Keep your head high horsey! - Page 2

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Keep your head high horsey!

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    11-05-2008, 03:26 PM
^ my thoughts exactly!
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    11-05-2008, 07:00 PM
Originally Posted by SonnyWimps    
IMO (which I'm sure other people won't agree with) it is better for the horse to keep their head at their natural position. Some horses are built to carry their head up high...where others are built to keep their head down low.
I do agree with it. I don't show though, so may be that's the reason, but I let my horses to keep the head the way they prefer.
    11-05-2008, 10:34 PM
I will disagree with Sonny et al.

Yes, a horse should carry its head in the carraige it wants to - to a point. I'm not saying I expect TWHs to carry their heads like western pleasure QHs, but there is a fine point about head carraige.
The point about headset is to get the horse working through its body and using its back, which allows the hind legs to engage. Engagement of the hind legs allows them to come up under the body, so the horse can rock back on its hocks and really use itself.
Most horses (90% of them) don't carry themselves like that naturally.
Does that mean it's evil to "make" them carry themselves well? No.
Most humans don't carry themselves properly either - and if we were trained to do so, we would have less health problems (such as sore backs, bad knees, etc.) So there is function to the form.
If you let horses carry their heads "their way" then most would look like camels. It's not the proper way to carry themselves (especially with a rider) and can lead to health problems down the road.
Now, keep in mind that each different breed has their own "correct" way of carrying their head so they're using their backs and bodies well.
For example:

This horse is carrying its head the "natural" way - see the hollowed out back? How heavy he is on the forehand? It may be a natural headset for this horse, but it's not correct, by that I mean that the horse is not using its body correctly and could be much more comfortable in a frame.

(not the absolute best example, but I didn't want to go digging though gazillions of pictures.)
See the difference? The horse has elevated its neck and is engaged through the hindquarters. The back is rounded, allowing the haunches to drive through and be the "engine" that is making this trot spectacular.

*zips flame suit up*
    11-05-2008, 11:39 PM
What JDI stated is that the horse is enhanced from its normal "natural" balance to "acquired" balance through the intervention of a rider that balances it power and ability over the entire horse.

The above two pictures show the difference between "natural" and "acquired" balance.
    11-05-2008, 11:48 PM
Originally Posted by Spyder    
What JDI stated is that the horse is enhanced from its normal "natural" balance to "acquired" balance through the intervention of a rider that balances it power and ability over the entire horse.
Originally Posted by Spyder    

The above two pictures show the difference between "natural" and "acquired" balance.

Thank you for summing that up for me Spyder! :)
    11-06-2008, 05:10 AM
Well for me, the hand made picture I showed was somewhat similar to what second picture is like. However, as I am not that experienced with horses as yet I can't really argue in here. What I would say though is that sometimes when horse keeps their head low, they do tend to slow down on trots and gives a big time to the rider. Just like it happened in the lesson on Tuesday. It almost seemed like he doesn't want to run.

Anyhow, I just hope that I don't get the same horse for next million lessons. My arms are still aching because of his share strength which I had to bear in the lesson.


    11-06-2008, 11:45 AM
What you might have felt was "contact" - not leaning. While horses DO balance on their own, they're also taught to accept the rider's contact, so they don't duck behind the bit, but rather work on contact, which to some feels like they're pulling. A well trained horse doesn't pull though, they simply maintain a steady contact with the bit.
As well, perhaps you are riding a well-schooled horse that has become dead to the aids, that is, doesn't "go fast when you kick" because it has just been dead-sided from beginners riding it without finesse (and no, I'm not taking a stab at you, you find it in most schoolies).
The trick to getting them un-deadened is to employ an "ask, tell, demand" system. First ask them nicely to go forward - that is, use your calves and squeeze lightly on the horse's barrel, and you can use your voice to cluck at him as well. If there is no response, "tell" the horse to move forwards - give a kick and get more aggressive with your voice. If there is still no response, then let all heck break loose and DEMAND he move forwards; use a whip, use spurs, whatever. Of course reward by taking the pressure off as soon as he does what you want.

If you're new to riding, then your instructor probably put you on a well-schooled lazy horse for good reason - they want to be able to teach you without worrying that the horse is going to take off with you. As you progress you'll get horses that will test you a little more.
I know when I teach beginners I put them on really lazy but well schooled horses - to the point where I sometimes have to stand in the middle of the ring with a lunge whip to help the student out.
    11-06-2008, 12:02 PM
Yes you are right! The situation you described "Ask, Tell, Demand - ATD" is exactly what I employ but most of the time first two are used as I don't get a whip because my school instructor says he might run very fast suddenly. Additionally I don't know how to use the whip properly either.

You are right sometimes I get to use a very active horse, very responsive and some days I get the laziest horse in the whole wild world.

I guess it's all part of the learning stage.

    11-06-2008, 08:30 PM
JDI, a horse can learn by itself to carry himself properly without us interfering. Yes for a long time they might carry themselves wrong....but there will ALWAYS be that time when the take off with themselves properly carried and it will hit them "OMG it's easier for me to carry myself this way!"

Personally, I'd rather have my horse be able to realize it's easier for him to carry himself and have him be able to do it himself, them having me to constantly remind him.
    11-06-2008, 08:47 PM
Originally Posted by SonnyWimps    
Personally, I'd rather have my horse be able to realize it's easier for him to carry himself and have him be able to do it himself, them having me to constantly remind him.
Horses are inheritently lazy. They will not do more than what they have to to get whatever they want done. Certainly you will see a horse display himself and come into "collection" but there was a reason for it like a threat or maybe showing to a mare.

If we plan on improving them so they use themselves in a more productive way ( equal balance and use of ALL muscles) then we will have to show them the way. Again certainly the horse will use himself better after our interference but that would be because the use of muscle groups left idle under "natural" balance become stronger and it simply becomes easier to use them than not.

There is nothing really wrong with just letting a horse mosey through life doing only the barest of work, but don't ever expect that horse to suddenly collect or do things it has not been prepared for.

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