Media Critique: The Controls of the Horse: A Modern Approach to the Classical Rein and Leg Aids

If you think you already know everything you need to know on rein and leg aids, move to the edge of your chair and get ready to hit the pause/replay buttons. No matter how many articles you’ve read or DVDs you’ve watched on the subject Bernie Traurig is about to burn the correct use of rein and leg aids into your retinas.

Of necessity, the basic rein aids – direct and leading – are clearly and quickly demonstrated. Once Traurig gets to the indirect rein of opposition his precise applications and the demo horse’s responses will erase any confusion you might have had but been reluctant to admit.

Traurig’s tactful use of the reins creates a responsiveness in the horse that would be the envy of any rider, regardless of discipline He refers to the demo horse as “green,” but in any dressage ring anywhere that horse would get straight “9s” for consistent contact, suppleness, and impulsion; Traurig would get a “10” for rider.

The DVD does not belabor any concept to the point of boredom; leg aids are introduced and then you see them in action on a different demo horse, that – woe to him – happens to ignore the first light touch, but never again.

Traurig teaching has so much impact because he instructs AS he’s riding; these are just a few of the concepts you hear and see simultaneously:

  • Use of the direct rein of opposition BEHIND the withers becomes a bad habit and forces a false bend.
  • Lose the crop and teach the horse to respond to your leg aids – he should shoot forward from “the breath of your boot against the hairs of the horse.”
  • Leg yields, shoulder-ins and haunches-in are the building blocks for jumping; don’t over-use haunches-in as it’s hard on the horse.
  • You must be able to use rein and leg aids independently and then blend them to accommodate the quirks of each horse.
  • A hot horse or “swishy” mare may prefer flying changes in two- point with JUST rein aids.

Traurig impresses with his obvious concern for the horse; he rewards often with a soft pat – not slap! – and demonstrates improper responses, common errors and the harsh pulley rein only once. The DVD is professional, high-quality and seamlessly edited; no minute is wasted.

Bottom Line:  If you can get past your “I already know all this” mindset, you’re going to learn a lot, regardless of your preferred discipline.

Best Suited For: Beginners will absorb it all, intermediates will fine-tune or confirm what they’ve been taught previously, and advanced riders who teach will have an indispensable tool for their students.

You’ll Be Disappointed If: You don’t lose your omniscient attitude first.

You can purchase this DVD here. $39.95.

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