How do I teach my horse to neck rein?
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 horse’s 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. Don’t 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 won’t 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.
Going to do my best to explain this in typed words.
Neck reining is pretty easy & straightforward to teach. Think of it as ask, show & remind. Ask is your neck rein, show is your direct rein, and remind is leg pressure from your outside leg. It should work in one fluid motion, rein on the neck lightly, direct just to show them where to go & follow their nose & leg to reinforce the maneuver. Hands work almost like a shoveling motion but not so pronounced. Think of your 2 hands holding a stick level and lift off to the side towards your shoulder, make that gesture much less pronounced and that's how hands should work to teach, lifting their shoulder slightly at first.
Be sure to ask for even pressure, using your direct rein heavier will leave you with a horse tipping it's nose in instead of truly neck reining and staying between your reins. Using your indirect (neck) rein heavier will confuse a horse. At first just ask for a step or 2 over until they get it, if pushed and asked for too much too fast they will bind up and get confused. If they get "stuck" walk straight out of it and start over. Once they've figured out moving a step or 2 at a time graduate to playing drunk driver and moving them back and forth each direction. Once they are responsive there ask for more turning. Slowly close the distance between your hands as your progress and eventually you will be riding one handed.
once your horse understands a simple neck rein ("ask" with the neck rein and "show" with the direct rein) do as many 180 degree turns as you can, with a straight line inbetween them, using as small amount of "reins and releases" as possible. so on day one you may have to do 180 1 degree turns with the neck rein with a quick release between each 1 degree, but the number will quickly reduce and the horse will start turning faster sharper and with the appropriate bend from less sets of reins and releases.
this may sound silly, but i'm training my QH gelding and he's already starting to catch :)
ok so you prob ride with direct rein, or english i'm assuming. so before you ride and put the reins over his head, cross the reins right before so there is an x below his chin. it may sound crazy and weird but trust me it works! like the second i got on him he started neck reining, because the pressure from the bit was opposite so he is learning that the pressure on his neck means to go that certain way. i also found this was the quickest way lol. and also, if your horse doesn't seem to understand, and you have to direct rein him, you'll prob get confused and pull the wrong rein, thinking it;s the correct one lol..did that a few times so you have to pull with the opposite rein.
sorry if any of that's confusing. best of luck!
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