So...lol, having addressed the issue that my horse is not ready for a curb bit due to the fact that she only direct reins...
How do you teach a horse a horse to neck rein?
Or really, first of all, is this something feasible for a person who hasn't had horses for 10 years? LoL, if not, feel free to say so and I'll send her to the trainer. I can admit when a job's too big for me. I was actually going to send her for training this fall, but after having worked on ground manners all summer with her, I feel like we've made leaps and bounds.
She is a 3 year old TWH, direct reins very nicely, and has about a 1 hour attention span for training sessions (lol, don't judge...it was 15 minutes at the beginning of the summer).
Is she ready...or, am I ready? :D
Now this may just be me, but I think neck reining is generally something that anyone can teach their horse. All it is is yielding to pressure. If you;ve spent a summer working on ground manners, I'm sure she's been introduced to this concept already.
I think you are ready to at least try it. If it ends up being something that you don't feel comfortable with, send her to someone who does, but you could at least get the basics on her.
What I do is if I ask for a turn, I will ask with my leg and lay the rein on her neck like I was neck reining. When she doesn't have an idea what I am asking her for, I will add direct pressure. Eventually, I have found that they will respond to the pressure on the neck and not need me to go the extra step to direct pressure and eventually I can take it away.
Im not a horse trainer though so there are people on here that can give you a much better understanding. Me and words don't get along so well :P I just wanted to let you know I think it's something you could handle if she is ready for it. I don't think it's a bad concept to introduce to a horse at any age.
Thanks! LoL, that's ok if you're not great with getting it into words...made sense to me, at least. I'm an English major and words are my "thing", but I'm sure you know lots more about horses. Evens out, I'd say. :)
So start with leg pressure, along with laying the rein on the neck...then apply light direct contact if needed...is that right?
That's what I do, yep. It takes repetition, but it has worked for me. I ask with my seat and legs first, then with my neck rein, then with my direct rein.
Cool, I will try it...lol, with a snaffle bit. :lol:
Sounds like it can't be detrimental, at least. How long would you say I should I wait to see signs of her picking it up before I move on to a trainer? I'm pretty patient, so time's not really an issue. Just want to have an idea as to whether I'm doing it right.
I don't know what a good cut off point is, some pick it up quicker than others.
Praise her for the slightest attempts and if she seems like she is making progress, you're probably on the right track.
Sorry for the double post: Here is a good article on teaching to neck rein
Today's Horse - Ask the horse expert: Teaching a Horse to Neck Rein
Spastic Dove's advise is pretty much right on. There are variations but that is pretty much the way to do it. Little by little, you will stop using the direct rein except when he gets obstinate - and they all do in the beginning from time to time.
I taught Lacey to neckrein over the summer and I taught her exactly the same way SD said. She picked it up the concept in about about 2 weeks (in only 4 sessions) but it took her all summer (2 sessions a week) to understand it and respond reliably every time. I haven't tried neckreining at the canter yet but she's really good at the walk and trot. I found that doing tons of circles and turning, both directions, seemed to help her "get it" as fast as possible.
I did find that she picked it up so much more quickly and easily bitless (as opposed to a snaffle). It's probably just a Lacey quirk but I thought I'd mention it. =)
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