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headset question

This is a discussion on headset question within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

     
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        10-28-2010, 11:42 PM
      #1
    Green Broke
    headset question

    I have two problems with Blue, one is that he is VERY busy with his head, he goes from one extreme to another contantly. One minute his head is as high as his neck will allow it, and when I try to correct that he goes behind the bit. Anybody have any suggestions for what can help so he gets on the bit?

    I have tried lots of long and low to get him to relax as I think some of the behind the bit stuff is a nervous issue, however when I do that we have our second problem, he starts to throw his shoulders all over the place unless I keep pretty steady contact on him, people must think my horse is drunk half the time! Collect the reins up again so he stops throwing his shoulders around and we are back to up and down with the head. He is current on his teeth, and is in a three piece full cheek.
         
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        10-29-2010, 06:46 AM
      #2
    Super Moderator
    I have similar issues with my paint. I just keep doing half halts as long as her head goes up. It was continuous up and down for couple weeks, but I have a feeling she's getting it finally, because as the head goes down it stays there for several seconds. So we are slowly progressing. What I can tell for sure, it's a long long process of training though.
         
        10-29-2010, 10:17 PM
      #3
    Weanling
    I have found when I ride that when the horse's head is inconsistent, and by this I mean being on the bit, above the bit or behind the bit in a never ending cycle it is because I am being inconsistent with my hands and leg. When my hands are quiet and I'm holding with a soft contact and my legs are on his side, not squeezing but not ineffectually hanging there, then my horse has a consistently on the bit, using himself and tracking up.

    Now if a horse runs down the hill in the pasture by the arena, my hands and leg can be as consistent as can be but he's going to giraffe and look ;)
         
        10-30-2010, 02:32 AM
      #4
    Showing
    Keep in mind, this is coming from a western rider but I have also seen this problem with horses who were never taught how to correctly go on the bit (or were introduced too fast) and people focus more on getting the head where they want it instead of where it should be. In all honesty, it sounds to me like your horse has no idea how to carry himself without depending on your reins to keep him standing. If he were my horse, I would likely start over with his collection training and work him for a long time on a loose rein/minimal contact so that he could figure out his own balance before trying to get him up and on the bit again. Then start as if he had never been introduced to contact. Start slow and work your way up to where he should be.
         
        10-30-2010, 07:40 AM
      #5
    Trained
    ^^^ well said smrobs ^^

    Very true. You need to work on the Training Scale. You should know this by now, especially for someone who loves dressage.

    The Art of Classical Riding--The Training Scale
         
        10-30-2010, 11:42 AM
      #6
    Started
    QHD
    The horse is uncomfortable.

    Either it doesn't like the bit, - maybe too harsh or wrong size
    or the adjustment of the bridle is wrong
    or the way you hold your hands - either too jerky or too tight
    or the pressure you put on the mouth - too short reins,or too long reins.

    But if you are aiming to bring the horse's head down 'on the bit' remember. You don't pull the horse's nose down, the horse will drop its nose down into the ramener position so long as you are sitting correctly.

    If the horse doesn't yet have the muscles to hold the desired rounded position then it will be uncomfortable. So give it time to flex during an exercise period.

    It is for you as owner/main rider to have the possible problems considered by a knowledgeable friend or your tutor. You must isolate each possibility and check it out.

    The big test is always when a strange competent rider comes along and works your horse - does the horse still shake its head?
         
        10-30-2010, 02:12 PM
      #7
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Void    
    Now if a horse runs down the hill in the pasture by the arena, my hands and leg can be as consistent as can be but he's going to giraffe and look ;)
    LOL! That's the problem with my horse too. She's alert 24/7, so whenever something exciting (or scary/suspicious) going on - head up in air.
         
        10-30-2010, 02:18 PM
      #8
    Super Moderator
    Folks, I have to respectfully disagree here. I'm not sure about OPs situation, but for example my horse's head in constant motion mostly because she's getting excited/alert/unsure about pretty much everything, not because she's uncomfortable with bit or hands. Tiny little move in bushes (and unfortunately we have bushes, ponies, horses, wild life, etc. all around th ring) --> she's as alert as she can be with head up. No noise, head goes down, 30 secs again pony showed up - same reaction. She's not nearly new to all that, she's been taken on trails all the time, but it doesn't go away. Even when she's concentrated on work, she's still very alert. I talked to number of trainers (good trainers BTW), and all of them say she's just that kind of horse. I took her to the open range ring, no horses, no bushes, no wild life, no disturbance, and she worked very nicely, unfortunately it's almost impossible to create such environment every time I school her.
         
        10-30-2010, 07:12 PM
      #9
    Trained
    Perhaps - but it sounds to me that the horse is evading, or the rider isn't putting the puzzle pieces together in order, properly.

    The reason why I assume this is because the horse either goes BEHIND the verticle...which is an evasion, or way above the verticle, another evasion.

    Spyder - your input would be helpful here!
         
        10-30-2010, 07:21 PM
      #10
    Green Broke
    The thing that springs to mind here is that have you actualy been taught about outlines and collecting up a horse?

    It is not about head position a true outline comes from behind and only when you learn to ride the horse from the back end forwards will her head position become consistant. Dropping behind the verticle is generaly an evasion and means generaly that the rider is dragging the head down with constant pressure and no regard to what the back end is doing. The pony has learnt to drop behind to avoid and lessen the pressure.
    You should PUSH a horse from your seat to your hand, not drag its head down with your hands.
         

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