Horse Training Tips – How to Teach a Horse to Neck Rein

Implementing these horse training tips will help teach your horse to neck rein. This is a useful skill to have which will make things like opening gates without dismounting, carrying something with your free hand or just being able to shoo away those pesky flies while trail riding. Some may think this is a difficult task but it is very simple as long as you use repetition and consistency.

Let’s start by understanding the term “direct” and “indirect” rein. The “direct” rein is the one you are directly pulling his mouth with. The “indirect” rein in the one you press on his neck. This exercise is best done with a snaffle bit, but any bit will work as long as you remember to have soft hands. Use two hands on the reins and try to keep them about a foot apart. Sit comfortably in the center of your saddle and squeeze with your legs lightly while at the same time begin to pull the horses’ head with your direct rein (left). As soon as his head begins to move to the left, press the indirect rein (right) gently on the horses’ neck. Have him walk a few steps to the left and then stop. Do this same exercise to the right by squeezing, direct rein (right), then indirect rein (left). Repeat this 10 times in each direction and repeat this every day for about a week.

By now your horse should have an idea as to what you are asking him to do. The next step will be walking him in a square. Start off by walking a few steps and then asking him to turn left with your direct and indirect rein but do not stop. Walk about 10 steps and then ask him to turn left again. Keep turning until you have reached your starting point then repeat to the right. Make 3 or 4 squares in each direction and repeat this every day for a week. Remember, repetition and consistency will affect your success.

When your horse is comfortable with the square exercise at the walk, begin doing it at a trot. This is where your horse will really learn to neck rein. Do this at a trot for a few weeks until you feel your horse is following the reins easily and without any stress. When this is achieved begin to mix it up. Walk a line and turn left, turn left again, then turn right, and right again. The goal here is to get your horse to pay attention to you and not anticipate the turns. Keep doing these exercises every day for a few more weeks. You should now be ready to do this at a slow lope. Repeat these exercises until your horse is consistent and comfortable. Once this is accomplished begin riding with one hand. He may be confused at first but remember repetition and consistency will get the job done.

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