Neck reining

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Neck reining

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  • Neck reining with full cheek snaffle
  • Horse neck reining

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    11-19-2012, 07:16 PM
Question Neck reining

So my mare will steer off my leg, and I taught her to neck rein with a lead rope around her neck, not attached to the bit.

Having it connected to the bit, she gets confused. How can I teach her to neck rein with the bit?

I have a full cheek snaffle, and loose ring french link.

I can borrow a bit from my instructor if those won't work.
Jointed bits are harder to teach them with, right??

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    11-19-2012, 07:51 PM
It does not matter one bit what kind of bit you have to teach your horse to neck rein.

Essentially, I justdo this: Lay my rein. Bring the horse into a haunch turn. Walk off. Lay my rein, haunchturn. Walk off.

They think of moving their shoulders whenever you lay the rein that way. And don't be afraid to bump bump inside rein too, to help them get the idea of the nose. Just follow through with that being a pre-cue to your normal signal.
Muppetgirl likes this.
    11-20-2012, 12:37 AM
Some people cross the reins under their heads to train the horse to neck rein....
    11-20-2012, 12:48 AM
I'm a firm believer in using bits for the jobs they're designed to do. Here's why:

When you neck rein here's what happens: You neck rein left, you're right rein becomes slightly shorter. With a bit with rings (instead of shanks) or a broken mouth piece (rather than ported or mullened) when you're right rein becomes shorter it puts pressure on the right bar. If it's got shanks and a broken mouth piece (tom thumb like bits) the pressure is stronger on the right bar. If you're neck reining in a solid mouth shanked bit, your right rein is made shorter, this picks up the right shank, pushing into the right of the horses face (a tiny bit) and tilting the bit to apply pressure to the left bar - thus turning the horse left.

Teaching a horse to neck rein you should use your whole body to steer, as well as a proper bit. The moment the rein touches the horse's neck (before the bit is activated) is the 'pre-cue' then a little more and the bit is activated, making the actual cue. Eventually horses learn the pre-cue of the rein touching their neck. At this point you could ride in any bit, so long as your reins are long enough not to actually have it reach the bit when the right rein is shortened (turning left). If it does your horse will become confused. Over time it may unteach the pre-cue if you don't have long enough reins to not interfere with the horse's mouth.

I suggest using a short shanked, mullen mouth or medium port curb bit. Bumper sweet water bits are my favorite:

ETA: This same mentality is why Thunder's idea about criss crossing the reins would work. I think that would work to try just for fun, not if you're serious about teaching the horse to neck rein.
    11-20-2012, 12:57 AM
However, Punk, if you only introduce that bit when you are going to neck rein then not only does the horse have a new bit but a new cue trying to learn. Plus, an ideal neck rein can be done in anything. The bit doesn't make the move, your hands and legs do. Ideally a neck rein will be on a completely loose rein anyway. Every single reining trainer, cutting trainer, cowhorse trainer, etc is going to have that horse in a snaffle even while learning to neck rein. That's how I do it as well. My colt is just turning four and he has never been out of the snaffle except once, and he knows how to neck rein just fine.

If you do it right, there will be no bit action, and the cue will be so small that it will never even go an inch away from the saddle horn/pommel.
    11-20-2012, 01:07 AM
I should also add with that rein crossing thing. All fine and dandy until either a) you get all tangled up, or b) you get an unbalanced horse. You are getting the face but not the rest of the body. Teach with balance, both hands, both legs, your seat, and the horse will immediately improve.
    11-20-2012, 01:46 AM
Here's how I do it:
Look in the direction you want to go...let's say right.
Lightly step into the right stirrup....
Apply left rein to the horses neck....while opening right rein up...(open the door)
Apply outside moves one step.....release and reward......

Same goes for other rein......

However, neck reining is one skill....but you should ride cues in this order:
Leg......and then
That's how reiners look like they're just sitting there doing nothing! Sadly for me, I always look like I'm doing something!!!!

What bit you use, does not's getting the horse to respond to the rein through other cues.......but you want to use the other cues's really awesome when you just look where you want to go and the horse takes you there....
If you need to bump him lightly if he doesn't respond to your leg cue, that is ok too, just like Sorrel Horse said
    11-20-2012, 01:51 AM
Yes, that too. I love a good reining horse who is so sensitive like that.

My trainer had a guy taking lessons once who was in the Air Force and just wanted to ride that type of horse. He could kick, smack, rein all day long...But if he didn't look, that horse wouldn't go. He was looking straight once and trying to spin and the horse would NOT have it. Finally he shifted his body because he looked and the horse just started flat spinning. It was incredible.
    11-20-2012, 01:56 AM
Originally Posted by SorrelHorse    
Yes, that too. I love a good reining horse who is so sensitive like that.

My trainer had a guy taking lessons once who was in the Air Force and just wanted to ride that type of horse. He could kick, smack, rein all day long...But if he didn't look, that horse wouldn't go. He was looking straight once and trying to spin and the horse would NOT have it. Finally he shifted his body because he looked and the horse just started flat spinning. It was incredible.
Haha! I rode one once (she was crazy, but I loved her) and you just had to think about something.....and you were doing it!!!! I constantly have to remind myself of cue order, it's so easy to just use the reins.....but a horse who is trained in the right order will be very sluggish if you just pick up the rein to ask for something......I have really learned that it is the well trained horses who are the hardest to ride! Because you have to ride them just like the superstar trainer rode them when they were trained! Not an easy feat!!!
I like sensitive horses............
    11-20-2012, 11:16 AM
I completely agree with using your entire body to control a horse, and while you could use a snaffle to teach the 'pre-cue' of the neck rein, it's faster and less confusing to teach it using the proper bit for the job.

To teach neck reining with a snaffle, you use your whole body, touch the rein to the horse's neck and if he doesn't move you bump the other rein to turn his head.
Where as if you have the proper bit you don't have to add the bump you just have to move your hand a little further over to shorten that outside rein a little more. So rather than adding a whole new step you just increase the pressure.

YES if you ever change any piece of the horse's tack please give them time to get used to it before jumping on and expecting magic to happen.
Practice the skills from the ground and mounted at the stand still until they're solid, just like teaching a horse to direct rein for the first time.

Once the horse knows the pre-cue of the rein touching the horse's neck you could ride him in any bit or no bit or just a rope around his neck if all the rest of your riding is solid enough. Heck if they listen well enough to your seat and body you don't need anything. But most people and horses aren't that finely trained and need the proper tools for the proper job until they are that well trained.

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