Getting Her Looking to the Inside - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-10-2011, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Getting Her Looking to the Inside

At home, we have no enclosed space to ride in-mostly straights, so I've never been really concerned about my horse's head placement. However, this shows when we go for lessons in an arena. She always wants to look to the outside. At home she's worse. Now that I actually am noticing where her head is, it's irritating because it's always looking outwards, or twisted on an angle trying to look at stuff, and you have to always be niggling the inside rein to get her to turn her head in. Once she gives and turns her head in, I release, but she just turns her head and continues looking at whatever she's interested in. Sometimes when you tap and jiggle to bring her head around, she'll bring her neck over, yet continue looking outwards. It's hard to explain, and it's really odd. I'm sort of at a loss here, because she's always done this, and it hasn't seemed to have improved any.

What can I do to teach her to look to the inside?

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post #2 of 4 Old 01-10-2011, 07:20 PM
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You are riding English? in any case you are riding direct reining, I assume.
Is she also leaning in, falling onto the inside shoulder and going around circles heeled over like the way a motorcycle goes around a turn?

So, you want to achieve move bend in your horse as you go around turns, and you will need to do this both by having the horse give in her jaw and roll her head toward the inside, AND by putting an inside leg on and pushing her out to the outside.
Your objective is to have her have enough bend in her poll, neck and body that the outside rein becomes tigher because she is bent into it. the inside rein will be actually the same length, but since she is bent to the inside, it will have some slack in it. Does't mean it does nothing, in fact just the opposite. Until the horse stays connected to the outside rein, you must remind it repeatedly to keep a bend to the inside, stay soft in its' jaw and find steadiness in the outside rein. So, your inside rein will kind of tickle her (by squeezing and releaseing with your hand) and your inside leg will aske her to step under herslef and move up more energetically.
It's a lot easier to bend a horse when they are moving briskly forward, and in the very moment when they step energetically off your inside leg is the time when you can best get an inward bend of the head, becasuse the horse's weight is transferred to its;' rear portion while accelerating.
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-10-2011, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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I'm western, and usually neck rein but in this case, I usually have one hand on the inside rein to remind her to keep her head in. I'll be sure to keep your advice in mind.

So she will eventually get it? I won't always have to be nagging at her?

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post #4 of 4 Old 01-10-2011, 10:31 PM
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I suspect that you are riding nearly 100% with your hands only. Your hands only control the horse's head direction, not the body movement. I also suspect that you are neck-reining with too much 'pull' on the reins. This, in effect, turns the horse's head out in the wrong direction and does not LET him look the direction he should.

You need to go back to either a snaffle or a western bit with loose rotating shanks. If you chose a bit with a broken mouthpiece, use one with three pieces like a dog-bone or a correction port. Two piece broken bits with a shank pinch a horse's lower jaw and cause head fighting or mouth opening. You are going to have to correct this riding two-handed.

You need to teach this horse to yield to leg pressure. Teach leg yielding exercises. Every horse, whether it is to be ridden English or Western, needs to be taught to move over from a rider's leg pressure. When teaching leg yielding exercises, you need to bump, bump, bump with an inside leg until the horse moves over -- all the while you are keeping the horse looking toward the direction of the leg pressure.

You do not pull steady on that inside rein. That only teaches a horse to resist and pull the opposite direction. You lightly 'bump' that inside rein and when the horse's head is in the correct position (where you can barely see the corner of his inside eye) you release and do not make contact again until the horse straightens out and tries to look the other way.

Remember, your hands control the direction the horse's head is looking but your legs control the horse's shoulders, ribs and hind end. Your legs assure that your horse properly 'follows his nose' and stays between your reins and your legs.
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