When training your horse, you certainly have many options to choose from, and this is just one. I am going to outline the steps to take to teach your horse a very useful skill – neck reining. Whether you ride English or Western, there will inevitably come a time while riding when we will find ourselves in a situation where we need to open a gate, or brush those pesky flies away. This is when you will be glad that you taught your horse neck reining, so that you have one hand free to take care of these kinds of things.
First, and this is pretty important, you want to make sure that both you and your horse are awake and attentive. I know that sounds like a no brainer, but if you are preoccupied with something else, your horse will sense it and you will pretty much be wasting both of your time. Anther thing is to have patience. Just like people, horses all learn at different rates. Just go slow, keep trying, be patient, and your horse will get it, trust me. Just to give you a rough time frame, it will probably take at least several days to a week for your horse to get the hang of neck reining.
1. Tack up and mount your horse. Try to keep your shoulders square, and begin with both reins in your non-dominant hand. Keep some slack in the reins, and hold the reins with your thumb facing upwards a few inches away from the center of your body. The excess reins will come through the bottom of your hand.
2. Begin by deliberately walking your horse in a straight line, and know where you want your horse to make the turn. Let’s say that you would like for your horse to turn right. Slightly lift your hand to the right and lay the left rein onto the right side of your horse’s neck. Since you don’t want your horse’s head to tip to the outside, you want him to lead with his nose, don’t pull on the bit. You do not need to use any pressure.
3. Don’t forget about your other aids as well. At the same time you are laying the rein on your horse’s neck, apply pressure with your right leg to encourage your horse to bend in that direction. When you are teaching your horse, make sure that you don’t do the same exact pattern day in and day out. Change it around so that the horse will really understand the command that you are trying to teach him.
4. After your horse has made the turn, immediately release the pressure and return your reins to the center of your body. Practice doing this in both directions, using the opposite rein and leg to turn your horse to the left.
5. The neck reining sessions should be about 15 minutes long, and if available, working in a fenced in area is best. Make your corners sharp and deliberate. This will help your horse learn to neck rein faster. Also several short teaching sessions are better than one long one. Before you know it, you will both be experts!
Linda Burton is an experienced equestrian with extensive knowledge of horses and horse riding equipment. She is happy to share her knowledge with other horse lovers, and you can visit http://www.buyhorseridingequipment.com for all of your horse’s tack as well a variety of items to fulfill your horses needs.
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Linda Burton is an experienced equestrian with extensive knowledge of horses and horse riding equipment. She is happy to share her knowledge with other horse lovers, and you can visit www.buyhorseridingequipment.com for all of your horse’s tack as well a variety of items to fulfill your horses needs.
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