Dressage Horses Opt for Lower Rein Tension

Dressage riders put three times more tension on the reins than the horses themselves adopted when voluntarily allowed to set the pressure of side reins.

Lara Piccolo and Kathrin Kienapfel, writing in the journal Animals, point out that too much rein tension while riding may compromise horse welfare. But who generates the tension on the reins — the horse or the rider?

The pair, from Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, described a pilot study in which they set out to evaluate the maximum rein tension that horses voluntarily adopt when wearing side reins set up so the horses adopted a good dressage position for their head and neck.

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