How do I get his head up?
 
 

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How do I get his head up?

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  • How do i get heads up
  • How to get horse head up

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    10-27-2013, 12:40 PM
  #1
Foal
How do I get his head up?

My BO has an 8 year old QH that I is constantly putting pressure on his bit. I ask my BO about it and checked about his teeth. He says he has just always done that. I was given the okay to use Cruiser (the horse) in a few lessons that I'm teaching (just a friend that wants to try out riding). I would really love to fix this problem because other than that he is a lovely responsive horse with WP style moments. My BO doesn't seem to care much because he stopped riding due to his age and Cruiser has become a pasture pet.

I've heard of horses fighting the bit but never really experienced it. He is ridden in a simple D ring snaffle. He puts his head way down and pulls his nose forward. It hurts my hands to try and pull him back up plus I hate being hard on his mouth. What do you all the think will help? I have a hackamore I can try just to see if he simply doesn't like the bit.

Thanks a ton!
     
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    10-27-2013, 12:47 PM
  #2
Yearling
This horse is relying on you to hold him up. He's leaning on the bit, and is on the fore hand. You need to get him off the fore hand and onto his hind quarters, so he can hold himself up.
Do lots of circles, and serpentine's to get him to come off the fore hand. Lunging can also help as the rider is not there to support the horse.
     
    10-27-2013, 12:56 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by CandyCanes    
This horse is relying on you to hold him up. He's leaning on the bit, and is on the fore hand. You need to get him off the fore hand and onto his hind quarters, so he can hold himself up.
Do lots of circles, and serpentine's to get him to come off the fore hand. Lunging can also help as the rider is not there to support the horse.
Alright I will try that out tonight! Thanks
     
    10-27-2013, 02:13 PM
  #4
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by CandyCanes    
This horse is relying on you to hold him up. He's leaning on the bit, and is on the fore hand. You need to get him off the fore hand and onto his hind quarters, so he can hold himself up.
Do lots of circles, and serpentine's to get him to come off the fore hand. Lunging can also help as the rider is not there to support the horse.
Agreed here, it's not a bitting issue as much as a balance issue from the sounds of it. Lots of transitions between gaits or changing speed within gaits will also help.

I'm curious, since you mentioned WP, is that how you're riding him? If so, shouldn't he be on a draped rein? If he already is, is he just snatching the reins? I'm just trying to better understand so I can give better input.
     
    10-27-2013, 02:45 PM
  #5
Weanling
Seems to me he doesn't DISLIKE the bit, he's not fighting it; just ignoring it.

Except for that, does he do everything you want him to? If so, I'd go ahead and let him go on the forehand for now, if that's his comfort zone.
     
    10-27-2013, 04:29 PM
  #6
Showing
In addition to the circles and serpentines that CC and 2BR mentioned, I suggest that you stop giving him something to lean on. It takes 2 to have a tug-of-war with the bit. If you leave the reins loose where he can't lean on them, that will help. Then, work your circles and serpentines on a loose rein. Once he's got his head back up and balanced and is using his body correctly, you can start re-teaching him how to reach for contact without bracing against it.
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    10-27-2013, 05:27 PM
  #7
Green Broke
Has he always done WP? I'm just wondering because some horses that have a background in Dressage, or a lot of years doing Dressage also do this and it is encouraged. Is he putting all of his weight on the bit causing a lot of pain in your back, or is he just constantly wanting to feel a tight rein? In dressage they want them to "seek the bit" or basically seek to always have rein contact. If this is the case, the horse will sadly always prefer this as this is where it's comfort zone is and where it gets it's confidence.

If it is really putting all of it's head weight on you, or you know for a fact it does not have Dressage training, then I agree with the exercises above :)
     
    10-27-2013, 05:39 PM
  #8
Showing
Drop the contact, then pick it back up. Drop one side then the other (NOT see sawing!!) and expect him to carry his own **** head. Transitions, backing up, suppling will help with the balance he needs. But when he gets heavy, literally drop all the contact (throw your hand forward for a stride or two) then pick up contact again.
Keep in mind that contact is not the same as pulling. I want a horse to carry contact with the bit. I do not want a horse leaning on me and ploughing ahead on the forehand.
     
    10-27-2013, 06:24 PM
  #9
Weanling
OP, can you establish for us what kind of riding you want to teach on this horse? You are getting advice from two completely different ends of the spectrum here. All of this is great advice, don't get me wrong, but some of these responses will get you very different results than others!

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this horse will be used for WP? If that is the case, you do NOT want contact with the bit, and you want your horse to carry itself without any or as little resistance from the reins as possible. For English riding you will want contact, but you wouldn't want to teach Cruiser to ride with that kind of contact (as in dressage for example) if you want to tune him up for western pleasure. That can get VERY confusing for the horse, since as Cinnys Whinny mentioned once a horse gets comfortable with that it can be difficult to retrain.
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    10-27-2013, 06:37 PM
  #10
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinnys Whinny    
Has he always done WP? I'm just wondering because some horses that have a background in Dressage, or a lot of years doing Dressage also do this and it is encouraged. Is he putting all of his weight on the bit causing a lot of pain in your back, or is he just constantly wanting to feel a tight rein? In dressage they want them to "seek the bit" or basically seek to always have rein contact. If this is the case, the horse will sadly always prefer this as this is where it's comfort zone is and where it gets it's confidence.

If it is really putting all of it's head weight on you, or you know for a fact it does not have Dressage training, then I agree with the exercises above :)

I am a bit mistyfied about this generalization. I have not had that to be my expereience; that horses trained in dressage will try to barg their heads down and lean on the rein way forward and down. I have seen dressage horse used to a very strong, constant contact, by not the kind of barging down the OP is discriginbg. That seems to me to be more like an old school hrose, or dude trail horse , who is immediately assuming someone is going to reef on his mouth.

You don't get a horse's head up by pulling it up. You get them to lift it themselves, by making them move forward , with a good surge. They will automatically lift their heads. You then give them a second's of not rein contact, then pick up your reins slowly and if they dive downward on the bit, goose them back up to move faster and they'll pick up their head. Again, don't snatch up the reins tight the instant they raise their heads, but take up your desired contact slowly and with gentleness. If they bring their head up as a result of you goosing them forward, and you immediately snatch the slack out of the rein, they will be punished for doing the right thing.

And, if you ease into contact and the hrose accepts the contact and flexes at the poll, then reward him with a bit of slack on the rein. You will be teaching him that head up, flexed is the place that is the best.
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