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Suggestions about teaching neck reining?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
    I'm not advocating this method now (that I've grown up and learned much more about riding/training!) but when I was younger, I had a horse that I wanted to teach to neck rein.

    I'm not sure now who told me this "technique" but I crossed the reins and then threw them over the head. So, just below the bit, the reins were crossed. Then, I just reined one handed. When I moved my hand to the right of the neck, it applied right rein pressure (because the left rein really was attached to the right side of the bit so would apply pressure there when left rein was shortened). This also provided the left rein pressure to the neck at the same time. Surprisingly, it worked. Within a month of riding like this, he neck reined without crossed reins like a champ.

    Ah, the things we do before we know any better...
    this actually works pretty well and I know some reiners who use it to get a horse 1 hand in the bridle. I have used it on occasion but mostly I like to ride 2 hands with my hands very close lay outside rein but not too much that the nose tips out..
    when I lay the rein firm enough and the horse doesn't get off it I will use my inside hand and rein to bite the nose around while maintaining outside rein. As soon as the horse follows his nose I will release both reins.
    remember to always steer forward and from the middle of the neck, trying to steer at the horn or bringing your hand back to steer with bind a horse up and they will be confused about what you want...feet or face.
    In breaking a horse the most important thing is getting their feet to listen. We teach a horse to give it's feet in the round pen and then get on them and spend the next umpteen years pulling on its face....connect their feet to your hands and that's training in a nutshell. Casey Deary talks a ton about that connection!

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    • #22
      Originally posted by Malda View Post
      I'm using a snaffle with English reins. Should I switch to something else?
      Nope, that's fine. You can teach her to neck rein in that. Truthfully, when you are neck reining, it doesn't matter what's in their mouth or on their head, because their cue is coming from the rein itself (and reinforced by your body language).

      Originally posted by Malda View Post


      She came to me moving off the leg, i.e. I use my right leg to turn her left. Do I use both leg and neck rein to turn her, or should she learn to turn from the neck rein alone? Currently she only turns from direct rein and/or leg.

      When she's turning by neck rein should her head point in the direction she's turning?
      In the beginning, you will point her nose where you want her to go because she's going to need direct rein at first. Just in your normal riding, every time you ask her to turn, give her the normal direct rein, and your normal leg cue, but also just add LAYING the neck rein on her neck. Be consistent with riding her that way.

      Honestly, after a few days or weeks of doing that, try giving her a neck rein cue only, and see what she does. You might be surprised. It's just a matter of teaching her another cue. You are just teaching her to move away from the pressure of the rein on her neck, the same way you teach her to move away from your leg.

      Think of using the neck rein as a cue for her to move the shoulder over.

      Yes, your leg/body cues are a big part of neck reining, but I do also like to teach my horses to neck rein with nothing else but the rein. So when my body does something stupid or maybe if I put an inexperienced rider on their back, I like to know that my horse will steer well from the neck rein alone and nothing else.


      Originally posted by Malda View Post
      What are the western cues for side pass/turn on the forehand? She backs up well but gets frustrated when I ask her to side pass, I think I'm asking incorrectly.
      Western and English cues should be no different for this. You still use your legs to move the horse's body parts where you want them.

      So if you want her to side pass, you should keep your leg neutral (not forward and not back) because you want the rib cage to move over.

      In the beginning, sometimes it's helpful to "seesaw" them a bit. And what I mean by that, is ask them to move the hindquarters over first, then ask them to move the shoulders. Allow them to be "disconnected" at first until they get the hand of it, and then ask to move both together (by asking the ribcage to move over).
      Last edited by beau159; Nov. 8, 2018, 01:37 PM.
      It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

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      • #23
        I do it differently than the above (and differently than you do currently by the sounds of it). I use the reins to control the shoulder, neck and head, and leg back to control the hips. Leg at the girth adds energy, which if only one is used, with result in the horse bending around that leg. So to ask for a side pass, I am using outside rein against the neck, inside rein off, (to move the shoulders), and outside leg behind the girth to move the hips. The ribs will come with the hips and shoulders. The reason I do not use the leg on its own (as described my beau129) is it is then very difficult to make the side pass with the correct bend (into the direction of travel).

        To train the specific jobs of each aid, I use turn on the forehand to teach the horse that the leg moves the hips, and pivot on the hind quarters to train that the reins move the front end, and a side pass to combine the two.

        To work towards neck reining, test self carriage on the circle, by giving with the inside rein for a few strides, with the outside rein being the aid that contains the arc. Work towards using less and less backwards pressure on the inside rein on the circle, and start initiating the turn with the outside rein, and then adding the inside rein only as needed. I only use outside leg if the hip is falling out. Also use eyes to look where you are going, as that slight shift in weight will help the horse. It can also help to lift the hands before asking for the turn, so the horse gets a warning you are about to cue a turn.
        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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        • #24
          Originally posted by CHT View Post
          I do it differently than the above (and differently than you do currently by the sounds of it). I use the reins to control the shoulder, neck and head, and leg back to control the hips. Leg at the girth adds energy, which if only one is used, with result in the horse bending around that leg. So to ask for a side pass, I am using outside rein against the neck, inside rein off, (to move the shoulders), and outside leg behind the girth to move the hips. The ribs will come with the hips and shoulders. The reason I do not use the leg on its own (as described my beau129) is it is then very difficult to make the side pass with the correct bend (into the direction of travel).
          In contrast, I'll expand on why I do it the way I do it (ultimately with leg alone) because when I (for example) go through a trail class, my reins are loose and the horse is sidepassing off my leg only, and keep their body straight (not bent).

          I do like my horses to work well enough off my legs, that I could steer them solely with my legs by "moving" the shoulders where I want them. It works well in the western showing classes, to have a loose rein.

          I can also add energy with my legs if I need to do a gait change. When I am controlling direction, that's one leg at a time. When I need to go into a walk, or into a trot, that's a squeeze. If I need to lope, I make a kissing sound and ask with one leg back (for the starting hip for the correct lead).

          I guess you could say I try to train my horse to have lots of "buttons" for things!

          But different strokes for different folks. Do what works for you.


          It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

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