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[RC] question from a flatlander about rein contact on hills and in a snaffle - Tx Trigger

Your reins are just one of your aids to communicate with your horse. I used to ride jumpers as a kid, and this one horse was one you had to keep some rein contact as you approached the jump. If you threw the reins away and went really loose, he would stop cold. He figured you weren't ready, and part of the communication is lost.
Look at photos, or better yet, video of horses going over Cougar Rock at Tevis. Those riders who go up with really long, loose reins, usually have a horse who is stopping, spinning back, and not forward. Those who keep contact, and drive the horse forward, will usually have less of those issues.  This does not mean you have to have a strong hold of their mouth, but the needed contact to be able to use that communication aid.  Also, Jennifer, look up to the top of the hill, where you want to go, rather than down at the ground. Project you and your horse over the top. Same as jumping. Look beyond the jump, where you want to be, not AT the jump. It really does help.
Jonni in TX