Neck ring riding – less is actually more
At trade fairs, show events or immortalized in YouTube videos - the interaction between rider and horse without a bridle and just a thin neck ring inspires the viewer.
As soon as you see it, it becomes clear: I want that too! The fine connection that exists despite the lack of reins and bit influence is not only fascinating for recreational riders. Professional dressage, show jumping and western riders also like to incorporate neck ring riding into their training. And not without reason.
The advantages of riding with a neck ring for equestrian sport are not to be underestimated:
- Training in balance, i.e. the correct and rein-independent seat
- Refinement of the aids, especially the weight and thigh aids
- clear communication between horse and rider
- great team building thanks to the trust shown on both sides
- promotes a better sense of balance and body awareness in the horse
Yes, neck ring riding can actually make you a better rider and promote partnership with your horse. You learn to use your body more precisely d.H Weight and thighs more actively take on most of the steering and speed control. Unfortunately, many riders rely on their bridles. Almost impossible with a neck ring. The usual parades are no longer there.
It becomes clear here: cheating doesn't work at all!
What equipment do you need?
First and foremost, a firmer neck ring is sufficient. A rigid construction made of stable lasso material or rope with a solid interior makes it easier for you and your horse to get started.
More progressively there is the equi rein.
This size-adjustable rein ring made of Biothane with padding and an integrated D-ring for ground work is a great work tool. On the one hand it can be used as a support like a balance rein with the bridle and on the other hand it can be used without a headpiece. A versatile tool for experienced “neck ring riders”.
You can find a similar model from Linda Tellington Jones, for example. This strap also helps your horse find the right path to a healthy posture.
Short definition of the balance reins:
This variant is mostly used in combination with the bridle. By gently accepting and giving in to this while riding, the horse is encouraged to lift up more at the front, relax the lower neck muscles and take more load on the hindquarters. By giving in, the animal then achieves the correct balance and learns to carry itself correctly. Whether western or classic riding - every equestrian sport benefits from it.
Providing assistance when riding with a neck ring
- it is held with one hand, but you can change hands at any time
- Basic position just in front of the withers, clearer help is required even a little further towards the neck
- physical focus as well as thigh, weight and voice aids
- by placing the ring on one side of the neck the direction is indicated (see below: First steps)
- gentle, accepting impulses (parrying through)
Your personal checklist for a good start
- don't be a beginner
- have a secure seat independent of the reins
- master the fine giving of aids
- have a delimited riding arena, lungeing circle or a round pen available
- then practice riding with a neck ring when no one else is riding who could be disturbed during their training
- Get the right equipment
- Prepare yourself and your horse well
- Organize an accompanying person (they can initially passively accompany you on the lunge and intervene if necessary)
- wear a helmet
- Being able to trust your horse
Your horse should:
- allow yourself to be pulled back over the seat and stopped
- Pay attention to your vocal aids, e.g. b "Halt" for stop or "easy" for slow down
- already be familiar with putting on and wearing the neck ring
- Can trust you
Let your friend sniff it first. If he is interested - praise!
Gently stroke your neck and head with it. Is that ok for him - praise!
If he reacts by withdrawing a little - stick with it. If he calms down and allows touch - ring away - praise! So step by step until you put it on and wear it.
You can e.g. b Always put the ring on at the end of your training session and lead your darling dry with it or ride him dry (without the influence of the ring!). So your horse immediately associates this with something positive.
The first steps with the neck ring
Neck ring riding is an honest way that challenges us to work more on ourselves. Your horse already knows your body language using thigh and weight aids. You are actually the one who has to put what you have learned into practice.
Use your focus and align your body accordingly. Do you want e.g. b to the left? Then focus your eyes, shoulders and chest in the desired direction. The right leg provides momentum and the left opens the way. By placing the ring on the right side of the neck, the instructions are also clarified if necessary. Sounds logical overall, right?
If you feel unsafe at first, leave the bridle on the horse. In fact, it is our head that has to free itself from the idea that it only works with a bridle and reins.
Here are a few more neck ring exercises
Street cones are a great help. To start, place them in a straight line, each approx. 4 meters away. Now try to pass this line in the slalom at a calm pace. At the beginning, 3 cones are enough. Of course there can be more and if it works well, you can gradually reduce the distance between the cones.
Bars can also help you with neck ring riding. If you make a square out of 4 long poles, you can slowly circle around it in one direction. At the corners of the right angle there needs to be a lot of focus and leg work and probably also the effect of the ring on the outer side of the neck. Incorporate change of direction.
If things go well, you can expand your arena with poles and tackle the whole thing at a higher pace.
Important: The poles really shouldn't be too tight!
Conclusion: Riding with a neck ring
Whether western, dressage, show jumping or recreational riders - everyone benefits from this type of riding. There are no restrictions here. Trusting the horse and refining your own skills make this thing so special. Team building par excellence! Newfound freedom in doing things together.