Holding reins
Arms straight with a bend at the elbows Hands – thumbs up – level hands make level shoulders – elbows down. Do not twist hands so your shoulders get involved, relax yours arms. Start short on the reins, and then let them lengthen. Hands should be in front of the horn, above the mane.

3 Rein positions
1. High above the neck – on the lips
2. Above the neck – on the tongue and bars
3. Low hands – on bars mostly

Up above the neck is a signal for more reaction. Lower is slower and collected.
All contact is with soft pulls and releases. Keeping the reins low is good practice, (low hands make low heads), however going to the lips with straight up over the neck position gives you an entirely new pressure point and will make a new impression on the horse.

Direct Rein or Leading Rein
One rein is pulled which is a dominant direction, the horse can only go that way, that direction.
Main function is direction, bending horses head and neck in the direction you want to go.
Remember if the rein is raised for special effect as the bit travels more on the lips than on the tongue and bars.

In-Direct Rein or Neck rein
Main functions are forward and back, draw back for a pivot (turnaround). Rein has slack the horse goes forward, as you tighten it the horse will go backward with the same arc or steer the horse to the inside if lifted and on the neck.

Reins and Hands
Reins support shoulder elevation for straightness
Hands close and working together
Guide your horse
Steady pulls or steady holds
Learn to shorten the reins then loosen the reins, give back to the horse
Ride the front of the horse, for correct cues and safety

   Author - Steven Holt