Training A Horse To Neck Rein

I’m sure we’ve all wondered how to train a horse to neck rein. Well, I only got one good answer that really works, doing it right and getting a great result. This is the way I did it when I was a kid back in the ’60s in Kentucky. Of course, nowadays they don’t let you do this because there’s too much liability. But I saw it done back in my day!

The neck rein is best introduced when the horse has been well grounded in the basics of the bridle and has good halter manners. The purpose of this article is to explain how to teach a horse to neck rein along with some exercises that may come in handy for you one day.

When you are training a horse to neck rein, the first step is to get the horse used to being in contact with the rider’s hands and arms. The best way to do this is to put on a bridle and saddle, sit on top of the horse, and hold your hands out in front of you for it to sniff. When the horse has had enough time to smell your hands, gently stroke its face with them. Do this every day for about ten minutes at a time until the horse is comfortable with having your hands around its head.

Once that is done, it is time for actual training! To begin with, make sure that both yourself and your horse are wearing helmets. Then take off your helmet and roll up one sleeve of your shirt so that there’s just enough room for one hand in between it and your body. Then take hold of one rein (with just one hand) and place it over your shoulder so that it comes up behind you. Now ride around like this for about ten minutes while focusing on keeping both yourself and your horse calm throughout the exercise. Repeat this process with both reins until they become familiar with being held by them while riding around calmly together at a walk or trotting pace.”

Neck reining is a method of training a horse to respond to the reins by pulling back on, or “holding,” the reins. This type of training is useful for teaching the horse to respond to subtle cues from the rider and often leads to better responses when riding.

To train your horse to neck rein, begin by placing him in a halter, tie him somewhere that he cannot walk away from you (such as in a stall), and place a piece of rope between his forelegs. Keep this rope short so that he cannot step over it. Then take the reins and place them around his neck so that they are lightly touching his skin.

Now that your horse is ready for training, take one rein in each hand and gently pull them towards yourself until you feel tension on the reins. As soon as you do this, release pressure on both reins at once so that they return to their original position against his neck. Repeat this process until your horse has learned how much tension should be applied when pulling back on each rein individually—you’ll know he’s figured out what you’re asking because he’ll start taking steps towards himself with each pullback motion (this is called “counterbalancing”).

Training A Horse To Neck Rein

To introduce neck reining, start off riding your horse two-handed, with one rein in each hand. Even though the goal of neck reining is to ride with both reins in one hand, the initial training doesn’t start that way.

The first exercise I would suggest begins with riding a square pattern. At the walk, you’re going to ride straight forward for about 10 metres and then make a 90-degree turn to the left, ride forward another 10 metres, followed by another 90-degree turn to the left, and just keep repeating this. You’re only going to work one direction in the beginning.

To make the turns, you will pull lightly on the inside rein (the left rein, in this case) and then lay the outside rein (the right rein, in this case) against the right side of the horse’s neck at the same time. Once the horse completes the turn, take the pressure off of both reins until you ask your horse to turn again. The exercise should be very easy at this point because your horse will turn from the pull on the left rein. Laying the right rein against his neck introduces the idea of neck reining. Repeat the square several times turning to the left and give your horse little breaks when he’s doing a good job. Once he is doing well, change direction. To turn right, pull lightly on the right rein and lay the left rein against the left side of your horse’s neck.

When first introducing neck reining, I don’t use my legs to help steer the horse. I want him concentrating on learning the neck rein, and I find that if I’m using my legs too, my horse is likely listening to my legs more than the neck rein aid. Once a horse knows the neck rein, I go back to using my legs to help steer.

Once your horse is doing the squares well going in both directions at the walk, repeat the exercise at a trot. Trot many squares both directions over the course of a few training sessions.

Because you have been laying the outside rein against your horse’s neck while walking and trotting the squares, he should be starting to associate the rein against his neck with turning. So, now it’s time to make it the horse’s responsibility to turn when he feels that pressure. Now when you ask for a turn, lay the outside rein again the neck first – if your horse responds and turns, release the pressure to let him know that that’s what you wanted. If he doesn’t turn from the neck rein, give a little pull on the inside rein to help him make the turn and just keep repeating this exercise. Give him the chance to turn from the neck rein, and if he doesn’t, use the inside rein as back up. Repeat this exercise trotting squares to the left and to the right, at the walk and the trot, over the course of several days of training sessions. After a few days, your horse should be starting to neck rein if you have used good timing because he should know that if he doesn’t turn from the neck rein you will correct him by putting light pressure on the inside rein.

Now put both reins in one hand while doing the squares. If you’re riding a square turning left, hold the reins in your left hand. Have the reins crossed through the centre of your hand – this allows you to use your fingers to play with the reins to help guide your horse if need be. Ask your horse to turn left by moving your left hand to the left, which will lay the right rein against his neck. If he turns, be sure to release the rein pressure as a reward. If he doesn’t turn, use your fingers to put a little bit of pressure on the left rein to help guide him. Once he’s doing well turning left, put both reins in your right hand and repeat the exercise turning right. To turn right, move your hand to the right, which will lay the left rein against your horse’s neck, and if he doesn’t turn, use the fingers on your right hand put a little bit of pressure on the right rein to help him make the turn.

You can now move away from the squares. Ride your horse in a round pen or arena. Ride straight at a wall and right before you get there, ask your horse to turn by using the neck rein. Your horse is going to want to turn anyway to avoid bumping into the wall, so when you ask for a turn using the neck rein he will likely turn willingly. Repeat this exercise; keep riding directly at the fence or arena walls and turn using the neck rein right before you get there. This gives the horse a reason to turn, which will help him learn the lesson much faster.

Once your horse is doing that well, ride parallel to the arena wall or round pen fence staying about two metres away from the fence. Then ask your horse to turn 180 degrees toward the fence and go back the other way using the neck rein. Travel down the fence a little ways then make another about turn toward the fence and go back in the direction you came from. (See diagram below, left.) Keep repeating these turns toward the fence and going the other way – basically this is a series of rollbacks. When you’re making a turn to the right, hold the reins in your right hand and then switch the reins to your left hand to make a turn to the left. Again, the turns into the fence help your horse to see a reason for turning and the fence also tightens your turns.

Once your horse is doing these exercises well, he should have a pretty good start on neck reining. Now hold the reins in your left hand (the hand people typically use when showing), leaving only one finger between the reins, and don’t change hands when you want to change directions anymore. If your horse is neck reining well then congratulations on a job well done. If he’s not neck reining well, go back and repeat some of all of the previous exercises.

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