Head Up

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Head Up

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    01-28-2010, 07:58 AM
Green Broke
Head Up

My horse 15.2hh tb 14years of age has had no real training except with me sticks his head up in the air at the trot/canter
At the walk I am able to get him to drop it by working from the behind but it doenst seem to work with the trot/canter
By working from the behind I try and make get him to go more forward onto the bit (i thinks that's how you explain it) but whenever I try at trot he just goes faster or head up higher

Does anyone have any advice he doesnt need to be in a rounded postion all the time just his head a little lower
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    01-28-2010, 08:04 AM
Get him to break at the poll better and get softer on the bit. Hold a little pressure on the reins untill he brings his face in vertically then put slack in your reins. Start this at the stand still and move to the walk and only move to a faster gait when you really have it down going slower.
    01-28-2010, 08:09 AM
Green Broke
Ok I get the softer on the bit hold pressure face vertical part but what do you mean by breaking on the poll??
    01-28-2010, 08:19 AM
The poll is the vertibrae right behind the ears and that has to soften (break) before the face can come into the vertical. There may be a different term for it in Australia.
    01-28-2010, 08:31 AM
Green Broke
Ohh ok thanks I knew what the poll was but I have never heard of breaking on the poll :)
    01-28-2010, 08:44 AM
You might try some lateral flexion exercises (Like carrot stretches but asking to soften to the bit instead of chase a treat) as well to get him softer to the bit. The vertical flexion can help, but coming from a more dressage-based perspective, there is the potential for the horse to learn to come behind the vertical with that exercise, which can be more difficult to fix than a high head and nose poking out. I'll try to find a video that demonstrates it, but as usual YouTube is failing me for an adequate instructional video.

Also, check his tack. A poorly fitting/placed saddle can easily cause the horse to travel with his head in the air.

Another thing I might suggest is double check your position, esp. Hands and arms. Upper arm perpendicular to the ground, elbow at your side, thumbs on top, no "puppy-dog" hands. (I'm assuming English style here, but if you ride western, same applies esp. To the upper arm position, just one hand on the reins) So many times I find that if I reevaluate my position I get so much better responses from my horse.

Other than that, keep riding back to front. If he's habitually been carrying himself that way, it will take some time for him to build "good posture" muscles.
    01-28-2010, 10:26 AM
What everyone else said plus ride in A LOT of circles.

Go to any top training barn (with the exception of saddleseat or gaited horses I guess) and the pro's will be riding in circles over and over and over; day in and out, day in and out. Walk, trot canter.


Becuase circles make a horse soft laterally and vertically in an easy to understand, more forward method. They have to flex, soften, and go forward in a balanced gait.

Boring, but true. I spent many a summers riding a freind's crazy jumper in circles and never jumping a darn thing! When she finally hopped on and jumped him he did excellent, he was soft and flexing well, he was relaxed and comfortable... of course a month or two later he was back to crazy becuase all she did was jump him again, but that's besides the point .

Point is, do lots of circles. While more boring than racing barrels, jumping jumps, or chasing cows its the best thing yo can do for a horse... then take a nice trail ride, or a relaxing walk around the yard if you don't have a trail to spice things up when your done!

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