bending the neck - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-27-2010, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
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Question bending the neck

I am having trouble getting my gelding to bend his neck when he turns to the left. I want to train him to run barrels since he's got good foundation quarter horse lineage, but how am I gonna get past this obstacle?? Your training tips are very much welcomed!!
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-27-2010, 06:31 AM
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Stand at his side, on the ground, and take his rein, pull it back towards you so he learns to give to pressure and will help stretch those muscles. Do it on both sides.

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post #3 of 6 Old 07-30-2010, 03:13 PM
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First, I would rule out any physical issues. My friend's horse had a twisted and compacted vertibrae near her poll that was making it difficult and painful to flex to the left. A good chiropractor can evaluate.

If there are no physical issues, I would start as White Foot has suggested asking for the flex on the ground. If your horse is OK with this, you can loosen him up before a ride by tying the reins to the saddle and letting your horse circle for a little bit in his stall. Only do this if he can easily flex from the ground and also take it very slowly !! You tie one rein (with some slack) to the horn and tie the other rein to the back cinch D ring so it requires your horse to bend his nose in that direction. Ask him to walk in his stall and the bend caused from his rein will promote walking in a circle. As he gets better and more supple, ask for a little more bend each time you warm up. Make sure to ask for the bend in both directions. When you get in the arena to warm up, ask for a lot of flexing and bending. Lastly, when you work the barrel pattern, walk around the barrel to the left and exaggerate the flex. Once your horse gets looser and more balanced in circles, he should have not problem getting flexed around the barrel.

Last edited by Ridehorses99; 07-30-2010 at 03:16 PM.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-30-2010, 03:32 PM
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Pop the rein and until he turns his nod into the flexion, then release. Eventually you should be able to bend all the way around and loosen those muscles.
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-30-2010, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome guys- Thanks for all the helpful advice!!
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-17-2010, 08:17 PM
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Instead of "pulling" the rein forcing the horse's head around, you want the horse to "give" instead of just following your hand. I would say put just enough tension for your horse to feel it in the rein, and then rest it next to the horn on the saddle to create kind of a wall. As long as the horse pulls the other direction, doesn't do anything, etc, etc, leave your hand there and keep the medium tension in the reins. As soon as you feel the horse "give", turn its head towards you so the rein has slack, or you feel a release of tension in the rein, release. Kind of the same process as others said, but wait for the horse to give BY ITSELF, instead of YOU making the horse give by pulling the rein.

Hope this helps, and good luck!!

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
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