Ask Chelsie Natural Horsemanship – Horse Bares Teeth when Neck Reined

Ask Chelsie Natural Horsemanship

Dear Chelsie,
I have a 16 yr old mare that my granddaughters ride. I use a mechanical hackamore bit. When the girls ride and neck rein her, she often bares her teeth. She does not do this when I ride her. I have tried different reins, working with the girls on neck rein and using leg aids and nothing has stopped her baring her teeth. I am having the vet check her teeth this week to see if there are dental problems. Any ideas you can share will be greatly appreciated.
-Melanie G from Flagstaff, AZ

New Image Chelsie and Kairos

Hello Melanie,
Thanks for the questions. I think its great you are going to have her teeth checked. That's a great start. I am sure there is a difference that the girls are doing that you don't, could be as simple as their legs touch her sides in different places then yours.

It could also be that some horses love kids! But I have meet some that just don't like kids. Horses are individuals and have preferences just like any living animal. What I do though is always teach a new rider, beginner rider or kid to direct rein first. I believe any rider should learn how to direct rein before neck rein. A neck rein is an amazing training cue and a horse that neck reins well is very nice to ride. Unfortunately some people are trained to neck rein wrong and horses are taught to neck rein right. Often times I see people neck reining a horse to the right but the bit contact is pulling the horses face to the left. Neck reining is just that, neck, there should be no bit or hackamore contact. Often times horses that are said to have a nice neck rein do not. When that neck rein goes on the neck the horse should turn its nose in the direction away from the rein and then turn his feet. If the horse is turning his face away from direction of travel then either the horse doesn't know how to neck rein right or the rider doesn't know how to cue right. So i would start but teaching them how to direct rein first.

When I give lessons to kids I always teach direct reining and then have them do cone patterns like figure 8s, clover leafs, bow ties, and weaves. I hope this helps! I also come over to Flagstaff once a week and give lessons if your interested in getting some for your girls.

Chelsie Kallestad

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