Head at the lope? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-16-2011, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Question Head at the lope?

Ok, I have this very talented gelding. He has amazing confo, is a great mover, and learns quickly. However, I'm having an issue with his lope. he lopes quietly and slowly, and he works very well off his hindend. the only issue is his head. I know this might sound weird, but he is still in early training, and while he stays on his hindquarters and his head is about level with his withers, he sticks his nose out. If I massage the reins to ask him to relax his jaw a bit, he slows donw (into a very nice lope if I might add!). If I squeeze, he speeds up. If I do both, he usually shortens his stride and bunches upward correctly, but he more or less keeps his nose out!! Any ideas?!

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-17-2011, 01:23 AM
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Would be fun to see a video.
Could be a lot of reasons he keeps his nose out. Does it feel like he is bracing against the bit? If you take up a contact on one rein, will he flex in his jaw to the rein? Does he go this way at the trot?

Horses hold there nose at a certain angle quite naturally , and its a bit different for each animal. Also, to see at the distance he wants, for arena work, he would want to hold his head at about a 35 degree angle to the ground, I think.
That's one thing that people dont' realize when they pull a horse's head too far back, that they are making that horse unable to see very far in front of himself.

I would think you might want to work on getting him to flex his jaw more at the slower gaits and work on circles and bends where you ask for more flexion on the inside jaw using the inside rein.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-17-2011, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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That's why it's weird..he flexes very well at the walk and jog!! Poor guy..

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-17-2011, 01:16 PM
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If it's at a really WEIRD angle I'd look for physical reasons. Although since your gelding is an angel and mine mare is a wild child I know the reasons won't be the same, but I have panic attacks. And my horse is just plain ornery at times, and I find myself tightening up and also doing the same on the reins. So she tries to push against them and keep her head low to keep all the pressure of the bit away. I got her as a rescue and the people who had her before me were even worse. So a couple times recently I just tacked her up and took her for some walks, me on the ground (while the weather was so horrible here in VT.) I put her looped reins over the saddle horn and when she tried to push she realized very quickly she was correcting herself. By the end of the walk she had her head in a nice, relaxed position. Also I'm switching her to a bosal hoping it will keep me from annoying her so much with my hands.
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-17-2011, 04:30 PM
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Ask him to flex, and when he slows down, to potentially break gait, drive him up into the lope, use ur seat, feet, etc..

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-18-2011, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, I'll work on that. I rode him again and he did much better, so maybe it was just confusion :)

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
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