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poultrygirl 12-04-2010 02:41 PM

Horse neck reins but doesnt direct rein? OPINIONS?
So...went and looked at a horse yesterday. She was in my price range, beautiful,and in a good age range (12).
Her owner was very nice, honest lady, but has a lot of horses and lives in the middle of, well, nowhere (sorry, it's always awkward if the person roams this forum but it's the truth) and is downsizing. She had a bunch of really GORGEOUS horses and this was one of them. She's had this mare for most of the mare's life.
Anyways...the mare hadn't been ridden since september (and that's a "we think so") she was used on a dude ranch for the summer, but only the guides roder her.
She was out in the paddock with like 9 other fat and sassy mares..and they were all eating when we got there. I went in to get her and she didnt want to be caught. I didnt really think about it til later...but if I was eating, I probably wouldnt have wanted to be caught either.
Saddled her, she opened for the bit (unlike another horse I know :wink:) The lady told me I could ride down the road but to "watch out for the stallions on the other side of the fence". Welllllll we rode a little ways, and then the stallys came to the fence and the mare just bristled and stopped and turned and wanted to go back. I tried to turn her by direct reining her...and that's when things got real interesting. She was clearly ticked off, tossing her head, but never tried to bolt back. I thought she might. my thoughts were "great. i came all this way for a horse I can't handle. Oh boy." But then they asked if I wanted to try her in the round pen. Went in there and couldnt trot her or canter her because beams, step stools and oil drums arranged in there so you couldnt really ride in a straight line or get her going. She stopped on voice command, and no hesitation. But I kept trying to direct rein her. It's funny, the more horses I try, the more I learn about myself. Apparently, I use my hands way too much ( I have busy little hands. And when I start taking lessons thats the first thing that needs to go away). And I feel like on a strange horse, you have a bit more control with direct reining. And so, I had one in each hand. I'm used to turning by barely pulling to to the side I wanna go, and tapping with the outside foot. This mare, wouldnt do that. She kind of wigged out..but I couldnt tell if she was being bad, or something was going on. THe owner yelled over the fence "SHE DOESN'T DIRECT REIN! ONLY NECK REIN!" I was like WHAT?!
I thought that was the first thing you taught any baby when starting them was direct reining, and then trainers move on to neck reining. idk. How could this mare ONLY know neck reining? How tough is it to teach a neck reining horses to direct rein too?
Anyways, she was responsive, and once I let my left hand down and rode like a nice normal person and not the scary little newbie I am, she did fine. I was amazed though. It was unique. :-o
Then we were checking her over, and i found this big knott on her side. Now, the mare is like, 200 pounds OVERWEIGHT, but this was a nott like scartissue. The owner told me "that was my fault. she was in with the stud colts a few years ago." then there was one on her neck, real tiny like the size of a quarter. Again "that was my fault. I went to give her a shot, and I dropped it." (does she mean the horse infection?)
Her feet needed a trim, and the lady told us she hasnt had her teeth done in a long time (of course, at 200 overweight, her teeth apparently havent bothered her).
I'm thinking about if I want to make an offer or not. The mare wanted to go back with her buddies, but then again...she was EATING when we got her out, and never offered to buck or anything. I know if I got Ratface (sister's paint) out while he was eating hell would freeze over.
Anyone got an opinion based on what I've written about her? I wish I had a sage of a horse person to follow me around when i look at horses, but in lieu of that, you guys are always very smart and insightful, and offer great advice. :wink:

BFFofHorses 12-04-2010 03:15 PM

WEll, if you liked her-it wouldn't be hard to teach ger the other way around. That's actually just how my horse was. You know how to train horses to neck rein? By putting one rein on neck, the other direct? Well I did that, and within two weeks she could direct rein. It isn't hard. But if you don't like the mare to begin with, then don't get her. If the neck/direct rein thing is the only thing in your way, and you think you can fix it then go for it.

Ray MacDonald 12-04-2010 04:18 PM

I'm a little weird about the "train her to direct rein when she neck reins fine" It kinda bothers me.. It's really not that easy to teach neck reining. Its kind of a form of better training when a horse can neck rein.

A lot of horses are like that when you try to catch them, mine do it for the first 1/2-1 hour after you let them out, you can't get near them! lol

So.. In point form write the pros and cons about this horse.

equiniphile 12-04-2010 04:29 PM

My question is, how do you teach neck reining to a horse that doesn't direct rein???

BFFofHorses 12-04-2010 04:35 PM

Not sure if this is the proper way- but the way I was taught was to use direct pressure on one rein, while applying pressure on the neck with the other rein. This is also the way I taught my horse to direct rein.

poultrygirl 12-04-2010 04:47 PM


Originally Posted by equiniphile (Post 840182)
My question is, how do you teach neck reining to a horse that doesn't direct rein???

THIS is my EXACT point and question. It made sense. Someone had a very unique trainer :shock: It was pretty incredible.
And yes, I know neck reining is what everyone typically wants, butttttttttttt I would really love a horse that did a bit of both.

I guess pros of this horse:
+ GORGEOUS :shock: tri color paint
+ Registered. Probably could be double registered.
+Opened right up for the bit
+Stood stock still for mounting (granted someone held her while I initial got on, but none of the twitching and jigging someone else I know does :-x
+Neck reins :lol:
+Sat for months and yet never offered to buck or bolt
+half arab, but not very full of herself. a good blend.

-OVER A SEVEN HOUR DRIVE from where I live, if I decide to get her.
-Initially wouldnt go where I wanted to go, by the stallions. Kind of freaked me out at first because I was anticipating a bolt or a buck. Didn't do either. I don't know if she was in the right mood though, and you pissed her off enough.... Side note, do mares generally get cranky, hesitant near studs? Or gelding gets crazy around the stud next door (why is there is always a stallion with eyeshot to ruin wheenever I ride? whether I'm at home or away. It's like they're following me.)
-Tow big ole' knotts..see above post.
-Just western, trail. Never had any english training. Not that I ride english, but I would like to take some lessons and learn. I also would like to take a horse out in an arena to weave between poles and maybe just lope a barrel pattern for fun. Can you do that with someone who's been a trail horse their whole life?
Also..what about a twelve year old horse? Should I still be able to ride a 12 year old daily (nothing long, just 30 minutes to an hour a day) without worrying about arthritis? I'm just pondering all these things today. I've been looking at 5-6 year old horses, hadn't lookeda t one her age. We've had 17, 18 year old horses, and one was going blind and had cushings, another passed from cancer. Old horses sort of scare me for fear you'll fall in love with them and then they'll...die.

BFFofHorses 12-04-2010 05:00 PM

@Equiniphile-Oops! I thought you were asking how to teach a horse to neck rein! Silly me! That is a very good question though- I never even asked that to the woman I bought my mare from- maybe I will email her tonight :)

JennKzoo 12-04-2010 05:34 PM

Poultry, My new horse acts EXACTLY like yours. Doesn't want to be caught (that can be worked with, just start making her move when you go out to get her and don't let her stop on her own. Soon she'll decide its easier to just get caught and not be chased around LOL), he doesn't really direct rein either but will go off of leg cues and neck reining (one or the other) and he also likes to spin around and try to go back. Also mine has not been ridden much in the past year, so you can work with all of this if you really like her. Sounds like a nice little mare.

smrobs 12-04-2010 06:03 PM

One thing about horses that are ridden western most of their lives, especially by people that don't really know a ton about how to ride, they will sometimes forget how to give to direct rein pressure. I have never in my life met a horse that never learned how to be direct reined. The thing is, they are ridden neck reined for so many years that they seem to forget how to bend their neck and give to the bit to each side. It isn't an uncommon thing and it isn't impossible to re-teach, it just takes some time and training. Neck reining isn't terribly hard to teach and if she's good at it, then re-teaching her how to be supple with her neck and give to a direct rein won't hurt how she neck reins. In fact, it might actually help because she will be more willing to be supple in her face if she is supple in her neck.

upnover 12-04-2010 06:11 PM

I wouldn't be concerned about the neck reining thing. I got a project in several months ago. a 12 year old western trail horse who neck reins like a dream whose new owners want to learn to jump. I'm sure he was trained to direct rein at first too, but it's been years since he's been ridden that way, or with any kind of contact at all. He absolutely hated it if you touched his mouth at all (got his teeth done, tried different bits, it was purely a training issue). Several months down the road he's finally direct reining quite well and goes on a bit fairly decently. If you don't mind neck reining I wouldn't be concerned if he doesn't direct rein. If you're looking to direct rein you may need to find a good trainer to give him a refresher course.

I'm kind of confused about the giant knots on her side. Did she get kicked? What happened there? It's been a few YEARS??? And what about the shot??

Is she willing to let you bring the horse home on a trial? I'd see if you can do that. It'll give you a place to try her that's a little more ridable and you'll get to see how she is in new places. And get a little more used to her. If she doesn't allow for that I'd try her at least a few more times at the lady's place before making a decision.

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