How high should a horse hold his/her head while riding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-30-2009, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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How high should a horse hold his/her head while riding?

I was wondering How high should a horse hold his/her head while riding? I have seen pictures and experienced riding horses where they have thier head almost at ground level, or they hold thier heads nice a high and it never really moves from that position. So how high are horse supposed to hold thier heads when riding?
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-30-2009, 07:02 PM
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too much restraint on the reins can be as uncomfortable to a horse as a bearing rein, believe it or not. Your horse should carry his/her head however he/she works best with. It also depends on the discipline. Western or English? reining or cutting? dressage or on the hunt? There's a lot that goes into it.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-30-2009, 07:48 PM
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Typically, I encourage my horses to carry thier head around level. If they are most comfortable a bit lower or higher, then that is fine but I discourage horses who carry their head in my lap and ones who drag their nose on the ground. I agree with PP that for showing purposes, it really depends on what discipline you are doing but just for trails, I let them carry it wherever they are comfortable.
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-02-2009, 04:09 AM
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Depends on your discipline. Either way though (unless you are playing PoloX or similar) your horses head shouldn't be way up in the air. You want him to be able to move comfortably while accepting the bit without leaning on it or relying on it for balance.

If I had a trail horse I would just ride it on a long rein, letting it choose wherever it wanted its head to be (not in the grass though!). The front of the horses face should ideally be vertical - I believe this is desireable in both dressage and various western (not sure about Western) but the horses head is never wanted to be "behind the vertical" which means the nose it tucked in further than the forhead. In front of the vertical is much more common.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-02-2009, 04:27 AM
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well my horse holds his head very high i think that that is just the way he is. so if your horse is holding his head high up or to low it should e perfectly normal or unless he has no energy and he holds it really low, or if he holds his head to high then he might have a sore back. oter then that it is pretty normal.

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post #6 of 14 Old 10-02-2009, 04:55 AM
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Cougar usually rides on the bit as that's how he works best. Greylite holds her head much lower in more of a western pleasure head set. Both are fine with me. Whatever works best for the horse. So long as they aren't tense throwing their head in my face or evading the bit by dragging their head into the dirt I will usually let them hold their head for a good chunk of our ride where they want it.
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-03-2009, 04:44 PM
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Whatever way they feel like. They'll adjust it to what they like, not us.

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post #8 of 14 Old 10-04-2009, 11:31 AM
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It really depends on what you're doing.

Western, you want it low;

English you want it a bit higher;

Sometimes on barrel or rope horses you'll see tie-downs to keep their heads down because they do hold them up so high;

My mare likes to hold her head up high, probably a bit higher than I'd like, but we just ride trails now-a days so it doesn't really matter. But if we were in the show ring it would be a totally different story.


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post #9 of 14 Old 10-04-2009, 04:54 PM
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I compete Western, English and in Speed Events and I personally like their head to be level to slightly up. But not straight up, and I do not like it below the withers.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-04-2009, 06:08 PM
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I just wanted to add onto Dashy's post that many speed eventers (roping, barrels, poles, etc.) do use a tie-down to keep the horse's head down but that is not what it is designed for. It is supposed to give the horse something to brace against and keep his balance while he is doing turns at high speed.
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