Inside leg, Outside Rein

When starting out in horse riding, every instructor will tell you ‘not to turn with the inside rein’. In fact, the idiom ‘inside leg to outside rein’ will soon be something you’ll find yourself saying everyday.


If turning with the inside rein, we turn the head, which ultimately causes the shoulder, then the body then the hindquarter to turn after that. Essentially, it’s a bit like turning an articulated – slow and relies on a hinge effect in the neck/withers junction.

When turning the inside rein, the horses head gets turned which ultimately causes the shoulder then the body then the hindquarter to turn after that.

But with turning the outside rein, skips the head/hinger stage and instead turns the shoulder. Allowing the body and hindquarter to follow. This increases the efficiency of the turning, tightens the turning circle and keeps the horse more balanced throughout the turn.

Avoiding the lean

Using the outside rein is to avoid all of the horse’s weight on the inside shoulder. If the weight is on the shoulder, the horse is heavy and leans on the reins, creating an unbalanced feeling for the horse and an unpleasant feeling for the rider.

Moving in this way is bad for the horse’s joints over the longer term.

The outside rein helps to keep the horse balanced through the turn, with his weight equally spread out over the four legs.

Extracted by HQ Magazine, Understanding the Outside Rein, November 2021.