Asking horse's Head to come Down - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-17-2012, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Asking horse's Head to come Down

I have a 5 year old 15 hand Bay Polish Arabian Gelding who just loves to have his head up in the air to show his stuff. I don't mind him having his head held up, but I hate it when I ask him to bring his head down, he throws his nose up. I am working with him putting his head down on the ground, which he is picking up. Today he was better with his head, but still not where I want it, please give me a few natural ways of getting his head down. Thanks.

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post #2 of 4 Old 09-17-2012, 08:09 PM
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Consistancy, time and patience and remember to reward every little try.
Stand near his head and pull down on the leadrope, softly at first and then add pressure if you need to. The moment he gives even the tiniest bitm release immediately and pet him.
Then go back and do it again and again. Don't spend hours on it every day or else he will get bored, fussy and stubborn.
Just work on it every time you have him. Even when you don't have a halter on, put one hand on the bridge of his nose to hold him in place (simulating a halter) and the other hand on his poll.
Squeeze your fingers together and press down, very lightly at first and then increase the pressure until he gives. Then remove and pet the area.
Eventually he will learn to lower his head with the smallest pressure.

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post #3 of 4 Old 09-18-2012, 04:28 PM
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Are you talking about under saddle or on the ground? On the ground, then I agree with lilruffian. Undersaddle is tougher. Lots of half halts paired with leg squeezes, keep your hands low.

What helped me was to walk a 20 meter circle. Take the horses nose bending to the outside and work on pushing their shoulders around the circle. From the ground, you should see the front legs crossing. When you get this then push the shoulders around the circle with no bend. Finally, push the shoulders with an inside bend (this is hard). Do this at the walk/trot. This really got my 4yo to relax her back and stretch down into the bridle. Remember to give when you get the right response. I have to ask my horse for an little bend inside and a little bend outside every step to keep her engaged.
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-18-2012, 04:52 PM
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take your time! Five is not mature for arabs. They don't really mature til six, I think.
If you mess too much with forcing him to lower his head, and you end up pulling him either behind the bit, or pulling him back INTO his neck (shortening it), then it will be very hard to undo this habit. First and foremost is ALWAYS . . . Forward! Get him walking freely, energetically forward. Feel of his mouth with the bit (widen your hands a bit until you kind of feel him contact the bit) and follow that feel. Bring your hands back closer together without losing this very soft, following contact. Now, put leg on and ask for more forward and as you feel him step up, you advance your hands forward a bit. Not so much that you lose the contact with his mouth, though. You are "inviting" him to follow the bit forward. If he does, even a wee bit, then give him a wee bit more to say, "yes, that's it" and ride him stepping forward into that open space in front. The more you encourage him to follow the bit forward and downward, rather than asking him to come downward and backward, the more you will preserve his forward.

Again, he is young , so go slowly and correctly and do not pull himn back into a broken S shape, as one sees on SO, SO many Arabs that are pulled back into their own necks.
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