beau159 and kolorisingstudio,
Your points are well taken. As stated, I have never seen or tried the method. Like most things, a quick explanation on the net from someone unfamiliar with a technique usually leaves out some important detail. As I have heard of some people having success with the method (presumably done properly) I thought to give it the benefit of the doubt.
If I had every thought to try it, I would first find someone experienced with the technique to first show me how. At that point I would make my own judgement on it. At this point, I am guessing. :)
I completely understand and agree with your points.
As to "pressure" vs. "touch" - this is a semantic difference. When properly/well trained the pressure we refer to should only be a "touch." This not only applies to neck reining, but also leg "pressure" or any other kind of physical cue.
As beau159 points out, a horse first learning to neck rein will often need additional reinforcement of a direct rein. The criss-cross method - as it was explained to me - is supposed to provide that reinforcement when needed. It is simply a training aid and not a long-term solution.
why would it be so hard to simply lift your inside hand for a direct rein cue reinforcement rather than crossing the reins
A very good question and why I am also skeptical about the criss-cross concept. The criss-cross is supposed to _replace_ the inside hand direct rein reinforcement. I _think_ the concept might be in support of your point about bit pressure. Teaching neck reining with the one=handed criss-cross might prevent riders from exerting too much bit pressure while just giving the horse a little extra reinforcement.
I sometimes ride with a bitless bridle. That system basically employs a criss-cross method. When you direct rein to the left, your aren't actually "pulling" so much as "pushing" the head due to the design (where the pull or push can be as light as a "touch" depending on the rider's hands and softness of the horse).
Again, I am not endorsing or supporting this method, nor have I ever seen it done. I have heard of it enough to know that _some_ people consider it a valid training tool and have success with it. There are some very counter-intuitive things about it (as pointed out in the above posts) which make me skeptical. Since some have had success with it I have to think there is _something_ to the method. My explanations are simply guesses based on my limited knowledge of the technique and a desire to reason out how it could possibly work. I don't like to totally discount a method until I have seen it done properly.
Hope I clarified my comments on this. :)