Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
When direct reining, and especially with your horse who isn't really finished to neck rein YET, you must follow the bit. If you DON'T, you will hit your horse in the mouth at the walk and at the canter. It sounds like your horse is still green, and so are you.
Your horse, Pistol, needs training and You need training, too. Most horses are started with a snaffle bit and should understand some rein contact.
The picture above is correct, but it doesn't explain how you learn to follow, which is with your arms, first, and then you follow with your fingers. A horse can feel a fly land on him, and your can use less effort than it would take to pull a mouse with a string and your finished horse can feel and respond to that.
Most of horse training is for your horse to totally trust you, and then he learns to follow trained cues and become immediately obedient. Until your horse gets there, your horse will revert to his instincts and tune your out when he becomes frightened.
One more thing, as we learn to be an effective rider we learn to stop curling up in a ball when the horse frightens us and to isolate our torsos and balance from each of our legs and each of our arms and hands, and they all work independantly.
The best way, IMHO, to begin this process, is to ride a very safe horse, any saddle will do, without stirrups. I suggest, to start, one full week, one hour every day at the WALK, without stirrups. Your horse won't do for this exercise, but the exercise will force to sit correctly balanced and to learn to follow the horse's movement with your own body and in sync with your horse. It is both an easy exercise and a physically demanding exercise at the same time, but, with a safe horse, that will whoa for you whenever you feel your balance slipping, it is a fast start to a "good seat." =D