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How to Transition from Snaffle to Curb Bit

Neck reining adds an extra level of finesse to a western training program; however, teaching it can be a bit of a mystery for many riders. As an English rider, entering the western world years ago, I felt awkward riding with one hand. So, like many, I'd train at home with two hands and hope that the stars would align when I entered the show ring with one hand. I encourage students to ride with one hand when using a curb bit, which is any bit that operates on the principle of leverage, using a curb strap. Why? The action of a curb bit enables a rider to use more subtle rein aids and lighter contact than a snaffle. Because the leverage action magnifies the rider's hand, it takes less movement to achieve a lighter response. The required finesse is the next level of a horse's education. Most breed associations require…

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