Teddy and I are on a bitless journey, here is our reinback after training on 2 hacking sessions. This reinback isn’t the finished product, but I hope that the series will progress documenting our work and progress to show you how and why I work the way I do.

Last week proved a disaster for us on the reinback, despite coming 2nd we failed both attempts on the reinback so this week that was our focus. I see our league events perfect for training and we aren’t afraid to make mistakes, sure what better way is there to learn?

TREC rules for Ridden Reinback 

Last week’s faults

  • Touches the bars
  • Brake in motion

Working Through

Image result for horse head up

Position : I ask my horses to round a little before the back, I do this through a series of lessons working on light pressure to ask for a lower head. I don’t want my horse’s head high when I am asking for the back. If you horse throws their head up when you ask for reinback first check there is nothing medically or fit (saddle/bridle) wrong and then address the rounding before applying additional reinback signals. Essentially, your horses needs to know round before learning back.

Transitions : I did a lot of stop/start transitions both on the ground and on our hacks. We backed down country lanes, we moved to walk/stop/back/walk and trot/stop/back/trot transitions. I first of all wanted Teddy to think about the location of his feet. Where did I want them to move? Front/Back Fast/Slow. There isn’t much point I think in asking for prescision until we have the most basics right.

Straightness : This to me is required first and foremost that your horse is as straight as possible before you ask for the reinback.

Clear Pressure Signals : First aid is equal pressure leaning slightly backwards on to your pockets, adding rein pressure secondary and third is asking by slighly bumping your feet in front of the girth. Once we had these working on a nice seat first, rein second command (using negative reinforcement followed by positive reinforcement when he got things super right).


My first goal was that Teddy could move backwards at third level pressure in a controlled and relaxed manner, this was achieved fairly quickly. (Seat + Rein + Bump)

My next goal was secondary pressure, which as you can see we are maintaining in the above video. (Seat + Rein)

The final goal will be that this is a lighter rein pressure until the rein pressure disappears and only the seat pressure remains. We will continue to refine the seat pressure. (Seat Only)


This is not an end though, we will move up and down these goals as in life we don’t always get it right first time.

DO remember your horse will move up and down these goals, so check in from time to time, and if you need to move down a goal or 2 to come back up that’s okay.

DO reward your horse and praise well when they get it right – and don’t keep asking them. Finish on a positive – still lots of time? Do something else, but don’t keep asking over and over for the same goal when they have already achieved it.


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