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Old 04-17-2014, 10:23 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 116
Default Neck Reining

Do true bridle horses neck rein? One of the neat things about bridle horses is each horse and rider is different. When you put the two together they can make a variety of combinations. A recent discussion over on Facebook that started with the question about the difference between a post rein and a working rein when riding in the hackamore sparked another topic that I think deserves some discussion. I have heard both sides to the discussion and I have ridden horses that have been trained to neck rein and others who don't. I have my preference and what I think a true bridle horse works best with but I will present both sides as I have heard them and hope for a good discussion.

Argument 1:
Yes, bridle horses are the king of neck reining. The bridle reins are built with buttons, these buttons work against the horses neck as a signal. Similarly when training a horse in the hackamore the rider uses a horse hair mecate. The horse hair is prickly and helps the horse recognize this as a signal and works as a neck rein. The horse is trained for the slightest cues, meaning the neck rein is two inches to either side of the center of the horse. The spade bit was built as a neck reining signal device, the straight bar and large cheeks work together to aid in the signaling of the neck rein.

Argument 2:
No, bridle horses are masters of the direct rein. The buttons on the bridle reins are built to provide weight to the rein this weight is part of the direct signal for direct reining. The rein chains are also there to aid in direct reining signals. Ideally the horse is taught to work between the reins, but not with the reins against his neck. The spade bit was not built to function with a neck rein, it was meant as a signal bit that works as the reins are lifted the spoon lifts off the tongue as a signal. The old vaqueros used to use a test, by tying the reins on with a single strand of tail hair. If the hair broke when working a horse the horse was not complete and needed further training. The test was a test to see how hard they had to pull, pulling is not involved in neck reining.

Who do you think is right and which do you think works better?
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