Bit for neck reining? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 01-29-2020, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Bit for neck reining?

I was thinking about teaching Pony to neck rein. He's in a one-piece dogbone type bit. Will that be OK?

Also if anyone has any tips, feel free to share them. He's a really fast learner.

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post #2 of 31 Old 01-29-2020, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
I was thinking about teaching Pony to neck rein. He's in a one-piece dogbone type bit. Will that be OK?

Also if anyone has any tips, feel free to share them. He's a really fast learner.

Can you post a picture of your bit? I'm confused by your description. Is the mouthpiece one solid piece? Or are there two joints in it (typical of a dogbone mouthpiece)


You technically don't need a bit at all in order to teach your horse to neck rein, because the bit has nothing to do with it. It's about using your SEAT and LEGS, and then laying the rein on the horse's neck to "push" the horse in the direction you want them to go. In the begining while they are learning, you will also use a supporting direct (plow) rein. As the horse learns, you just eventually stop using the direct rein and tada, they are neck reining.

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post #3 of 31 Old 01-29-2020, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I used the wrong terminology. It's a Mullen-mouth bit. I just think of them as a dogbone because they look like a bone to me. It's this one:

https://www.tackroomonline.com/happy...iABEgI6rPD_BwE
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post #4 of 31 Old 01-29-2020, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
Sorry, I used the wrong terminology. It's a Mullen-mouth bit. I just think of them as a dogbone because they look like a bone to me. It's this one:

https://www.tackroomonline.com/happy...iABEgI6rPD_BwE
I never thought about it, but you're right. It does look like a dog bone.

That will work.

To me teaching to neck rein is tricky just because it does involve the seat and legs more.

There are some great videos on YouTube that explain a process in as many ways as there are You Tube clinicians. The good thing about that is that you can trust it is possible for anyone to teach a horse to neck rein!
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Last edited by boots; 01-29-2020 at 09:04 PM.
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post #5 of 31 Old 01-29-2020, 09:01 PM
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I taught all my grandad’s horses and my horses to neck with a low port curb.

IMO they only need a bit they are comfortable with and listen to.

Also, they all knew how to neck rein and back up with the reins before anyone got on their backs. I was about 13 when I figured out how to do that on a day I was bored and the horses were too young to be ridden.

They couldn’t pinky finger neck rein but they were well broke to neck reining when it came time to ride them. In all fairness we didn’t have a young horse over 14.H and I was 5’4” so the process was easy:)
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post #6 of 31 Old 01-29-2020, 09:31 PM
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Hondo neck reins just fine without a bit.
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post #7 of 31 Old 01-29-2020, 09:41 PM
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Neck reining is not the same as directing a horse via leg and seat. Leg and seat can be irrelevant to neck reining, as it is when I neck rein. I simply move one hand forward 6 inches, so the rein will be against a different spot on the neck than normal, then left or right. I do not use leg cues. My seat? I feel free to cue him to go left while twisted around right to look behind me.

It is not bit specific. Once taught, it works bitless, with a snaffle, with a one piece curb, with a Billy Allen curb...it doesn't depend on the bit or my seat.

It is a CUE: a standard way of asking the horse to respond in a way we train him to respond. I like to move my hand forward because that is how the Cavalry taught it:

"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....By using the left opening rein in early training, and later combining the right bearing rein with it, obedience to the right bearing rein [Note: Neck Rein] alone is easily taught." italics in the text

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Moving the hand forward first, in my experience, also forms what the military would call a preparatory command - a command to get ready, you are about to be asked to do something. Then the command of execution - turn now - is merely a left or right movement.

Of course, like many things in horses, it can be as simple or as complex as you wish. I like simple cues and find my horses interpret them in context of the situation. Others like more detailed or more subtle cues. It depends on you, your horse, your goals, etc.

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post #8 of 31 Old 01-29-2020, 09:44 PM
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My horse ice neck reins with just a rope halter and lead rope tied as reins. Also neck reins with just a rope around his neck.

No bit needed to teach a horse to neck rein. Ice was mostly ridden bitless for first two years I owned him. And I taught him to neck rein, bitless.

No bit required to get horses neck reining.
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post #9 of 31 Old 01-30-2020, 01:46 AM
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I used to think of neck reining, when I had little knowledge of training 'disciplines' & specifics, as a specific rein only thing, as bsms says. Then had some western lessons many years ago & it was explained to me it was just another cue you could 'tack on' to seat, leg & direct reining, so the horse will learn to associate any of those in the same manner. That's what I've always done - ultimately want horse responding to just seat, so I go seat, leg, neckrein, then direct rein, if earlier cues need backing up.

But recently my kids had a lesson with a western guy said they were wrong to use seat/leg cue to turn the forehand - apparently done thing is seat/leg to yield hind quarters n rein only for forehand. Didn't agree with this personally but we aren't going to be competing western or anything...
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post #10 of 31 Old 01-30-2020, 02:58 AM
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Oh & I don't use a bit at all - until they're trained well enough at least.
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