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"Lightness of hand is absolutely necessary for using the reins with precision and without jerking them."
"The action of the bit on the mouth of the horse should be produced only by the tightening and slackening of the fingers on the reins."
"A good rider, with good hands can communicate through the reins with the horse's mouth. This is not a one-way street. The good rider's hands can also feel each of the horse's hind legs with his hands."
"It is only with a good position and a supple horse that the rider may succeed in stabilising his hands, thus being certain of never pulling on the horse's mouth."
"Quiet, sensitive hands are important in all aspects of riding. Your arms and hands, from the shoulder joints to the tips of the fingers and through the reins, belong to the horse. He directs the movement of your hands, and the level of his head determines the level of your hands."
"All major motion of the horse's head will be absorbed by your shoulders and elbows."
"Good hands are profoundly dependent on a good seat."
"Professional horsemen know how important good hands and a light feel of a horse's mouth are in getting a good performance from the horse."
"The rider's contact with the horse's mouth must be gentle and elastic so that the horse doesn't feel 'claustrophobic.'"
"A steady contact, even if it's a bit too firm, is preferable to the contact that repeatedly touches the horse's mouth and then gets loose."
"De la Broue and after him the Duke of Newcastle have both said that a good bridle hand must be light, gentle, and firm. This kind of perfection comes not only from the action of the hand itself, but also from the rider's seat."
"The height of the rider's hand usually regulates the height of the horse's head."
"We have mentioned that a good hand combines three qualities: lightness, gentleness, and firmness. The light hand is that which does not feel any contact at all of the bit on the bars. The gentle hand is that which feels a little of the effect of the bit without giving too much contact. The firm hand is that which holds the horse in full contact with the bit."
"The effects [of the hands] must be applied without constraining the animal and without suddenly abandoning contact with its mouth."
"The hand should never suddenly yield or resist. This can ruin a horse's mouth and cause head-tossing."
"When the rider feels that his horse is on its haunches, then is the time to subtly yield the bridle hand or even to perform the 'descente de main'."
"Softly bent around the rein, the fingers speak to the horse through nuances of pressure. These actions do not disturb the position of the hand whatsoever, but exert sufficient feel to be noticed by the horse."
"These [the fingers] give and take a little in swift alternating actions when the horse feels heavy, dull or inattentive to say, 'Hey! I'm talking to you! Please attend!'"
"Humans are very hand-oriented by nature."
"The rider's hands, like our seat, have two jobs: they can receive information and they can transmit information. By far the more important job is to receive information."
"A hand with fingertips lightly touching the palm can open to soften and yield pressure on the rein quite easily. An open hand has nothing more to give."
"The clearly defined enemy is an inside hand that pulls backward and pushes down!"
"When you focus on developing a sensitive, giving, independent hand, you will be a long way down the road to improving the seat."
"A giving hand of the rider is fundamental to suppleness of the horse's back."
"She who believes a horse must be dominated with the hand will never experience how wonderfully light a through, balanced horse feels, and how much fun he is to ride!"
"In training for contact, the horse must play the active part and the rider's hand the waiting, passive part."
"Hand techniques and force must become less and less important on the path to a through horse. Actually, they must completely disappear!"
"Light hands yield (soften by relaxing the fingers slightly) when the horse yields."
"Contact, remember, is a firm but soft, elastic feel between your hands and the horse's mouth."