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The “one rein stop”-is it helpful or harmful?!?

Updated: Nov 4, 2022


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The one rein stop was created by the natural horsemanship world to help give riders as ability to stop a run off but, it is overused and misused for a variety of other things.

The one rein stop is designed to take away the horse’s power by bending the horse’s spine in such a way that he cannot stay straight and therefore must slow down in order to not fall over.


The only time I will ever use a stop like that is if I have a horse that is bucking or trying to run off. Otherwise, I feel that the one rein stop is not practical nor is it biomechanically helpful or correct for the horse. I personally call it the “lazy man’s stop.”


When you pull a horse’s head all the way to your boot, this throws the weight of the horse on it’s front end and makes the horse brace with his lower neck and twist with his poll (big no-no biomechanically). It also causes the spine to bend and pinch into the shoulder.


Also if your horse is truly bolting away at full tilt, the last thing I would want to do is jerk the horse’s head to my boot as we would go ass over teakettle.


I also personally think the one rein stop is over used. People practice it over and over again to the point of untraining the correct way to stop a horse. It disconnects the horse from his feet and can actually teach a horse to run sideways.


Instead, teach the horse to stop correctly with both reins. Take the time to connect with your horse and teach them to stop from your seat and voice. Don’t always teach your horse to rely on the reins to stop him.


Teach your horse to use his hocks and round his back in the stop. Teach him to stop straight and square.


Thoroughly and correctly teach your horse to stop and you won’t have to ever employ the one-rein stop.

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