Stepping up the Single-hand Reining


Riding Level 3: Cantering Single-handed

For Riding Levels 1 and 2 you have already been asked to demonstrate single-handed reining at walk and trot respectively, so the next logical step at Level 3 is

11. Single hand reining: walk, trot and canter.

The mechanics are the same, so first go and review these posts on Freeing the Sword Hand and Losing the Reliance on Reins.

Duello Days - photo LM BraunCantering with the reins in one hand is in some ways easier than using two.  In fact I often get students to put the reins in one hand while learning to canter.  This is not just because it allows them to hold the pommel if they start to feel they are coming loose from the saddle.  Putting the reins in one hand encourages riders to sit up tall rather than balancing on the horse’s mouth.  This in turn encourages the horse to give a more upright, balanced canter, rather than pounding on the forehand.

Your seat and leg position are even more important at the canter than in the walk or trot because you have less time to make corrections with the hand.  The good news is that a horse in a light and uphill canter is quite easy to influence with the seat and legs.  General advice is to:

  • Support your horse with your inside leg (same side as the horse’s leading canter leg) at the girth, and the outside leg just behind the girth.  This will maintain the canter lead and the bend.  Adjust the outside leg according to the amount of bend desired.
  • Weight your outside leg and seat bone slightly to keep yourself and the horse upright rather than leaning into the turn.
  • Initiate turns with your head and body, supported by the legs.  The rein, if used, should be an afterthought.  Your head will track to the next marker of the turn and your shoulders should align with the horse’s shoulders, as your hips will with your horse’s hips.
  • Ride with a short but loose rein.  The short rein allows you to stop or slow the horse when needed, but by keeping your hand forward with very light contact or a slight loop in the reins you encourage the horse into self-carriage rather than leaning on your hand.

Eventually your goal is the calm seat of the rider and responsiveness and self-carriage of the horse seen in this working equitation video featuring Pedro Torres.

Pedro Torres - Working Equitation

Notice how his reins almost always have some slack, and his hand just moves slightly left and right.  Now watch his legs and you will clearly see the outside one is farther back every time the horse turns or yields. The rider’s back is upright and his seat calm.  Obviously we don’t expect this level of control and lightness at level 3, but it is something to dream about and work toward!

Mounted Combat Starts this Week

Karissa vs Britt

The next 4-week series of Mounted Combat class starts up on Sunday.  This class is intended for students who have their Green Spurs or higher, although students who have taken Warrior Fundamentals or Mounted Combat Skills and also have Riding Level 1 may be admitted, space permitting.

Over the course of four weeks you will have a chance to work on these skills:

  • Mounted games with sword and spear
  • Longsword drills from horseback including multiple attacks and defenses from various guards, the mounted progression, and flow work
  • Spear and lance fundamentals from horseback including guards, couching and releasing the lance, thrown spear, and introduction to garrocha
  • Mounted wrestling unarmed and armed, and how to fall safely
  • Mounted longsword sparring

Mounted Combat
Sundays May 17 – 31, June 14
1:00 – 2:30pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op
cost: $200

Upcoming Classes

Intro to Mounted Combat
Here’s the place to get started in the Mounted Combat Program, whether you’re an experienced swordsman new to horses, a proficient rider new to swordplay, or a complete beginner!

Saturday 6 June, 10am – 1pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$149 + gst

Mounted Combat Playday

saluteAn opportunity to put your skills to work.  Come out for friendly practice and competition with mounted games, combat and archery.  Assistants on the ground are needed for these sessions.  If you are unable to participate as a rider, come out and be a squire for us to earn credits for future playdays.  Spectators welcome!

Saturday 6 June 1pm – 4pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$15 + $15 for use of school horse

Prerequisites:
Mounted Games: Riding Level 1
Mounted Sparring: Green Spur
Horseback Archery: Beginner Horseback Archery + Riding Level 1

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship
This six-class course is designed to help the beginning rider achieve Horsemanship and Riding Level 1.
Saturdays 6 June – 11 July, 4:00 – 6:00pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$300 + gst

Level 2 Riding & Horsemanship
Princess cooloutThis six-class course is designed to help the riders achieve Horsemanship and Riding Level 2. The curriculum includes:

Saturdays 6 June – 11 July, 4:00 – 6:00pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$300 + gst
Prerequisites: Riding and Horsemanship Level 1

Horsemanship Level 4
This 6-week course will cover the material necessary for Horsemanship 4 in both lecture and practical session

Saturdays 6 June – 11 July, 4:30 – 5:30pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$130 + gst

Riding Level 3+
A six-class series for riders working on Level 3 and up.  Group lessons consist of up to four riders.  Additional time slots are added as needed, and riders grouped by level as much as possible.  Riders are expected to arrive at least half an hour before class and have their horses groomed, tacked up, and partially warmed up before the lesson starts.

Saturdays 6 June – 11 July, 6:00 – 7:00pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$200 + gst
Prerequisites: Riding level 2 or permission from instructor.

Cavaliere Assessments
Sunday 5 July, 1:30 – 4:30pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$50 for partial assessment (Horsemanship, Riding OR Mounted Combat)
$80 for full assessment (2 or 3 of the above elements)

Beginner Horseback Archery
tentative date:
Sunday 26 July, 10am – 1pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$149 +gst

Intermediate Horseback Archery
tentative date:
Sunday 26 July, 2pm – 5pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
$75 + gst
prerequisites: Beginner Horseback Archery + Riding Level 1

Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.