head carriage help?
 
 

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head carriage help?

This is a discussion on head carriage help? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Why a horse's head carriage matters
  • Things that help get a horse into a headcarriage

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    09-05-2011, 10:42 PM
  #1
Weanling
head carriage help?

Hello all! I have a Q about head carriage. My horse moves with his head high and nose in the air. I plan on training him for reining, how can I get him to drop his head and tuck his nose in?
     
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    09-05-2011, 11:08 PM
  #2
Weanling
What kind of bit are you riding him in? If he dislikes it or it's causing him discomfort that may be the problem.

But it doesn't really sound like a bit issue. Is he calm when you ride him, or kind of hot? I guess you could put a tie down on him, but I don't think it'll give you the results you really want. The first thing I would worry about is having him round his back. A hollow back encourages them to raise their head more.

Usually a head problem is actually a body/frame problem.

Wish I could give you more pointers but I have little experience in head carriage. I'm interested to see what other posters have to say though.
     
    09-05-2011, 11:20 PM
  #3
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by horseloverd2    
What kind of bit are you riding him in? If he dislikes it or it's causing him discomfort that may be the problem.

But it doesn't really sound like a bit issue. Is he calm when you ride him, or kind of hot? I guess you could put a tie down on him, but I don't think it'll give you the results you really want. The first thing I would worry about is having him round his back. A hollow back encourages them to raise their head more.

Usually a head problem is actually a body/frame problem.

Wish I could give you more pointers but I have little experience in head carriage. I'm interested to see what other posters have to say though.
Well, It's just his natural head carriage. Out in the pasture he'll carry is head like this. I've tried every snaffle, bosal and even halter and have ruled out pain being the option. I think it's just the way he's comfortable, but they've docked me in the arena for his head carriage...
     
    09-05-2011, 11:39 PM
  #4
Super Moderator
Hi EthanQ, welcome to the forum.

There are just a ton of threads with this basic question asked, and you'll find a lot of different opinions on how to do this and whether or not focussing on the head itself is what a rider should be doing.

The first thing is that a horse that runs around with his head in the air might be doing so because his back is hurting, due to a poor saddle fit. So, that's one thing to consider. And, might do this when you put pressure on the rein becuase the bit hurts the mouth due to poor fit or dental issues.

Not that this is necessarily your horse's case, but these are so often part of the problem with a horse that runs with his head up in the air, that it is wise to look at them first.

Do you have a trainer who can help you with these things and teach you reining? (something I'd like to learn, too!)

YOu can often get a horse to flex at the poll and tip his nose down by fiddling with the reins, and lots of folks do it, but you haven;t changed his attitude nor his balance and those are things that you will be working on as you move into reining. Too much fiddling with the reins to get the horse to put his head down can result in a horse that has his head down, tucked behind the vertical (coming so far off the bit that you loose contact and control, and his body is still leaning forward about to fall onto his forehand, kind of plowing forward and feels heavy .

The trick is to get him to flex his head in response to the bit AND to step well under himself .
It's a really big discussion, especially in the dressage world, which bears more likeness to reining than you might be aware of. Take a look at some of the other threads on her and see what you can gleen from them. Do a search on things like "headset" and "get him on the bit" and such.

Sorry I cannot make a more detailed explanation right now.
     
    09-05-2011, 11:52 PM
  #5
Weanling
Oh no thankyou. That all makes sense. Lately I've been riding him in an oring and martingale, I'm just unsure about the transition from that to the curb bit.
     
    09-07-2011, 12:36 PM
  #6
Weanling
This is what we do, just a bit of one normal riding session.
Walk your horse in a circle making it smaller and smaller until your horse almost has to pivot on the hind end to finish the circle. You will want him to eventually do a proper crossover and roll back, then come straight out into a walk or jog . After a few of these you will see him drop his head because it is a more natural way for him to balance. Do it again and again at the walk, trot, and change transitions as you do it as well as direction.

A horse will naturally put his head down to do a small circle or 360 for balance and that is the key to getting your horses head set. The more you ask the horse to get under himself and engage his hind end the more he will want to put his head down to be balanced and light. Keep your horse calm when you do this, and be light with your hands, and consistant with the cues.
Eventually he will figure out that he has better balance with his head level and he will go that way naturally without too much interference with your hands. Of course you must ride with contact, but very light and you must release when he puts his head down to reward him, and to send him the message that head down is what you want. Timing will be everything when you ask with your hands for him to drop his poll, ....perfect give and take and it will happen as Tiny has said too much and you will make him behind the vertical. The key is to keep him working off behind.
Hope this makes some sense to you as it isnt always to explain how to do something no matter how many times you do it yourself or show someone else.
tinyliny and Nomes like this.
     
    09-07-2011, 12:46 PM
  #7
Foal
Subbing, an interesting topic for me Good idea Annie31! I'll have to try it!
     
    09-07-2011, 01:01 PM
  #8
Yearling
Can you post a few pictures of the horse? Standing, moving and some of you riding?

First we have to establish is the horse is physically built for the head carriage you want.

Then you look at conditioning and training for the head carriage you want.

Then you look at how you're riding the horse and with what equipment.

It's difficult to tell without a few pictures
     
    09-07-2011, 01:28 PM
  #9
Weanling
A few pictures is a great idea to establish whether or not the horse has the confo to do reining, however the basic training stays the same as the horse must work off his hind quarters, round out his back etc no matter what the confo. Depending on the horse he may never have a level head set if his conformation does not allow it, but working as suggested will help establish any limitations. The horse will be dropping his poll for comfort and balance, not because he is being forced to do so. I probably should have stated that when I posted the first time. Forced headset does not get them on their hinny. The exercise I talked about above is more of a warm up for balance and flexion that in the end will create a natural balance at the poll for that particular horse. In other words you may not achieve a perfect level headset depending on the horse, but the horse will show you where their limitations are if you are paying attention.
It would definitely help to have some pictures of the horse and a short video of the OP riding.
     
    09-07-2011, 05:02 PM
  #10
Weanling
     

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