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Riding with contact, a consistent pressure on the reins, is an interesting skill to learn as smooth, even contact requires movement throughout the rider’s body. 

As challenging as it may be, good contact is critical to good riding. Unsteady hands that pull or bounce on the bit are ineffective in communicating to the horse what we are asking and can even be painful in our horse’s sensitive mouths. 

Contact is rarely taught. Or at least not taught well. It is something that is just “a feel”. Or it “comes with time”. 

While it is true that a rider’s contact will develop and improve as their riding skills progress, contact can be taught – and learned! 

In this video, meet Kaitlyn McGarvey, head instructor at our HorseClass Farm Campus in Honey Brook, Pa, as we show you one exercise you can practice anywhere, with anyone, that will improve your contact! 

Hit play below to watch the video.

P.s. Click Here to learn more about the Private Intensive Riding Programs we offer at the farm campus, where you can get one on one help with your riding with Kaitlyn and our talented school horses.


Daily exercises for an immovable seat, steady hands, and a happier horse

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Daily exercises for an immovable seat, steady hands, and a happier horse

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9 Responses

  1. As always, a very important topic. I was always told NOT to let my hands move but I guess that advice was in a certain context and perhaps not to move my hands widely. Reins have always been my weak area – either they are loose with no contact or I am pulling them. So this video is indeed an eye-opener but for me still miles to go. But thanks!

    1. Glad this video was helpful Sathya, I can’t wait to hear how it goes when you are in the saddle next time 🙂

      -Julia, HorseClass Community Manager

  2. thank you! great video!
    Where do we find the next video that follows this one? especially “rocking them back”. I will work on this and have done in the past but you have made in clearer what I should be allowing. I have a ‘leaner’. He doesn’t really pull he just leans very heavily when contact is taken. So the way to teach him to rock back would be very helpful

  3. Very interesting video as always, and I guess this is a big struggle for many riders – starting by myself!
    I had a great lesson this year on the notion of contact, but we started on the ground. The whole hour was spent walking on one side of the horse (switching often, of course), each hand on either side of the neck as if riding and trying to find that contact.
    That way we didn’t have to worry about our position, it was all about the feeling, how we interracted with the mouth and what resulted from one action or the other.
    Next lesson: in the saddle, trying to find the same feeling.
    Though I still struggle to get a consistent contact I found it was very enlightning, and I think adding the exercise you show might help me even more to progress on that notion.
    Thank you Callie and Horse Class team ! 😉

    1. Give the exercise a try Roxanne, I think you’ll find it will be a light bulb moment for the next time you are in the saddle!

      -Julia, HorseClass Community Manager

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