Head bobbing

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Head bobbing

This is a discussion on Head bobbing within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    07-04-2011, 11:43 AM
Head bobbing

Hello everyone!

So I have been working with my four year old Morgan/Friesian gelding. He has a very natural ability and is doing wonderful. We have been working on bending and maintaining contact with the outside rein.

At his age his bending pretty much goes in a rhythm of flex to the inside til he gives, then release, wait until he loses the bend (which takes a couple steps at his age), then ask again. Normally when we are beginning the ride, when I go to flex him he bobs back and forth from my inside to my outside. I know I need to maintain my contact with the outside to prevent this, but he is very sneaky at bobbing himself off it.

Any advise with this? I know overall what I need to do, and he relaxes into the bit as the ride goes on and steadies his head. I was just hoping for others experiences with this problem. Thanks!
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    07-04-2011, 11:44 AM
Sorry about the typo in the title! Is there any way to fix this once the thread is posted? Thanks.
    07-04-2011, 04:57 PM
With a young horse, I was taught to use one rein at a time. The release is fine at the very beginning, but after he understands, his own flexing would be the release, I think. Do you think your horse might be getting confused? You should be riding a lot of straight lines at this time, I think, developing energy and rhythm. Flexing and such you might leave for the end of your lesson.
    07-04-2011, 05:33 PM
Will he lower his head and lift his back on a loose rein? If not, I'd go there first.

I was having this issue with a 7yr old mare... Three coaches had me going about it much as you have described... My horse was getting more and more anxious because she hates getting things wrong. This weekend I rode with a different coach and she explained that it is simply too much for my pretty green horse, at this point in time.

So we are simply going everywhere on the buckle, using flexion to encourage the long and low, then leaving her alone as long as she will stay low... Flexion when she comes up.

As she was getting this concept she was starting to move onto the outside rein, on her own. I didn't really have to ask, it just came along as part of staying balanced.(like your guy, just a few steps at a time... But millions of miles better than where we started at the beginning if this weekend)
    07-04-2011, 05:39 PM
He is doing very well with long and low.

We normally work partly on long and low, transitions, changing speeds in a gait with seat, and then flexing during a ride generally.

I do see what your saying with it will come. I just want too much too soon, I guess. He feels very comfortable with contact on the outside rein so much so as he slightly bends in that direction. So I want to bend him to the inside to keep him from looking goofy lol.
    07-04-2011, 06:02 PM
Ride him inside leg to outside hand... If you aren't already... It should help keep his body and nose bending in rather than out. If you are already doing so, then, my guess is it will come as he figures it out.
    07-05-2011, 01:06 AM
Use inside rein as directional, outside rein as maintenance. Let the outside hand release the rein forward the same amount that the inside rein takes.
Also, use inside calf on torso, take outside leg off except if hip drifts out then touch flank with heel, and tighten your outside bum muscles.
    07-05-2011, 06:59 PM
Originally Posted by spirithorse8    
Use inside rein as directional, outside rein as maintenance. Let the outside hand release the rein forward the same amount that the inside rein takes.
Also, use inside calf on torso, take outside leg off except if hip drifts out then touch flank with heel, and tighten your outside bum muscles.
What do you mean by directional
    07-05-2011, 07:05 PM
Not that this helps, but I have seen quite a few Friesians move this way.
If you want to make the outside rein the more stable, unchanging one that you ask the horse to GO TO, perhaps you could try anchoring your hand to his neck. The rein length could not really change, but if you set it at about where you wanted, allowing for bend to the inside, you then work only with the inside rein and leg asking him to bend into and rely on a very stable outside rein.
    07-05-2011, 09:37 PM
I will try that tiny, thanks! I think because of his age he thinks he can only be on one rein or the other. He doesn't understand he can be on the outside and bend on the outside. I think this problem will also start to go away as he learns to bend more through the rib cage around my leg opposed to using the rein. Thanks for the input!

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