Seeking bit advice & neck reining training tips
I've decided Wally and I are going to start doing some western. he's a nice little mover and with some elbow grease is going to make a kick butt show pony. Our goal is to make it to state fair this next year. Pretty exciting!!
I'm starting from scratch though... I have no idea what bits are legal for shows, but he is currently in an oval link loose right (which I know isn't western pleasure legal). Soooo, what are my options? I want to use the most mild bit possible, he doesn't need anything harsh whatsoever, I am reluctant to ride him in a shank bit as is (I am light handed, won't be a problem).
Also, where is a good place to start to teach him to neck rein? I've never had to teach a horse to and I'm sure I could figure it out, but I would like to figure out what other people do and play with it a little.
Thanks in advance!!
Find someone who can teach you in person.
"Neck reining" is more from your body than your hand. Learning how to guide him through his body with yours is not something you can really learn over the internet.
I always say the trick to neck reining is - not to neck rein, lol. A lot of times people hop up there and start pulling that rein against the neck and the horse bends in the opposite direction of where you want to go because that's what you're telling him.
"Neck reining" in western pleasure terms, is a horse that is so off the bit you pretty much only use your seat and your legs to control the body of the horse.
With that being said, start out direct reining in a snaffle. From the assistance of the snaffle, begin to learn to move the 4 "sections" of your horse's body. Section 1 is the head/neck. Should be able to flex to his shoulder with a pinkie's worth of pressure. Section 2 is the shoulder. The shoulder should be able to lift and cross over at your cue. Section 3 is the barrel. You should be able to lift the barrel, or bend it left/right. And Section 4 is the hindquarters. You should be able to manipulate and cross the hindquarters.
Putting these things together come from a series of flexing, bending, counter bending, circles, counter-bending circles, two-tracking/half-passing, side-passing, pivoting, turning on the forehand. You should start from the standstill, then to the walk, and work up to the jog and lope at these exercises.
Being able to manipulate the core will help your horse engage through the straight, slow, and drop his head naturally.
Once your horse listens to your seat and leg with each body part, and you've begun to drop contact on the snaffle to do these exercises on a draped rein, you would be ready to move on to a medium port curb.
My biggest advice would be to first read AQHA rulebook. Just to familiarize yourself with the sport and its rules. Then I would suggest looking into maybe getting some lessons, going to a clinic, watching WP demonstrations, etc.
I like this guy's video on neck reining:
If your using your body and feet it should be called body movement not neck reinning that doesn't make any sence.
I may be new to ridding compaired to everyone out there but neck means neck and reins means reins not body.
Neck reining is not all about the neck or the reins. Shifting your weight and added leg pressure is very acceptable. Also better for the horse to keep your hands out of their mouth!
Besides, if you literally get on a horse and pull the rein to his neck on a curb, you will actually be bending the horse's head the opposite direction of where you want to go. The horse needs additional cues from the body and very little reliance on the bit.
Like I said I am new to ridding compaired to most everyone on horse forum and I am 16 but I think I know what you mean. I like to sometimes ride my mare bareback with only a halter and lead rope and some times just plain bare back and can get her to do what I want and go where I want her to go with just using my body and feet. Is that it?
Yes, like that. If you read my first post in this thread, you should learn how to control all the sections of your horses body - shoulder, ribcage, and hindquarters, with your legs in order to supplement using the head. Then you can build more advanced maneuvers
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