08-04-2011, 06:06 PM
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Mount your horse, hold a rein in each hand as normal and start off at a walk. If you are accustomed to riding on contact-always feeling tension on the reins, you will need to slacken your reins slightly. That way when you cue with the rein against the neck you are not accidentally pulling on the bit as well. You want the horse to lead into the turn with his nose, not tip his head to the outside.Walk in a straight line, then turn a sharp corner of about 90 degrees. As you turn the corner cue with the inside rein, your seat and legs, as usual, but lay the outside rein against the horseís neck. Lift your hand so the rein makes clear and positive contact against the mid-section of the neck. As you come out of the turn return your hands to their normal position. Be careful not to pull on the outside rein that you are laying against the horse's neck as you may confuse him. Make many turns, frequently changing directions. Visualize how and where you want to make your turns each time you are on a straightway. Try doing this for about 15 minutes over several days. Several short sessions will be more effective than one long session. Donít follow the same pattern each time you ride as you might find your horse learns the pattern and ignores the cue of the rein against his neck. After a few sessions, try making the neck-rein cue first, before putting contact on the bit. Release any contact with the bit as soon as the horse starts into the turn, but leave the rein on the neck until you wish to discontinue the turn. If the horse wanders out of the turn, squeeze the inside rein slightly to remind him of the direction. Continue doing this for several more sessions. When your horse consistently responds to the neck rein cue, you will no longer need to cue with the inside rein. Hold the reins in one hand. It is traditional to neck-rein with your non-dominant hand. This leaves the dominant hand free to work a lasso or open a gate. However, if you wonít be roping cattle, and encounter few gates you can choose to use which ever hand you please. Be patient with your horse, some are fast learners and some take extra time to learn their lessons. Likewise, you are teaching yourself at the same time. Go slow and take things one step at a time. Once the neck rein cue has been learned and you can turn smoothly you need only practice occasionally.