Head Set (long sorry) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-28-2007, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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Head Set (long sorry)

The first thing i want to say is i dont want to cause any training arguments with this thread but i just wanted to get soem opinions
I have a coming 4y/o reg. paint gelding that I've had since he was 5months and i started him lite at 2. I started him off western pleasure more becuase thats what i was more comforitable with and thats what came easier for me, he is very much a natural HUS horse. i know i should have started him with something that would have been easier for him but its done well now he is almost finished in pleasure my trainer finally broke me down into doing english with him.
Our first rides have been great, he is still alittle confused at me asking him to speed up after i spent so much time bringing his gait down but the BIGGEST thing with him as always been his headset, it doesnt matter pleasure or HUS.

So heres my question (finally) what could i do to make his head set better without the constant jiggle or sometimes it turns to a tug with me reins and inside leg? He knows the cue, he'll ut his head down for a second and the minute i go to praise him he pops it back up and the battle continues.
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-01-2007, 03:21 PM
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I think it's wonderful what you have done with him so far!

One of the most important things to remember is: Does my horse know how to give in to pressure?
It sounds like he does if you can give him a cue on the reins in order to drop his head for you. However, in his mind, he is giving you a response to your rein aid by dropping his head. You are asking him for something and he is giving you what you want by dropping his head and then lifting it once you remove the "pressure" cue.

My advice would be to help him out and keep a slight amount of pressure on your inside rein, just enough to maintain contact, but not overly strong as to bring his head to the inside (in extreme). In order to maintain the head set, we must give them enough hold on the rein to support their bodies if they are unable to do it themselves.

You can also practice this on the ground with him. With a lead line or even reins. Put downward pressure on the rein until he drops his head for you. The moment he does, release the pressure.
Or even mounted you can work on neck pressure. While he is walking, encourage him to drop his head by applying light pressure to his neck (just above his withers). The moment he releases down, start to scratch and love him. Continue this with him until you see consistency.

Hope this helped!
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-02-2007, 04:58 PM
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I would go to a high port bit. They will lower their heads to keep the weight from laying on their toung and bars. I use a high port slyster with a coper coverd cricket to get their head down. It's not un-natural and they soon learn that if they cary their head down the bit will balance on the head stall. The heavyer the bit the better.
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-03-2007, 09:39 AM
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hmm I agree with SoftTrainer. Bits shouldn't really be used to force their head down (just my opinion not bashing you promise!)
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-05-2007, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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thanks softtrainer, i think i might try that. I'm not all that sure i want to go with a stronger but with him just yet, he is still in a snaffle and response wonderfully to it, this headset thing is just going to take a litle extra on my part. So thanks softtrainer
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-05-2007, 08:48 AM
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You don't know how happy that makes me to hear you say that! It's not about strength and fighting with your horse. It's all about kindness and unity, and I think it's great that you can recognize how happy he is in his snaffle bit.

The best horse people in the world realize that horses do not behave badly because they are bad. They react accordingly to our questions that we ask them, and most of the time, we need to change the way we ask in order to get the answer we want.

I wish you the best and so happy that I could lend advice!

Please let me know how you the both of you are making out.
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-06-2007, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I dont believe that its about force, its all about the trust you and your horse have, Stitch is my baby (hes definatly a mommas boy lol) he greets me in the morning and would follow me around all day if i let him, i couldnt ever imagine treating him like i see so many people do when im out at shows.
I tried the pressure with him and it really seemed to click with him and he is resonding wonderfully to it Thanks A Bunch!
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