Head carriage help! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Head carriage help!

Hi everyone! I have a Pintabian, so since shes part arabian she naturally has a very high head set, and a very flexible neck. She doesnt toss her head, but its just very high up. How can that be fixed naturally? Is it possible?
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post #2 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 08:49 PM
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That looks like a horse who isn't fond of your choice of bits. Make sure whatever bit you are using is providing adequate clearance for her tongue so she can swallow as needed. Also look for any sharp edges on her teeth and that the bit is placed properly in the mouth.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 08:55 PM
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She is straining & resisting the bit and it seems you're trying to force her head down by pulling your hands down, whether on purpose or subconscienously. This is the exact type horse that can't be ridden in a martingale. She needs your legs way back on her, your seat engaged & lifting up her back. You need some help with rein cues to time this with the leg/seat aids, otherwise you're going to have the same results as you see in that pictures. You both need an overhaul.
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post #4 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 08:58 PM
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I agree with both of the above comments. Check all your tack first, and her teeth, and if you're sure that that's not causing the problem, then I would try to get a little more forward compulsion from her- try to gently push her forward from the back to the front, so that she's more focused on that than tossing her head. She seems like she's not engaging her back end as much and is a little hollow in the back.
BUT. I'm not a trainer or any kind of expert, this is just what I would do in this situation. Good luck! I hope this helps you somehow!!
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post #5 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 09:02 PM
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Aside from choice of bit - what jumps out at me from that photograph is that you are pulling down on the bit, locking your elbows and bracing yourself all against the rein.
Before you can expect your mare to relax her neck and build topline, you need to address your own riding first. I strongly suggest that you invest in some lunge lessons, to work on developing an 'independant seat' - maintaining your balance in the saddle, without relying on bracing your legs or pulling the reins. Each part of your body should be able to move freely and independantly of each other. Until you can do this, you will find it nearly impossible to encourage your horse to relax and pick her back up, as she will be forever in this defensive position.

Give your hands up her neck, ride her forward, and learn to control your core strength/seat to stop her speeding up.
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post #6 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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There are times when she relaxes herself, and carries herself like this:
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post #7 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 09:14 PM
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You have zero contact in that pic. Your fingers are so open, I'm surprised you can hold the reins with them. Your horse does not like contact which says it's either you or the tack.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #8 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 09:14 PM
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Lesser gaits and you've relaxed your hands, get more complicated as you move up into a trot & canter.
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post #9 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 09:47 PM
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in the first picture, you've broken the line of contact.
A riders hands and arms are noticible and can result in a poor placing if they are not positioned and used correctly. A seasoned rider will have a straight line from elbow, hand to horses mouth. This will insure a direct line of contact with the horse. Hands should rest in a natural position above and in front of the horse’s withers. Ideally the hands should be far enough apart that when the rider outstretches his/her thumbs they can touch each other.

Hands, ideally, should be with the knuckles 30 degrees inside the vertical. By keeping this in mind it will avoid flat harsh hands and/or stiff verticle fists.
You can see how your hands, the reins, and her mouth make a 'V' shape, rather than a straight line. In doing so, your horse has learned to evade the bit by sticking her head straight up (I have a half Saddlebred, so I know high head carriage!)

To teach her she can't evade the contact by sticking her head up, you have to follow her head as it goes up. Keep that straight line consistant as her head raises, like in the picture below. The horse in the picture's headset isn't low at all, but the rider has a more or less straight line from her hand to the reins to the mouth, keeping a consistent contact. The horse doesn't seem to be bracing against the bit at all, either.

Also remember, you ride a horse back to front. Even if you manage to yank her head down, you'll be forcing her into a false headset because you're not engaging her hind end at all. Use a lot of seat and legs and learn to be soft with your hands. I don't think the bit is the problem (as long as it's a mild bit), she's just found a way to avoid it.

Hope that helps!
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Last edited by LoveTheSaddlebreds; 12-06-2011 at 09:50 PM.
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post #10 of 27 Old 12-11-2011, 10:01 PM
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LovetheSaddlebreds...great tip on the hands! The pictures really hit the point home!! Love it!! Thanks :)
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