The past few rides on Mac I've used a neck rope. Just in case I did have his bridle on, but for 95% of the ride I used the rope. I edited out a spook, I kept in one part where I used my reins, I edited out our breaks, and it is still a long video!
We're back in the dressage saddle until our new western saddle is made, and it will be quite a while. I do love this saddle - I'm very comfortable in it and Mac is as well.
Mac seems to really enjoy the neck rope work. Some things we struggle with more than others . . . like turning right. I think I keep my legs in the "left turn" position so our bodies are fighting each other because I'm giving him the wrong cues. That darn left leg of mine that has a mind of its own! Backing in a straight line is a little difficult in some instances because I think he's anticipating backing and turning, which is something we usually do, so he's a bit wiggly there. Upward and downward transitions are good, as is carrying the flag.
Working out the reins was a bit difficult. In the beginning of the video I had them tied to my saddle but then I thought they were tied funny and in the way of the rope so I untied them and just had the end looped around my fingertip as my hand was holding the rope. In the beginning, my other hand was holding the flag so that I could use it to redirect Mac's attention (which you'll see a couple times). It also gave me something to do with my other hand so that I wasn't tempted to grab the rein.
It is a fun schooling exercise and gets your brain and body working in a different way. Mac seemed to think it was okay so I'll add it to our repertoire!
Oh, and at the end I grabbed my longe whip and swung it all around then tried to plant it in the ground and do a circle around it - of course one direction was easier than the other!