When riding your dressage horse, it’s important to keep your hands forward in what I call the “work area”.

The work area is just in front of the saddle above the horse’s withers. Put your hands in that position and draw an imaginary box around them. That box is your work area.

No matter what rein aids you’re giving, keep your hands in the work area. If you bring your hands closer to your body, you steal power from the hind legs. If you put your outside hand forward, for example, you lose control of the outside shoulder.

Most dressage riders tend to draw their hands toward their bodies and behind their horse’s withers. So here’s a simple tip to remind you to keep your hands FORWARD in the work area. Imagine there’s a basketball in front of your stomach. Keep your hands in front of the basketball. You can’t draw your hands closer to your body because the basketball is in the way!

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