Neck reining - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 10-08-2017, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Neck reining

I'm fairly new to horses and an advanced beginner rider. I purchased a 14yr old qh mare. Great personality as in safe but due to my inexperience at buying horse the seller seems to have overstated her abilities. She does not respond to leg pressure nor will she neck reign. She direct reigns well. After reading and consulting other horse owners i have been doing some ground work to correct the leg pressure response and doing some exercises to teach her to neck reign. 30minutes a day 3 time a week for about a month now. My question is how long until they pick up on it? I have seen really no improvement in her responses. I am not the kind of person to just give up on an animal. I purchased her now she is mine, she isnt entirely what i wanted but i would rather work with her and learn myself than discard her or disrupt her by just passing her on to another
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post #2 of 18 Old 10-08-2017, 02:52 PM
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If she has not picked up on the correct cues for neck reining by this time, your methods of teaching her are not clear enough. There is no doubt something you are doing that is creating confusion or lack of clarity about what you want. I don't mean to sound harsh, but a horse should be able to pick up on something much, much faster than that.

Can you describe the ground work you are doing?

I think that you will probably have better luck teaching her to neck rein from the saddle.

Lastly, what sort of bit are you using?
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post #3 of 18 Old 10-08-2017, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlierock79 View Post
After reading and consulting other horse owners i have been doing some ground work to correct the leg pressure response
Puts on confused hat? The only way you can correct leg pressure response is in the saddle, not on the ground, sure you can reinforce moving away from pressure from the ground, but most horses learn that in a few short sessions, then of you want him to react to the leg, then you have to be on board and use the leg.

It is entirely possible that the owner did not overstate the horses capabilities, the issue maybe that you do not have the skills to communicate with her, that is nothing against you, just fact....is there somewhere that you can have some instruction? I call my instructor my translator, she shows me the right way to ask Fergie for something, and then we get it...sometimes it is the smallest of things that cause a breakdown in communication.

“Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity”
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post #4 of 18 Old 10-08-2017, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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She is in a d ring snaffle. I was advised that was a starter bit. The ground work has been for leg pressure drill. Having her on a lead and applying hand pressure to simulate leg pressure and releasing pressure when she moves. In the saddle i have been draping outside reign over her neck and waiting for response if no response the giving cue with inside reign while outside reign is draped over neck and outside leg pressure applied. It may very well be me. This is why i ask these questions in the forum
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post #5 of 18 Old 10-08-2017, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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My neighbor has given me some lessons. He has some show horses etc... He told me it looks like she has been started and either never finished or just left idle for a long period
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post #6 of 18 Old 10-08-2017, 05:38 PM
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so, you are saying that when you do the hand pressure on her side to ask her to move over, that it takes a long time for her to respond? She is sluggish in her response, and you have to get really hard on her?

My guess is that her overall response to you and your handling of her is probably 'sluggish' and dull. For example, when you lead her, does she lag behind and put a drag on the lead line? Do you have to pull her forward?
If you ask her to back up, does she resist, resist and then do it by dragging her feet?

If you ask her to go forward, when you are riding, does it take a lot to make her go from a walk to a trot, or a halt to a trot?

If you round pen her, is she resistant to get up into a nice canter?


My guess is that she has a lot of 'drag' in her feet and in her mind, so, you are being slow and patient, putting on the signal and she sort of 'blahs' her way into responding, and does this in many if not all ways that you handle her.

IF what I am suggesting describes , at least in part, your horse, then the ground work should first and foremost be about getting her unstuck in her feet and attitude, so that she is responding lightly and energetically to any request you make of her that involves moving her feet.

Once she is light there, she will be much lighter on any rein (not 'reign') signal you give.

The D ring snaffle is as good as any for a training bit.
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post #7 of 18 Old 10-08-2017, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Yes to everything. She is a very lazy horse. Leg pressure starts the walk easy. Lots of kicking to get her to trot. Canter is even more difficult. She does drag behind when on a lead. She resists backing up. When going forward leg pressure does not keeo her tracking straight she must constantly be correcred with the reins. So i am going to say everything you say is correct. That being understood what groundwork do you suggest
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post #8 of 18 Old 10-08-2017, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlierock79 View Post
Yes to everything. She is a very lazy horse. Leg pressure starts the walk easy. Lots of kicking to get her to trot. Canter is even more difficult. She does drag behind when on a lead. She resists backing up. When going forward leg pressure does not keeo her tracking straight she must constantly be correcred with the reins. So i am going to say everything you say is correct. That being understood what groundwork do you suggest
I would suggest quit the ground work and ride her, if there is no medical reason why either of you are not able to ride together.

For changes of pace carry a whip, then ask you ask for up transitions, squeeze, add kick if needed, doesn't respond, one good wack behind the leg, make sure you don't catch her mouth if she springs forward. You need her respecting that squeeze and she needs to know there are consequences for not responding.

For riding straight, so often rider error, try and fix on a spot well ahead of where you want to be, focus and ride straight for it....the big problem you can run into here, ask me how I know, is over correcting, I have ridden a lot of wobbly lines trying to go straight, and it was all down to me.
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post #9 of 18 Old 10-08-2017, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlierock79 View Post
Yes to everything. She is a very lazy horse. Leg pressure starts the walk easy. Lots of kicking to get her to trot. Canter is even more difficult. She does drag behind when on a lead. She resists backing up. When going forward leg pressure does not keeo her tracking straight she must constantly be correcred with the reins. So i am going to say everything you say is correct. That being understood what groundwork do you suggest

yeah! I took a big risk making those guesses, and a part of me is glad that I was right, but the other part is not so glad for YOU~!

Ok, so , the thing is, the first thing you want to get out of this horse is FORWARD!!!
like some kind of bugler's charge . . ."Forward charge!"

No, seriously, more forward is the cure to 90% of horse issue, and , fortunately, it's not the hardest thing to deal with.
I wish I could be with you and watch you work with this mare, so please forgive the assumptions I am making. My guess is that you are , yourself, kind of dull in how you prestent your 'asks' to the mare, and consequently, both of you are, to a certain degree, sleepwalking though the whole process, and not making any real CHANGES.

This is what I challenge you to look for in this mare; changes. When you ask her to do something, and youv'e asked many times before, is she giving you the same level as before? or, is it changing? for the better or worse? You want to see changes in her behavior, as this is what training is all about; changing things.

Ok. specifically, If I were to ask a hrose to go, in the round pen, and the horse was just kind of lollygagging along, I'd give a quiet ask, a firm 'tell' and then , by God, I'd fall apart!!! I'd do something that created a real CHANGE in the horse's behavior. I'd make a bit of noise, flap the flag good and noisy like, or spank the ground noisily with the tail fo the leadrope, or smack my thigh with my hat, or kick sand some where . . . whatever it takes for that horse to say, "WHAT????? WTH!!?????" and look at me like I was crazy.

THEN . . . .. I'd quietly ask, "go forward!" and I'd want a change that was equal to the level of my ask. If I whispered, Id want a small forward. IF I shouted, I'd want a big change.

YOu see what I'm getting at? YOu are spending so long in the 'gray ' area that you are dulling her out. If you are sure that your ask is ok (meaning you aren't asking her to go forward in the round pen while simultaneously standing in front of her blocking her ), and she is pretty much blowing you off, you need to get serious and wake her up.

You need to require more of her, and be very , very clear when you ask that you GET what you asked for. NEVER walk away from a request until you've gotten some kind of change from your horse, some kind of REAL ANSWER>

Can you envision what I am talking about?
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post #10 of 18 Old 10-09-2017, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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It is pretty much as you say. I see no real improvement by the days so i kind of boringly repeat the same circles and squares over and over again. My neigbor, who isnt a man of many words, instructed me to put her in pen and keep her trotting and turning. Constantly for 30 minutes a day. I did this for a few days then stopped to try to work on her neck reining. After reading what you just wrote i think that his advice was in line with what you said, the purpose being to get her use to going and being active. I didnt realize the goal until now. To clarify what you are saying, i should focus on getting her livened up and active and not so droopy and lazy.?
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