Inconsistent Head Placement - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By dressagebelle
  • 1 Post By kenda
  • 2 Post By Kayty
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 5 Old 11-22-2013, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Indiana
Posts: 106
• Horses: 2
Inconsistent Head Placement

Chevy and I have been working in dressage the past 3 years. The end of last year he was finally rounding his head and looking decent, but he was very flat and not propelling himself from behind. The past 3 months he has IMMENSELY began to propel himself, and he is moving and able to extend 3/4 the way and I am so excited! He has now, however, lost his beautiful head set! He either sticks it up in the air, looking like a unicorn or a pack mule, or he puts his head so far down, he has kicked himself in the face before!

I hold my outside rein and wiggle the inside with my inside leg pushing to bend him to the outside and he gives me the head set I want, but its only for a few steps and he throws it to the ground then tosses it in the air. I keep a consistent light contact on the bit (a snaffle) and when he does what I ask him to, I give him a light squeeze to step into what I'm asking, then I remove 1/2 the weight i was using to ask him to work with. Any advice/tips/or exercises I can do would be insanely helpful! Thanks y'all, have a good day!
ChevysMyBoy is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 11-22-2013, 01:53 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 4,036
• Horses: 1
I've been working on a similar issue but mine was because I was working front to back instead of back to front. Now that I have him in front of my leg it's much easier to him round/on the bit. The headset itself is not really the desired outcome. What you're looking for is for him to lift his back. Can you feel a difference when you're riding him?
frlsgirl is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 11-22-2013, 02:08 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Nevada City
Posts: 1,613
• Horses: 2
To me, his lifting and lowering his head, and not being consistent is because he's lacking balance. I hate using the word head set. What you should be looking for, is overall frame, moving from behind, lifting his back up, being balanced, and his head "falling" into place because he's balanced and moving properly. If you can't feel if he's lifting up his back, have someone knowledgeable watch you, and take a video so you can see, and start to feel when he lifts his back.

Something else to watch and feel for, is he leaning instead of bending? While round penning does have it's place, I feel like it teaches the horse to lean in instead of moving straight, if you can understand that. When I lunge horses, I use the whole arena, I don't lunge in a round pen, unless it's a youngster first learning. That way it helps prevent the horse from leaning as he/she's moving in a circle. What breed is he? Some breeds/conformations make it a bit harder for the horse to really be able to lift up his back, so exercises and techniques can be used to help, so pictures and breed would help.
NaeNae87 likes this.
dressagebelle is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 11-22-2013, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 618
• Horses: 1
Any possibility of back pain? That behaviour sounds a lot like what my mare was doing when she was trying to tell me her saddle was hurting her. Saddle is fitted now and head tossing is gone.
NaeNae87 likes this.
kenda is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 11-22-2013, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
It sounds to me like he has just taught you a solid lesson in the fact that you were holding him into a fake frame previously.

Keeping the hind legs engaged is not about running the horse on fast, which happens all too commonly with new riders thinking the hind legs are 'engaged'. Active hind legs happen without flying around the arena at a million miles an hour. So first thing, make sure this is not what you are doing.

Second, have you started any work towards laterals, namely leg yield and turn on the forehand? If not, I would start it. These movements teach the horse to move from the inside leg, and fill up the rein. Which then leads to lateral movement beginning with shoulder fore and working from there.
This work will assist in developing a contact and a soft back which in turn is where your so called 'head set' will come about.

Regarding contact, it needs to be consistent. You can't squeeze and then give it away. By doing that you are essentially dropping the horse on it's head.
Ride with an active seat - your seat should be doing 95% of the work, the leg and hand is there just to support. You seat holds the horse together, it dictates speed, direction, length of stride, tempo, rhythm, gait, stop, go, turn.... If you rely on reins and legs, the horse will be unbalanced, unsupported and ultimately ends up on the forehand or in a forced, stiff frame.
Weezilla and NaeNae87 like this.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

Kayty is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
uneven saddle fit? Poneigh Horse Tack and Equipment 9 10-10-2012 08:52 AM
Uneven pony Fellpony Horse Health 2 05-17-2012 06:19 PM
Lungeing on uneven... Calmwaters Horse Training 9 10-18-2011 08:09 AM
Uneven horse! Tessel24 Horse Training 2 10-26-2010 07:11 AM
uneven strength???? danceonhooves Horse Training 3 07-02-2007 02:17 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome