Does this mean anything?
 
 

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Does this mean anything?

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  • Western horse long reins

 
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    06-03-2009, 12:08 AM
  #1
Weanling
Does this mean anything?

I was doing some ground work in our square-shaped round pen with my horse today and she was doing so great that I put on her bridle and rode around bareback for 15 minutes or so. I'm not the best rider in the world so I just walked and jogged. I was trying to pay attention to my seat and my balance on her and when I asked her to jog she had this wonderful smooth sitting jog that I could have ridden for hours! I had light contact and she was responsive to the lightest touch.

One thing she started to do is put her head down. Not too bad, but more than normal. Her poll was at or below her withers. She wasn't coughing or slowing down at all. She just kept going nice and even. Was I doing something wrong or was she just being lazy (it was pretty hot today)? What should I do if she does this again?

Other than that is was a perfect mini-ride!
     
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    06-03-2009, 02:05 AM
  #2
Trained
Hmm... when they drop their nose to the ground, the are usually trying to avoid the bit. I know there is something called "rooting," but I don't really know what it is, so I'll leave that to someone else. But you said she was still going along smoothly... she was still relaxed, her ears were forward? Maybe it was just a combination of being hot/tired and being relaxed? I wouldn't worry too much, and if it starts to bother you, horses will typically bring their heads up if pushed forward, or you can do a transition, or a circle, just do something different. I wouldn't worry too much about it, just see how she does when you ride her again. =]
     
    06-03-2009, 08:03 AM
  #3
Foal
My gelding does the same thing at the jog...I think it is just that he is really relaxed and being a tad lazy! My boy tends to drop his head very low (as in close to the ground) when jogging on the lunge either on-line or at liberty, when ridden at the jog he tends to stay at the correct western headset level. So I don't think its evasion.
     
    06-03-2009, 10:30 AM
  #4
Weanling
Thanks for the replies. I think you're right and that she must have been hot/relaxed/lazy, probably all of the above. I'm fairly sure that she wasn't trying to evade the bit because I didn't have much contact at all. If she does it again I'll try a circle or something different and see what happens. Putting her head down is just not the norm for her and I wanted to be sure it wasn't me doing something wrong. I won't worry too much about it now and just chalk it up to a fun day. Lily really did seem to be in a very good and mellow mood, but it was in the upper 80's which is quite hot for us. She was in a "I'd be happy to do anything you want mood". Wouldn't it be nice if she was in that mood every day?!
     
    06-03-2009, 10:38 AM
  #5
Yearling
How old is the horse and how was it trained? I have seen english pleasure horses at shows that are taught to carry their head like that
     
    06-03-2009, 10:49 AM
  #6
Weanling
She is a 9 year old Arab. We've had her about a year but from the pictures I've seen from her previous owners she was not trained to put her head down like that. Most of the pics were of schooling shows and she can have a nice head set though not a low head set.
     
    06-03-2009, 10:53 AM
  #7
Yearling
Probably just relaxed and lazy then, sounds like a nice horse :)
     
    06-03-2009, 11:31 AM
  #8
Weanling
It sounds like she was stretching her topline. Its a good thing. A few things lead me to this conclucsion 1. You were luning her, loosening up muscles 2. You were working on keeping your balance and seat. This takes a lot of stress off the horse if you aren't all over the place up there. 3. Her head dropped below her withers, yet she didn't lose forward or change pace.

I actually do this exercise on purpose with horses that have tight necks and backs, with some horses, it comes with bending to align to body better. (most horses do travel slightly off balance, just so slight that most people can't realize it) By bending to the opposite side of the holding pattern, the body actually comes straight and the horse stretches through the neck and back.

What you should do - work on keeping your balance up there, let the reins slide through, but offer a light contact for her through your reins. Find the widest point of the barrel and apply light leg pressure to encourage her to keep moving and tip her pelvis to help stretch her lower back and pull her hind legs further underneath her, also working her abdominal muscles. You will also want to use your butt and stomach muscles to invite the back to actually "lift" underneath you. Let her hold it as long as she can and start all over again.

It doesn't sound like she is avoiding the bit, as horses that do this usually bring their head to the ground and fall heavy on the forehand, making it difficult for the rider to control or steer.

It sounds like you had a good feeling about the ride, so I would say go for that, what feels good to you usually feels good to the horse as well. As long as she is not bracing on the bit and is letting go of the tension in the lower neck muscles, I say take what she gives you and offer all you can through support in your seat and leg.
     
    06-03-2009, 02:53 PM
  #9
Showing
Glad to hear you had a good ride!
Was she pulling on the reins at all? If not, she could have been settling nicely into a little western pleasure headset. Flitterbug wrote an excellent post regarding how to harness this and make it correct!

     
    06-03-2009, 04:10 PM
  #10
Weanling
Here's what I was focused on while I was riding - trying to keep a soft seat and having contact with the 3 points of my seat. Trying to use my stomach, I'm not sure how to explain it, I guess I was using my stomach/core to connect the horse and myself. A little like a shock absorber. Unfortunately I was not super consistent but I could certainly feel when I was getting "off" and I would try to relax and use my core area again. I must say that when it was feeling right it was very fun. It felt great.

I had only light contact with the bit, another thing that was fun. She usually doesn't require a heavy hand, but more so than we had yesterday. It really felt like we were working together. She just normally doesn't put her head low like that so I was wondering if I was doing something wrong. Sounds like maybe we were on the right track and I shouldn't be alarmed, yeah!

We didn't lunge for very long - 5-10 minutes and even then I was trying something new - no lunge line. Lily was a champ and responded almost better than when we use the lunge line!

I will continue to work on my seat and having light contact. When I give her some light leg pressure should I expect her to speed up at all? Or will I just feel her back stretching out more? Also, I don't have a riding instructor so should I keep trying to use my stomach as I was and will it feel "right" like it did yesterday? In other words how will I know if I'm doing things correctly?

Again, I really don't have lots of experience with all of this, I was going off things that I have read that make sense but mostly on what felt right. Even though it was a short ride it was fun. I was pretty giddy for the rest of the day!

JDI - I hope some day that this that what we'll look like!!

Thanks again for the great replies!
     

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