A method of communication between horse and rider allows the horse to be guided by subtle pressure applied to the reins on either side of the horse’s neck. It is a technique used in western riding disciplines, such as western pleasure and trail riding, and can be a great way to gain trust and connection with your horse.
The horse understands the basics of being ridden. The horse has to respond to the rider’s leg, weight and seat cues. The rider can begin neck reining once the horse has these basics down.
The rider should sit in the saddle and walk the horse. The reins should be held in the correct position, with the reins running through the rider’s hands and fingers, and the horse’s neck in the center of the rider’s arms. The horse should be able to feel the pressure despite the slack reins.
The rider should gently pull the outside rein away from the horse’s neck by using their outside hand. This will cause the horse’s head to turn. The rider should let go of the pressure and reward the horse with a scratch or pat.
The inside rein can be introduced if the horse responds to the outside rein. The inside rein should be pulled away from the horse’s neck. The horse should turn its head. The rider should let go and reward the horse with a scratch or pat.
The rider can ask for more complex maneuvers once the horse is turning both directions. To turn the horse in a circle, the rider can ask the horse to turn its head away from the circle and then pull the reins to the outside. This will cause the horse to turn. The rider can push the horse into the turn using their legs. Light pressure can be applied until the horse stops, if the rider pulls both reins back.
It is a great way to build trust with your horse. The rider can use subtle pressure to communicate with the horse, which can help them be more effective. The horse and rider can become a team that understands each other’s cues with practice.