Since Selena is a reiner too I like to practice doing a lot of softening, but I don't slam her face into the ground. And when we are working on barrels, unless she is trying to nose out and take my reins away (Dominant little pony she is) I will leave it completely be and let her do it herself. If she is being particularly hot or explosive I will make her round up while we work because it makes her think.
I do believe in doing it when warming up, but not just headset, a lot of long, low, round, softening work. Bumping up into the bridle, getting them on the vertical and engaging their hind end and rounding their back, as well as counter arc circles and leg yields in a soft frame.
This is especially important with Selena since she does have a rather dangerous history, I use that to get her mind working a little before I give her her head and let her choose her own frame on the pattern.
To be honest I don't care where their head is....as long as it isn't busting my nose or interfering with their performance I don't try and fix something that isn't broke.
I have horses that they run with their heads higher, snake their noses out and around the barrel, run low, and average headset. It is just their style, same with just riding...
The ONLY thing I want from them that has to do with their head is properly give and keep that nose tipped to the inside on a loose rein and not pulling/fighting me with their head. I don't want to make a horse carry their head somewhere where it isn't natural for them. They carry their head where they do because of the individuals conformation.
Not a barrel racer, but, I don't work on my horse's headset anymore. Didn't get anywhere but frustrated. I learned how to ride the body - supple him, soften him, get him relaxed and calm - and his head comes down and his back comes up on his own.
I like a headset with a collected frame. I teach all my horses to collect and do every gait in a frame. Just because it's good for them to know and it gives me something to work on when I want too. I also teach them all the cues and to transition really easy. My old mare had alot of buttons on her, I'm still working on my new ones but their getting there.
On the pattern, who cares. Whatever way they want to carry themselves to get the job done is all that matters to me. Posted via Mobile Device
I don't work on a headset at all. However, I work a lot on collection and proper self-carriage on a loose rein, so when the topline rounds the head automatically comes down. I never fuss with their mouths, just use my head and seat to drive them into the bridle.
I tried to push the whole headset buisness and gave up. I really doesn't matter that much, and I'm not showing HUS or WP, nor do I plan do.
I, however, work on getting Squiggy to relax and round her back when I ask her to. She knows how to get round when I ask for it, and she can do whatever she wants with her head when I don't ask, as long at she isn't getting out of control or breaking my nose.