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  • My ottb holds her head to high while doing dressage shows

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    01-03-2010, 03:23 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by RomanticLyric;507014[B
]One of the things I'm trying to work on with my OTTB mare is her headset. I know she can carry it nice and low, because she does when I walk her around to warm her up or cool her out, but when we trot she jacks it up, and at the canter it's not quite as bad, but still not as low as I'd like.[/B] I'm not really that concerned about "prettiness" right now, I just don't want her to be able to evade my cues (and develop unsightly under-the-neck muscles...eww).

Here are some things that I've thought about:

A. Her teeth don't seem to be bothering her, (she doesn't drop grain or chomp on the bit) but I'm going to get them floated in the spring, just in case.

B. The person who owned her for a few months before me rode her in some sort of weird (no offense to anyone) saddleseat elevated bit. So I think that might contribute to the problem. The fact that my mare dealt with it without trying to dump them constantly is a testament to her temperament, in my opinion.

C. I've been lunging her with success. I'm going to add in side reins and see if that helps.

D. If side reins go well, I'd like to add in draw reins while I'm riding her. I realize that they need to used with care and I shouldn't become completely reliant on them. I've used them before. I just think that it might help me communicate to her what I want.

Is there anything that I'm missing in my game plan? Is there anything else I need to consider? Advice? Cautions? Anything? All wisdom is appreciated.
The part of your post that I put in blue really got my attention, my OTTB was very similar. At the walk he held it low but he didn't "tuck it up" in other words he wasn't moving correctly, reason being. I wasn't riding him correctly. Also, when we trotted his head would just fly up -- similar to how your horse sounds. Partly because he didn't know how to use his back, so to speak. As at the walk unless asked to collect/exstend they are just wandering around. The ex-race horse, as you can see in the picture of my horse below, has been taught to hold their head very high. From what I know this is so the jockey can support themselves on the horses neck if need be.

At the canter he would bring it down, but he was still "la la la laring" all the way around. So once I got him to work he'd HAVE to use his back. A correct horse will only come by correct riding. A "plastic" horse will come by tools.
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    01-03-2010, 07:23 PM
Well that makes sense as to why she wants to keep her head so high if she was trained to do so as a racehorse, then that idea was reinforced by a saddleseat bit. I feel like the longer I ride her, the more relaxed she gets and she puts her head slightly lower.

Here are some videos of me riding her. Feel free to pick apart the way I'm riding her, or my position, or whatever.

These two videos are from the fourth time I rode her, just before I decided to buy her. Before I started riding her she had never been asked to canter really. The girl who had her for a few months before me would just run her - in a saddleseat bit. She was a brave, brave girl, in my opinion and most any other OTTB would have seriously injured her, but my girl is remarkably tolerant.

I know my leg swings/bobbles, and I have a bit of a chair-seat going on. I have a lot of leg, but that's no excuse. I let her go on a bit of a looser rein because I was still getting to know her.

This was probably her second time cantering, which is why she kind of runs into it. She greatly prefers her right lead, which I find strange.

This was at her first show, ever. I didn't get to ride her for two weeks leading up to the show (I go to college and she lives at home), and so we literally pulled her out of the pasture after a two week break, I got a five minute warm up, and then we went into our first class.

During the five minute warm-up, we cantered our first jump, ever. I had trotted her into a few cross rails and small verticals and cantered her out, but never cantered a jump with her. So, keep that in mind.

    01-04-2010, 03:32 AM
It could also be the saddle I have had a lot of horses that have sore backs from the saddle which does cause them to put their heads up a lot so check that out. If that doesnt work on a circle (20-30m) push ur horse over ith ur in side led and take and give with the inside rein opening and closing ur hand (have a good strong contact) hope that it helps it if very anoying to ride a horse with its head right up in air!
Good Luck
    01-04-2010, 01:31 PM
Originally Posted by ChingazMyBoy    
The ex-race horse, as you can see in the picture of my horse below, has been taught to hold their head very high. From what I know this is so the jockey can support themselves on the horses neck if need be.

They don't teach race horses to put thier head anywhere. They want the horse to run as fast as possible and the jockeys can hang on any way they can. Most racehorse owners would nail the jockey to the saddle rather than do anything that might make it harder for the horse to run it's fastest.
    01-04-2010, 01:34 PM
To the OP: Your horse looks quite comfortable and nice with her head where it is, however, if you got her softer through the face then she would have a much nicer frame.
    01-04-2010, 02:49 PM
I think you guy's look good.

First thing I would do is take the standing martingale off, unless she's throwing her head up and getting close to hitting you, you don't need it.

Secondly you look like your forcing the post in your trot instead of letting her lift you up, your posting quiet deep, could just be this video........also when doing trot poles you don't need to change your body position, you lean forward, just keep posting as if there's nothing on the ground. The only thing you should be doing is putting some leg on.
    01-04-2010, 09:00 PM
So what is this "saddleseat bit" you keep referring to? What is it exactly? Can you post a better description or a picture or something? Just curious is all.
    01-04-2010, 09:38 PM
@showgirl: Thank you for the advice. Her saddle fits her pretty well actually, now that she's gained some more weight.

@kevinshorses: Thank you. That makes perfect sense. I do feel like she needs to be "softer in the face," especially when I transition downwards I feel like she "hardens up." Any suggestions besides working on flexion?

@gandk'smom: I've always been told by instructors to ride with it as a precaution a just in case, as it were. If I felt like she was bracing against it, I would probably get rid of it, but I feel like she tolerates it pretty well. You're right, it's probably not necessary, but I also don't feel like it does any harm either. Thank you for the advice. I'll have to work on posting a little lighter. As for the leaning forward thing, I actually was going to do what you suggested, just continue posting, but my trainer told me to go into 2 point over the poles. It actually stood me in good stead over our first trot pole - which Lyra leapt over like it was a 2 foot vertical, haha. I managed not to catch her in the mouth too bad.

@LadyDreamer: Not sure. All of what I know about the way she was ridden by the previous owner is hearsay. My trainer traded one of her horses for Lyra, then I met Lyra and fell in love with her. However, from my trainer's descriptions, saddleseat requires two bits, and I think it was something like this, a combination of the top one and either the second or third one:

    01-04-2010, 09:46 PM
@kevinshorses: Thank you. That makes perfect sense. I do feel like she needs to be "softer in the face," especially when I transition downwards I feel like she "hardens up." Any suggestions besides working on flexion?


Flexion at a stand still and each gate is a must and your horse would have looked fantastic if she could have been carrying some flexion in her poll. Make sure that you are giving her enough release when she flexes.
    01-04-2010, 09:52 PM
Oh, so a double bridle. Double bridles are used in Dressage too, you know. Basic Saddleseat training does not require a double bridle, only in showing, and on those horses in show training. Just thought I'd get that out there.

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