The Power of the One Rein Stop is awesome and yet little known or used around the World.


Do you like broken Bones? I don’t, which is why I am hot on this subject!!


images-e1581215464347 Horses can only fall over if they don’t have a ‘Lateral Mouth’


Are You one of the Millions who get on suspect Horses WITHOUT MOUTHS and without Rein Control Australian Horsemanship style???? Are You going to be one of these statistics?????


read ‘Bolting Horse’


The Power of the “One Rein Stop” is rarely taught and therefore rarely understood. I cannot recommend your understanding of this subject highly enough and should you heed the following advice, you will be far better equipped to protect your safety in the years ahead.


Update 5th June, 2016

No matter how much effort Horse Trainers put into getting the message across, the British systems, down through Pony Club and Equestrian Australia, negate the good and in particular now, People like Doctor Andrew McLean who is actively Lecturing against it.

I have personally had around 20 Bolters and Rearers, caused by his system, through my Hands:(


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Re-Mouthing the Horse


The Power of the One Rein Stop being used here with one my Young Clients ( Scotland) have the first ride on Her ‘Starter’ ….which would have bucked most People off and would have been the end of the career of the horse and possibly an injured Lassie.


3 Weeks later




Has your horse got a top ‘Lateral Mouth’? You should know. Here is the test, go do it?


Go to the Round Pen and put a bridle and roller on. Rung the lunge rein clip from the bit, though the side D ring of the roller and back to you in the centre of the yard. Lunge the horse at the trot, briskly. Without warning, haul the horse up and demand a ‘One Rein Stop’. Not with softness, with assertiveness. 20 kg. You will instantly know what you are feeling. If you see what appears in the photo’s below, be careful and release or the horse will rear. You would be a ‘Mug’ for riding such a horse.

When the ‘breaker” starts a young horse, he should be mindful of putting a top “Lateral Mouth” on the horse in order to facilitate the “One Rein Stop” For the purposes of this article, “Lateral Mouth” means the ease in which a horse will give it’s head around to the side when a rider pulls on one rein or the other. The “Front Brakes” are when a rider does the conventional and just pulls on both reins to stop the horse.

So, no matter how good the “Front Brakes” are, during the first few rides and even later in the career of the young horse, should things come unstuck, i.e.. buck jumping or attempts at bolting, there is no chance of stopping the horse from carrying these things through and learning the first and most dangerous lessons of it’s career if you rely on just the “Front Brakes”. The first few rides are crucial in determining the success or failure of the job. Horses learn the bad things quickly and the good things slowly. You must therefore be able to make dead certain that you have control over the horse from the first ride and onwards through it’s career. If this is the case, any dramas can be stifled immediately and never progress to a dangerous stage for the rider or the horse.

The entry of the Scientific Community into matters Horsemanship, has seen one of them, Dr. Andrew McLean, actively lecture against the ‘One Rein Stop’ as he Tours the Country, speaking. Perhaps, as of this Week, he may like to react to this:



Do you know what a great feeling it is to know that any young horse that I have started and am riding, just cannot run through my hands or buck because of the all powerful mouth which is totally over powering of the mind?

There is another aspect to this subject that a lot of people don’t know.  I mention this so that the reader of this article and in lot’s of cases they are the recipients of my services toward their young horse, can fully appreciate the use of the “One Rein Stop”

When the “Breaker” first mounts the young horse, there is no real way of getting it to move off. This is because the horse obviously doesn’t understand legs etc. Anyhow, when it eventually does and given that it doesn’t try to buck or run, the first stop is so crucial it is beyond belief. Most will walk a few paces and then apply the brakes. The result is crude to watch at it’s best and often see the horse with it’s mouth wide open and the breaker straining against the mouth with force way in advance of what should be used to achieve understanding that a stop is required.




This Horse would have Bucked off the majority of Britain. Well done Katy. If she can do it, You can all do it.

Certainly not until the horse understands what stop means. I have found it preferable therefore, to achieve stop with the one rein, during which the pressure of the bit is being put on the outside of the horses face rather than inside it’s mouth. Once this is established, the horse has a stop to the one rein established, a stop to seat coming and then when I institute the brakes, the beginnings of a stop to brakes as well. Further, more and more

lateral submission is being re-enforced each time I carry out a lateral stop. In effect, brainwashing the horse from day one that there is just no way that it can run through your hands, get it’s head down to buck and so on. Right from the start and throughout it’s life.




Apart from the retaining of continual lightness in a horse, the regular use of the “One Rein Stop” is important and can be used for the following issues:

  • To take control of a horse that is thinking about getting up to no good.
  • To stop “Pig Rooting and or bucking”
  • To stop a horse running through a rides hands, or learning to bolt.
  • To keep a light lateral mouth and therefore a light mind.
  • To make a horse stand.
  • To stop a horse from panicking about above average frightening events.




With regard to the “Breaker” or the newly broken in horse, called a “Green” horse, we can only use the first 50% of the mechanics of the “One Rein Stop” because the horse does not “leg yield” yet. As soon as it does learn to “leg yield”, we can add the second part of the complete and sophisticated “One Rein Stop”, that of dis-engaging the hindquarters and taking the power away from the back end of the horse. The end that produces all those nasty things.

Young horses that we break in learn to leg yield about three weeks into the procedure. Once they can do a turn on the forehand, then we add that to complete the full one rein stop. Here are the complete steps to follow:


  1. Ride the horse along in walk or trot.
  2. Have the reins held in what ever manner you do.
  3. Use either the left or right hand and alternate often.
  4. If we are using our right hand, move your right hand to near your left hand, and grab the right rein behind the right hand in case the right hand drops the rein during the procedure.
  5. Slide the right hand quickly down the right rein to a point where your arm is entirely outstretched and you may even be leaning forward a little. (although not necessary)
  6. Take the slack out of the right rein if there is any and then demand the horse’s head and nose around to your knee in an immediate and assertive manner.
  7. Simultaneously apply right leg behind the girth and leg yield the horse’s rear end around in a forehand turn of 180 degrees so the horse ends up facing the opposite direction that it was traveling.
  8. Hold the head in place for 10 seconds and make the horse give lightness before your release, patting the horse and having a little break.


The direction of travel of your rein hand and arm is highly important and I will therefore explain this in detail as well.

When you get taught to ride, ride western or Olympic Dressage, the correct manner of holding the reins is for your forearm to form a straight line from the point of your elbow that is adjacent to your hipbone to the bit. It is therefore highly important that when you complete a “One Rein Stop”, the direction of travel for your hand is in a direct line from bit to your hip, thus giving the rider the most power and strength possible. The following is incorrect:


  • Pulling your hand down across your upper leg.
  • Pulling your rein hand towards your navel.
  • Pulling upwards towards a shoulder.
  • Pulling outwards into mid air, out away from the horse.


All of these techniques are incorrect and more importantly, causes a weakness in the rider’s ability to pull a horses head around, especially one that is trying to be ignorant for a variety of reasons as explained above. If the horse gets into it’s mind that it wants to be naughty, it becomes the most ignorant in the mouth than it will ever be. That is why you need all the strength that you can muster. Do not be gentle about it. You are pulling on the outside of the face of the horse.



There is absolutely no exception to the rules as shown in the two photo’s. You cannot put your forearm in any other direction than being in a straight line down the reins to the mouth of the horse as in Olympic Dressage.  You can only get it with this action and only use the biceps muscles this way. Just like in the photo’s below.



If your horse has a mouth like this, you will not be doing a One Rein Stop. Part of the training of such a maneuver is the improvement of the lateral mouth. This is typical of what I meet almost daily. To re-mouth the horse is a very simple thing but first do the teeth.

If your horse has a mouth like this, you will not be doing a One Rein Stop. Part of the training of such a maneuver is the improvement of the lateral mouth. This is typical of what I meet almost daily. To re-mouth the horse is a very simple thing but first do the teeth.

Unless your horse is prepared in the mouth, you may cause it to rear. Any indication of this and you must release the reins and go back to square one.

Bits that no not have side bars on them like the FM of Tom Thumb, should have a leather keeper hanging behind the jaw so that the cannot slide through the mouth during this procedure and end up the side of the head of the horse. The FM Bit is the one to use however.




This is called the ‘One Rein Stop’. That means one rein, not two. You must throw a complete loop into the outside rein and there must be zero contact with the outside of the mouth of the horse. Any interference caused by the outside rein makes it a bad 2 rein stop and equals the brakes which equals the rear. Read my lips. Loop the outside rein or even drop it.

So there you go. One of the most important pieces of information available to horse riders’ and yet basically never taught at Pony Club, Tafe or much anywhere else. Funny about that.



Your horse should leg yield as part of it’s training. You then utilize this capacity to move off your leg, to complete the ‘One Rein Stop’, by doing this.

As you take the lateral flexion, you put the inside leg (the one on the same side as the rein that you have taken) behind the girth and move the rear end of the horse over to do a turn on the forehand, thereby, ‘dis-engaging the hind quarters’ of the horse and taking the power away for any naughty intentions like bucking. Now you have the ‘Power of the Full One Rein Stop’



If a horse is mouthed well, it will have a lateral mouth which is that of silk. I have found over the years, that if one carries out certain rituals whenever they are on the horse, that lateral mouth is maintained forever. Yes I promote it’s use for the protection of life and limb with Novice Riders’ and many other control reasons but it is the maintenance of the lateral mouth that the One Rein Stop ensures if done with regularity. The Lateral Mouth has a huge bearing on the total and overall submission of the horse in many ways, the maintenance of lightness of the front mouth as I call it being one of them. This lateral lightness and giving of the jaw, provides a Philip for the ongoing Dressage Training including suppleness and bend, front mouth lightness, submission of the jaw and collection later. As the only Dressage Coach of my wife and highly involved in getting her old horse to Grand Prix, such things interest me but they often don’t interest the Dressage Rider. Over the years as I have handed countless horses over to Competition types, I have always pointedly promoted the above but rarely have they listened. That’s fine and I don’t care at all but I must admit that I have never gone to this detail or tangent, rather that of them protecting their asses with the controls the good lateral mouth provides and so that they can live to ‘fight another day’ with their young horses and get through the dangerous periods which face the amateur. Few can ride a buck jumper. Fall once and your product is spoiled. So is the name of the ‘Breaker’. The lateral mouth also controls the mind and the mind controls the mouth. Lightness of the lateral mouth which is far more achievable in terms of maintenance than lightness of the front mouth, therefore has the ‘Lion’s share’ of keeping the mind light and in turn the entire horse which transfers to the front mouth anyhow. Lightness and submission starts with the laterals imho and the ORS is an overwhelming tool for the protection of the ongoing package.



  • The ‘One Rein Stop’ should not be used for handling rearers’ and is not for that use.
  • It should be introduced and trained slowly, especially on horses with poor lateral mouths which is most of them.




Hi John

Yesterday as I was riding my OTTB that I have re-trained using your methods
– to the point where in just three weeks I can ride her on the buckle out in
the State park – and it struck me I should write you a wonderful anecdote
from last weekend.

For anyone who questions your methods you could share this story with them.

My little six year old daughter has been “riding” since she was two years
old. Started on lead pony, etc, etc and last weekend we allowed her her
first ride in the park off the lead on her very lovely 14 yo been there
done that pony. For the last two years I have drilled her on the one rein
stop – to the point where she could probably teach just about anyone how to
do one. During this first ride in the park – loopy reins all the way – this
cheeky pony didn’t bolt, but he did go for an unauthorised canter with six
year old on board (probably because older sister always cantered him in this
particular spot, so was expecting this day would be the same). Little six
year old hauled him up with her one rein stop within about 10 or 15 metres
and although a bit shocked with what happened, after the initial surprise,
felt super confident and all powerful, because she knew, when the chips were
down, she could make this pony stop and listen to her. The rest of the ride
pony didn’t put a foot wrong – back to loopy reins – and a fun time was had
by all.

I sincerely hope anyone who has children riding and reads this, please,
please teach your little ones and their ponies this technique – not only
does it give them much confidence but even more importantly keeps them safe.
Should be first lesson taught to every kid at pony club imho (along with
training the ponies as well). And for any doubters out there, my little six
year old can tell you how important it is to have this particular tool in
your horseman’s tool kit!

Regards and thanks again,




Listen to Your Horses

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