Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Turning a horse IMMEDIATELY is good, but you obviously need to be able to move the head. If you are a little late, you may find yourself galloping with a horse whose nose is at your knee. That happened to me 30+ years ago when I was visiting a ranch. Not fun. Ended up turning him by kicking his outside shoulder as hard as a could.
While you are medically off riding, try leading him on a lead rope out and about.
Something I found when leading my mare is that she resents the circles and disengaging, and gets wound up even more when I do that. However, she responds very well to backing up. If her head pops up and I suspect it might get worse, I'll stop her and back her up in a straight line. She understands that, although we once backed up fast for 50 yards over a monster I never saw.
Another thing that has helped is to IMMEDIATELY turn her head when she snaps it in a direction. If you can't turn your horse's head, you may need a more supportive saddle, a change in riding style, a stronger bit, leverage, or some mix of those. I usually include a lecture: "YOU don't look around. I do the looking around here. Watch the trail, and I'll tell you if I want you to look!" The action and the lecture let her know I'm involved and thinking and she isn't alone. It seems to help if I do it within 1/2 second. 5 seconds later, she may not respond.
Those can be practiced while walking with a lead rope. About 50% carries over when you then do it riding.
Oh - and there is NOTHING WRONG with getting a calmer horse. My mare has a lot of inner demons. We're working thru them, but it is a very slow process. In my case, no experienced rider wants to put up with her, and I won't send to to the auction, so we're working away. But I'd be lying if I said it was easy, or that some technique will make it OK, or that it can be done quickly. It all depends on the horse, and some respond much easier than others.
"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
Last edited by bsms; 12-02-2012 at 12:48 PM.