish the horse to turn. Pull (or tighten) the right rein, and horse turns right. English keeps slight tension on the rein.
 

Hankmacaw

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Some English bits have two reins on each side of the bit. I believe they are used mostly on gaited horses - but don't quote me on that.

Western riders generally don't tie their reins together. If you get bucked off, or just fall off there is nothing to hold on to (dragging on the ground) to catch your horse. Rather than tieing reins together some people like ropers or bulldoggers have a single continuous rein from one side to the other.

Here is a sample of a four rein (Pelham bit).
 
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Craftydan

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Having grown up on a cattle farm around working horses, I ride western (I say, as if I've had a chance to ride in the past decade :facepalm: ).

One thing I will disagree (or is missing) with your descriptions is the horn. Theres always a horn on a western saddle -- a post on the front top of the saddle primarily for tying off rope. Unless the other hand is in use (western is a working style, after all), the off-hand is on the horn. When its not on the horn, the off-hand is grabbing for something, working a rope or whip, moving a gate, or some similar task. Then again, when working cattle, a rider with a good horse will give the commands then let the reigns go slack and hold on for dear life as the horse cuts the cattle like a sheep dog with sheep -- a good working horse with a good rider is a sight to see!

That being said, dunno about competition riding and proper form . . . But most competitions I've watched involving western riding held less value to the form and more to the task at hand.
 

Hankmacaw

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English Dressage rider;
1616116611227.png
English Jumper;
1616116744774.png

A western rider;
1616116977225.png
 

Hankmacaw

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Western saddle and an English saddle

1616117147415.png
 

Hankmacaw

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Aww heck, there is nothing to riding a horse. all you have to do is keep a leg on each side and your mind in the middle.

Like Chill Wills said there is some thing about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a person.
 

Hankmacaw

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I only rode English type saddles when I was riding commercial jumpers during high school. I much preferred a western saddle for riding many hours on end on the ranch in NV. A lot more support on a Western saddle.
 

Zonlover

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The one time I've ridden a horse, my instructor had me hold a rein in each hand and steer English, but use a Western saddle. Do some people do a combination?
 

Kassiani

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Yes some do. I did because my horse understood reining both ways. But, I competed in shows riding English hunt seat.
 
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