Neck Rein Your Horse in 5 Steps
With a snaffle, you can apply lateral (side) and vertical pressure without causing your gelding any pain or discomfort. Some people do switch to a shanked bit once their horses are trained to neck rein, but I’ve found a smooth snaffle bit can offer great control for the horse’s entire life.
Neck reining is pretty much like it sounds. It is a basic rider control used to ask your horse to go right or left. You apply, or lay, a rein against your horse’s neck to cue and direct his motion. It’s what allows you to guide your horse with just a single hand on the reins.
A neck strap is a simple piece of leather that goes around a horse’s neck. The rider can hold onto it to increase stability without pulling on the horse’s mouth. Neck straps are often seen in show jumping and eventing disciplines, but any rider can use this handy tool.
A neck rein is a type of indirect rein aid. The horse responds to a neck rein when it has learned that a light pressure of the right rein against its neck on that side means for the horse to turn left, and vice versa.
One of the most common types of snaffle bit is the eggbutt, which is the considered to be the gentlest type of snaffle bit because it doesn’t pinch the corners of the mouth. It has an egg-shaped connection between the mouthpiece and the bit-ring.
Step 1: Direct Reining
This is done in a snaffle bit, preferably in a smooth dog bone or mullen mouth. (Read more on choosing bit mouth pieces and western snaffle bits.) If you want to turn right, just pick up on the right rein adding a few ounces of pressure.
The hackamore allows you to use direct-rein cues, just like a snaffle, but begins to introduce the concept of neck reining. … That concept is further honed with the two-rein setup and then eventually the bridle. But the hackamore isn’t exclusive to reined cow horses.
“Start off at a standstill, and pull out gently, not back, on one rein until the horse bends his neck around without pulling or bracing against the hand. Keep the hand pressure gentle but steady, and as soon as the horse gives to the pressure—even the tiniest little bit—reward him by releasing the rein.