I nearly fell off my horse today... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-08-2017, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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I nearly fell off my horse today...

...because I was laughing so much :)

My mare used to be a trail horse. Her training was: no spooking, bucking or kicking, go forward. I started jumping with her last month. She LOVES it.

Anyhow, I thought I'd try western neck reining with her today because I was told by the seller that she's been trained in it.

Right. Zig-zagging all over the school. And then she sets her sights on a jump - off we go! I didn't have enough time to gather the reins but I stopped her with my seat somehow. I should have let her jump.

She thought I lost my mind because I was laughing so much. "Swell. Who's going to get me carrots now?"

Also, I don't suppose you guys know if neck-reining can be done with a snaffle bit? Maybe that's what went wrong - not the fact that I have zero idea how it's supposed to be done :)
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-08-2017, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Horsef View Post

Also, I don't suppose you guys know if neck-reining can be done with a snaffle bit? Maybe that's what went wrong - not the fact that I have zero idea how it's supposed to be done :)
Yes neck reining can be done with a snaffle, curb or no bit! So that wasn't your issue..neck raining comes mainly from the seat
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-08-2017, 03:56 PM
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No kidding! It comes from the seat. I did not know that! Haha all our funny experiences with horses!!
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-08-2017, 03:58 PM
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Yes, you can neck rein in a snaffle. There are a couple of approaches.

The style taught by the military, frequently seen in polo and other higher speed riding is described by George Morris thus:

"Both hands move over in the direction of turn, which causes the outside rein to press against and even cross the horse's neck. It is not surprising that this rein aid is a commonly used western control, for it demands a prompt turn of the animal's shoulders by its bearing action, hence the name "bearing" rein. I do not teach this or advocate this rein aid for normal hunter or equitation riding, but restrict it to sharp turns in a jumper time class where the emphasis lies on speed and instantaneous response..." Hunt Seat Equitation
The US Cavalry manual described it thus for a left turn:
"The right hand is carried just over the crest of the neck, and acts toward the left front. The rein, to be effective, should bear against the right side of the upper half of the neck, as this part of the neck is more sensitive to the rein than that near the shoulders. It is an artificial effect, and not powerful, but is the one habitually used with trained horses, to change direction without changing speed, particularly in polo. By using the left opening rein in early training, and later combining the right bearing rein with it, obedience to the right bearing rein is easily taught....The rider's legs normally remain in place, acting only to sustain the gait."
That is the way I like to do it. In the picture below, Bandit is using a solid shank curb bit, but he acts the same in a snaffle. The rein is pressing against the right side of his neck as he turns left. The horse does not get confused at the pulling on the right side of the mouth because horses don't analyze bits. They seek release, and Bandit knows what is expected of him - so his head is turned left and his feet are moving us to the left, doing a fairly tight 180 turn.

FWIW, he responds well to neck reining like this even if afraid or in tight quarters.

A different approach is used with some western riding, using a lot more slack in the reins. The video below is the one I used to teach my horses neck reining, even though he doesn't like the approach I use. The way he teaches it, though, still works. The second video makes a good point about teaching a horse neck reining:

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-08-2017, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Golden Horse View Post
Yes neck reining can be done with a snaffle, curb or no bit! So that wasn't your issue..neck raining comes mainly from the seat
Yup, it's never the bit. Or the horse.
I knew that... I was just trying to get off easy :)
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-18-2017, 02:52 AM
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You can neck riding at Liberty as well, if the horse gives to pressure on the opposite side. In other words, moves away from a push as well as coming towards a pull. Hence the term "broke".... meaning resistance is broke, gives to pressure whether it's a push or a pull or a squeeze or a nudge or a bump...

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