Originally Posted by smrobs
One thing that I like to do with my horses to teach them cruise control and to keep their head level is to trot them in a pretty small circle. Not tiny but just small enough that you have to keep their neck bent. Soon, they will drop their head and when they do, I release pressure and let them straighten out. If the head comes up then I start over and tighten them into a circle again. 3 year old........how long has he been under saddle? How much training does he have? Just basics or are you starting more advanced movements?
Lots of circles, serpentines, etc will teach him to maintain a level topline and don't get impatient with him. He is still just a baby. Also, I would strongly advise you to stay away from tiedowns and martingales cause they will only mask the problem for a while and ultimately make it worse.
I am basically doing everything you are saying (circles, serpentines, figure 8s), which must be why he's started improving lately. He's had about a year under saddle (he was broke before I got him but for QH racing, not pleasure riding, about 6 months of actual "pleasure riding" training). He is solid on his basics - his whoa and go, left and right, backing up. He's come very far since I got him. You are absolutly right about the tiedown/martingale. It's exactly what I want to avoid at all costs. A trainer I spoke to had suggested the running martingale so I gave it a try. He HATED it. He didn't act up (no bucking or anything violent) but you could see in his eyes how worried and nervous he was with it on.