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I don't know why, but for some reason I have trouble keeping my grip on reins. My reins always seem to be too long, they slip through my hands and I'm constantly adjusting them -- and the instability interferes with communication. It doesn't matter what horse I'm on. It's me. And it's a longstanding problem. Remember, Charlotte Dujardin says "short reins win medals"!

Last week, I tried the Correct Connect rein training system, which was developed by Olympic eventer Jill Hennenberg. I was searching Google  for reins to improve grip, trying words like grippy, grip, rubber, stops, and finally, in desperation, I typed "velcro reins." And there it was, the web site for Correct Connect.  

Correct Connect is a rein/glove system that offers the ultimate in grip -- the reins and gloves connect with a type of hook and loop system (aka Velcro). I thought it was genius, and the endorsements on the site had some big name trainers. The reins, and the gloves, are about $100. I messaged the site to find out the length of the reins, and they responded on a Sunday night in about 5 minutes -- 114." I ordered them on the spot.

I rode in them for the first time on Sunday. I decided not to try them in a lesson, but I wish I had. You know when you're having one of those feel-good rides, you wish your trainer was there? I loved looking in the mirror and seeing a rider that wasn't BUSY, adjusting the reins constantly. Riley was happier in the bridle, my hands were quiet and steady, and suddenly I was focusing on other things -- like my position, my seat, and my upper body's connection to my hands. 

The hook and loop attachment is not like your standard industrial Velcro -- it's a much lighter "stick," secure but easy to adjust. The few adjustments I needed to make (walk breaks, stretchy trot) were easy and natural. Other things I noticed:

  • I didn't take as many walk breaks. I could ride longer with Riley in a better balance.
  • Our transitions were better.
  • I had a better connection to the outside rein.
  • I had a better sense of communicating with Riley, and could use my hands in a more nuanced way. I noted that when my hands are a little wider, Riley seems to respond better in every way. 
My reins don't have the white stops -- there are several options.
Now this is only one ride in. I know that sometimes you try a gadget and have a honeymoon period. But many, many other times I've been disappointed from the start with a much anticipated miracle gadget. So this was a very pleasant surprise. 

I read on the site that the reins are a little stiff at first -- something I did not really experience or notice. The gloves felt great, and I'm picky about gloves. 

There are a number of options with Correct Connect reins/gloves, and I'll talk more about this in my next blog post...



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Behind the Bit by Stacey Kimmel-smith - 8M ago
We had a blast, as always...

This year I made a big boo-boo and purchased tickets for the Saturday Grand Prix NOT the Sunday show jumping. In a panic I bought tix from a scalper who, as it turned out, had done the same thing. I bought the wrong tickets twice! Fortunately I caught up with her, she was as shocked as I was, and refunded my $$ promptly. I bought from the guy standing next to her and we loved the seats...

Adventures!
Buck Davidson, Copper Beech

                                                    Donner and Lynn Symansky

Paddy the Caddy, Erin Sylvester

Buck Davidson, Carlevo

Sara Grumbiner, Polaris

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Behind the Bit by Stacey Kimmel-smith - 9M ago
Hi All, it's been awhile! Thought I'd touch base for those of you who might still be following BTB. Ri is doing great, we've come a long way as far as working together. The enemy is stiffness (mine) and my new goal is a commitment to doing less. But that's not why I'm posting.

I downloaded  a new app, Equilab, that is free and I think has a great starter feature set. It's easy to use, just install, get on your horse, open, click START, and ride.

Right now the main info seems to be how much time you spend in what gait, total ride time, some stride length info and distance covered. It's probably much more useful when you're outside because it provides a map of what you covered.

As I use it more I'll write more but I should also mention it has kind of a diary feature and lets you rate your own performance and your horse's. Thumbs up so far!
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Behind the Bit by Stacey Kimmel-smith - 1y ago
I found this jacket when I was at Rolex this year. It was about $150, but it is gorgeous on, fitted and somewhere between matte and a light sheen. I looks expensive (heck, it was expensive).

Well, it's now available for $88 at the Riding Warehouse. I have ordered from RW for years, and prices are great. FWIW, the customer service is great, and shipping is fast.
Right now it looks like all sizes are available. Great gift!
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