our horse training tips, our philosophy is for gentle, no resistance
training methods that help our horses work with us, not against
us. When our horse is confident in us, we can be confident in our
horse. We believe that everyone can have a relationship with a horse
like no other animal on earth. Hopefully, these tips will help you.
Teaching your horse to neck rein is not as complicated
as most people think, but it does take time, effort and consistency.
We must let the horse know what we want him to do and work with
him consistently enough that he will respond EVERY time we ask him.
The response must become second nature (automatic) to the horse.
And it becomes second nature by lots of repetition and consistency.
This is best done with a snaffle bit, but any bit will work if
you remember not to use too much force with your hands. Use two
hands on the reins and try to keep your hands about a foot apart.
We start the training by sitting comfortably in the center of the
saddle. Now squeeze your legs lightly and with your direct rein
(left) begin to pull the horse's head to gently to the left. As
soon as his head begins to move to the left, press the indirect
rein (right) gently on the horse's neck. Let him walk a few steps
to the left and then stop him. Now, reverse the exercise and do
it to the right. Squeeze legs, direct rein to the right, press indirect
rein on neck, walk a few steps and stop. Repeat this exercise about
10 times in each direction and repeat everyday for about a week.
By this time the horse should be pretty accustomed to the feel of
the reins and have an inkling of what you want.
If you are confused about direct and indirect reins, remember that
the direct rein is the one you directly pull his mouth with and
the indirect rein is the one you press on his neck. Remember to
use only as much pressure as you need to get the job done since
the idea is to get the results with as light a cue as possible.
Try lightly, then harder if you don't get results. And always go
back to lighter as soon as the horse understands what you want.
The next exercise we call "squares". Start by walking
in a straight line. Now make a 90 degree turn to the left while
you walk by pulling the direct rein to the left, and then the indirect
rein. Instead of stopping, keep walking forward for 8 or 10 steps
and make another left turn the same way as the first. Walk 8 or
ten steps and make a third turn, then a forth. You should have now
walked a "square" with 4 turns and be back to about where
you began. Next, reverse the exercise and make a square to the right.
Make 3 or 4 squares in each direction and repeat everyday for a
week or so.
When you pull the horse or press the indirect rein, if the horse
doesn't respond, bump him with your outside leg/foot. This should
get him to follow the pressure of the reins. At this stage, everything
should be slow and easy so as to let the horse know what you want
without getting upset.
When you are comfortable that the horse is doing squares well at
the walk, begin doing the exercise at the trot. This is where your
horse will really learn neck reining. Do the squares exercise at
the trot for a few weeks until the horse feels like he is following
the reins easily and without any stress. Once he is comfortable
with the squares at the trot, begin to mix it up. Walk a line and
turn left, turn left again, then turn right, and right again. Mix
the turns up anyway you want. The idea here is to get the horse
to pay attention to you and not anticipate the turns but actually
turn whenever you give the cues for either direction. Keep doing
these exercises everyday for a few more weeks.
When everything is going smoothly at the trot, try the squares
at a slow lope. Of course you repeat until the horse is consistent
and comfortable doing the exercise.
I know this is a lot of repetition, but that is how your get the
job done and make the horse consistently follow your cues. You can
also mix up the exercises as your horse learns. Work a few minutes
at the trot, then at the walk, then lope off and do a few squares
at the lope.
After your horse is comfortable with the squares exercise at the
three gaits, begin riding some with one hand. He might not be quite
so sure with one hand riding, but he will get used to it quickly.
If he seems really bad with one hand, go back to two hands and do
the exercises more. And remember that if your horse does not respond
well enough to the reins, give him a bump with your foot. He will
get the message.
The real keys to success are repetition and consistency. (same
keys for most things we want to teach our horse). If you keep at
it, you will be happy with the results. If you try this exercise
(or any of our other lessons), we would appreciate it if you would
write to us to let us know how the training went. We are beginning
to compile some success stories to publish on the website.
Once again, we at Hideaway Quarter Horses wish you and your horse
all good things. And remember .be good to your horse!
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DISCLAIMER: This is intended as an educational,
idea sharing forum for discussion purposes. It is not intended as
a substitute for necessary professional training by a professional
horse trainer. Activities around horses carry an inherent risk of
injury or death. You participate in equine activities (including training)
at your own risk. Hence, Hideaway Stables and John & Kristy Milchick
denies any responsibility or liability for any injury or death of
any person attempting these training techniques.
HIDEAWAY QUARTER HORSES
John & Kristy Milchick
10234 Boston Road
Boston, Kentucky 40107
502-833-0325 Farm - 502-833-0405 Fax
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