Head in the Air...Any Advice?
 
 

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Head in the Air...Any Advice?

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  • Horse head in air when riding
  • Three year old horse throwing head in air

 
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    04-16-2009, 07:31 PM
  #1
Foal
Head in the Air...Any Advice?

Well, my little 3 year old project is coming along quite well except for one flaw - he likes to throw his head all the way up in the air. Now, he's gotten much better lately, he walks on a loose rein with his head low, and will put it down once in a while at the trot as well. Mostly, he throws it up whenever I ask him to do something that he just doesn't want to do. Now, I know it isn't his tack, or any thing health related. The vet came out to look at him and he's fine as far as back and teeth and everything else goes. His tack fits properly, I ride him in a simple D-ring snaffle so there is nothing harsh in his mouth. Can anyone give me any advice on getting him to lower his head WITHOUT slapping a martingale or tie-down on him? I used a running martingale on him a few times, and while it lowered his head and kept it there he was not at all pleased about it and I'd really like to find a way to get his head down without forcing it there. I praise him a LOT when he does lower his head also. So, any one have any HELPFUL advice? =)
     
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    04-16-2009, 09:47 PM
  #2
Trained
When I was first getting aquainted with my 4 year old, he would test me by tossing his head when he didn't want to work. What finally worked was planting my hands on his neck to keep the contact constant and riding him through the protest. Planting the reins on his neck kept me from pulling back, and kept him from pulling them out of my hands, so it was just a matter of me telling him, "this is how it's going to be" without being punishing. As soon as he gave, I released slightly to let him know he did what I wanted. After about 2 weeks, he gave up and hasn't done it since.
     
    04-16-2009, 11:14 PM
  #3
Weanling
It only works with some horses but you could try carrying a crop whip and just give a quick tap on the shoulder everytime he throws his head. It worked for my friends horse but it didnt work with mine. Its worth a shot.
     
    04-16-2009, 11:18 PM
  #4
Showing
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.
     
    04-16-2009, 11:59 PM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
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.
     

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