Head up too high....how to correct?

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Head up too high....how to correct?

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    08-06-2008, 11:38 PM
Head up too high....how to correct?

Okay well I've been riding Sonny alot bareback and I'm enjoying it more and more so I've been riding him bareback more to help me with my balance and just because Sonny responds better like that.

But anyways, for the walk he keeps his head and neck straight with his back (or looks like it...hard to tell when I'm on top of him)...and for the canter his neck is there also....
But for the trot, his head and neck is up more and I can't think of any ideas how to teach him to put it down.

Nothing is spooking him, nothing is hurting him, I'm not using the carrot stick nor am I in any way kicking him or wahtnot to make him feel uncomfortable.

Any ideas? Again all I am using on him at the moment is
Eggbutt snaffle with bridle
Split reins (got them in case I showed)
Bareback pad
Western girth

And that's all. Help! Hehe
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    08-07-2008, 08:50 AM
Since you mention using a carrot stick, I assume you use Parelli/natural horsemanship methods. I used to use Parelli, but switched to CA, and can't remember what Parelli does as far as lateral to vertical flexion. Anyway, does your horse flex well laterally? If so, do lots of bending and giving at the trot. Do small circles, figure eights, serpentines, etc. The more he flexes laterally the more his poll will drop. If he has progressed to vertical flexion, ask for that at the trot, alternating with the lateral stuff. If you're okay with using other "tools", I found a chambon/de gogue worked way better than any other type of tie down, etc. Since it works off the poll, not the nose, my horse understood it much better. I started doing all the bending/flexing exercises with it on and was able to stop using it within two weeks. Just my humble thoughts...
    08-07-2008, 10:53 AM
Are you sure you aren't bouncing at the trot, that could make him hollow his back. I know one of my horses has a bit of a rough trot and I sometimes find it hard to get my seat.
    08-07-2008, 03:06 PM
That's what I thought at first, but I've got him now where he will do his slow western trot...so hardly any bounce at all, yet he still keeps his head up high. Occasionally he'll put it down but only for maybe 2 strides then it's back up again for the rest of the time.
He's always kept his head up higher at a trot than at a walk or canter even for lunging

Yes I am into natural horsemanship. He bends fine and will collect (get his head on the veritcal and round his back....well the last part is only part of the time hehe)...when I ask him to turn first his head goes and then the body follows. He bends nice and I always do figure eights and serpentines, but it doesn't seem to help.
No I'm not going to use a tie-down on him...I personally think anything forcing the head to go in position is cruel and won't really do any help. I've used stuff like that before (not on Sonny) and it acted more as a crutch...the minute you took it off they were back to the normal position
So I don't want to use any mechanical means...I want him to realize that that is what I want him to do and him do it without me making him
    08-07-2008, 03:11 PM
Super Moderator
Sonny, you had pix posted a while back where, although he wasnt in a QH frame, he was in a hunt frame (using a western saddle) where he was on the bit and collected but your latest pix (the bareback ones) had him completely off the bit and on the forehand. I know you arent big on training devices and you don't really like port bits (I think I read that)... I'm thinking some of your issue is that you are doing bareback and still learning to get your own balance so you arent giving the leg pressure you usually give to push him forward into himself.

I have seen you post about collection so I know you understand it... I'm going to go home and ride blue bareback tonight if it doesnt rain and I'm going to get put him on the bit and get him to drop his head so that maybe tomorrow I can give you good advice... I can picture what you need to do... I'm just not sure how to say it....

Have you done any pressure release training? Where you hold pressure on the reign and release the instant he drops his head?
    08-07-2008, 03:26 PM
Here is a picture at a trot so you know what I mean




Sorry it's small, but you can see the general idea of where his head is. It is a bit higher in the canter, but not as high as in the trot
    08-07-2008, 03:31 PM
Super Moderator
He's a little bit on his forehand, you'll notice his nose is just a teensy bit pointed out at the walk and the canter. You know... I think... You arent going to like this! But... I think you might just be a tad unbalanced at the trot w/out your saddle. Your legs push alot more forward at the trot.... I think.... you are on the right track and just need practice practice practice.....
    08-07-2008, 03:38 PM
My balance is alright, occasionally it's thrown, but it's 100% better than what it was. The only time my balance is thrown is when he takes a REALLY sharp corner when I'm asking him to turn (at a trot or canter) or at a realllllly fast trot. But since he's only been doing his WP trot I haven't lost my balance.

I'm not anti-port bit, but I'd like to stick with my snaffle. He responds good to it and I don't want him to become hard mouthed.

I've heard millions of definitions of "on the bit" anyone care to say the real one? An easy to understand one lol (been slow lately...due to I had to give 7 girls pony rides this morning)

Not all western horses are "on the bit"

Now, to me that is not on the bit (but like I said I've heard so many definitions of "on the bit" that I don't know which is true)....the horse is long and low...which is what I am trying to achieve with Sonny....the only difference that I see between that horse and Sonny is that that horse has a REALLLLLY nice topline...where as Sonny lost his a while back and I'm working on regaining it

I have pressure trained him, but I'm not training him have his neck errect, head on vertical and whatnot like an English horse. I'm hoping to turn him into a nice western pleasure horse
    08-07-2008, 03:40 PM
Heavens I know I need a lot more practice and that my legs aren't even close to perfect at all. That has ALWAYS been the worst part for me.
It's a working progress...no one is perfect at anything.

BTW, congrats on being a mod, farmpony!
    08-07-2008, 06:36 PM
That horse isn't long and low, he's all strung out. TRUE long and low makes a horse pick up speed the lower his head is.

WP, however, is a bit different... I'm not a huge fan of that picture at all, really.

Anywho. If you have to keep your horse at a slow jog to sit the trot, then you are not balanced. I'm sure you feel alright, but until you can sit a trot (smoothly), don't expect too much from sonny. It's a hard skill to master; make sure you aren't using your hands to keep your balance at the trot, too.

I don't want to sound mean, but there's really no other reason why he would stick his head up other then you cannot sit the gait (it may LOOK fine, but it doesn't feel fine to him). If it was training, then it would get progressively worse with speed (like the canter)--just practice makes perfect.

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