High Headed Horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 40 Old 01-08-2014, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sahara View Post
What kind of bit are you riding him in?
A snaffle.
I did ride him in a Billy Allen, but then I started taking more English lessons with him, and switched back to a snaffle.
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post #12 of 40 Old 01-08-2014, 09:46 PM
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Does he ride the same way for anyone? If your trainer or another skilled rider can get him to move out in a more relaxed manner, then you can surmise it is your own riding that is the cause. I mean no insult, but it's quite often the riders fault . Not saying I could do better, tho.
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post #13 of 40 Old 01-08-2014, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Does he ride the same way for anyone? If your trainer or another skilled rider can get him to move out in a more relaxed manner, then you can surmise it is your own riding that is the cause. I mean no insult, but it's quite often the riders fault . Not saying I could do better, tho.
He's more of a one person horse. When my trainer rides him he gets even more nervous with a new person on his back, prances around, then calms down and goes to work. But she can accomplish about the same amount I can, because he works better with me.
He's not ridiculously high headed, he's improved a ton since I got him, I just can't get him into frame he should be into. His head is still too high
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post #14 of 40 Old 01-08-2014, 10:39 PM
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Great link thanks BSMS! I always wondered about some of those details too! I've considered buying a flex tree. I ended up making myself one at one point, when I didn't have the money for a good custom one & couldn't find one to fit my horse. But looks like my 'novice' attempt may have been better in some ways than the taylor mades. I used flexible plastic sheeting for the bars & glued it layer upon layer, to keep a good shape & also make the majority of bars reasonably inflexible - prob with treeless is rider weight, esp in stirrups & pressure at the girth points - but I only had a couple of layers at the ends, to be quite soft & flexible!

OP, on the saddling note, I would look into this more closely as I find it's so commonly a problem - yes, even with 'professionally' fitted saddles. As with many other 'horse experts', there are good ones, but there are also many crap ones - and 'saddle fitters' are often only people who work for saddleries & are salespeople with little specific training into biomechanics. I'd certainly want to rule out pain/discomfort before just treating it as a training issue. How does he go bareback?

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post #15 of 40 Old 01-08-2014, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post

OP, on the saddling note, I would look into this more closely as I find it's so commonly a problem - yes, even with 'professionally' fitted saddles. As with many other 'horse experts', there are good ones, but there are also many crap ones - and 'saddle fitters' are often only people who work for saddleries & are salespeople with little specific training into biomechanics. I'd certainly want to rule out pain/discomfort before just treating it as a training issue. How does he go bareback?
I see what you are saying, but the person who fit it was a very well trusted family friend. So I trust their judgement, he also gets chiropractic adjustments as needed. So I don't think it's pain. It's a training issue, he rides bareback the same way he does under saddle head in the air. He kind of switches between putting it up, then calming down some, and lowering it again. So I think he's either looking for the tie down his previous owners used on him, or just being anxious. Let me post some pictures as an example. Here he is bareback, and relaxed with his head down (this only lasts like 30 seconds at a time.)


Here he is saddled and carrying himself nicely

Then bam! As soon as I (or anyone in that case) asks for something else, such as a canter, or direction change or back up. His head gets all high again.


(Yes I'm aware I'm not looking forward in this picture, my mom was trying to take pictures of me and that was a "mom, not now" look)
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post #16 of 40 Old 01-09-2014, 05:40 AM
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Nice pony! Oh, previous owner tied his head down. Have you got him going well in a trot & canter otherwise first? If not, I'd ignore his 'frame' for now & work on that later, instead of trying to get everything going at once. But also, in the meantime, if he will collect himself for 30 second stints, I'd be starting out asking for 20 seconds & making sure that was strongly reinforced. Remember also it can be tiring/hard on them physically so progress gradually.
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post #17 of 40 Old 01-09-2014, 06:50 AM
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Honestly his high head looks to be from annoyance, not fear or pain... One thing you could try doing is just every time you get on him let him walk on a loose rein for 5mins before you get into any activities and also when you finish for the day. Do it without directing him, let him choose where you guys go so long as he keeps at a walk without speeding up or stopping. He will learn to expect those 5mins and will end up liking it and hopefully it'll help him to relax.
Now, this is not a proven thing, but some horses do learn to just LOVE it, so maybe it'll help him

"It is the difficult horses that have the most to teach you" - Double Dan Horsemanship
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post #18 of 40 Old 01-09-2014, 07:28 AM
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I have had quite a few horses that would want to get their heads up as an avoidance. Very simply, I would say, "If you want your head up high, carry it high!" And raise my hands so that they were holding their head a lot higher than they wanted. Reins need to be short and hands often at shoulder height. I would make them work at the trot with their heads right up, and believe me, it wouldn't be long before they were asking to lower. I would keep their heads up for a lap of the arena longer than they wanted and then allow them to go long and low gradually taking up a contact. It doesn't take them long to learn that the moment they raise their heads and you raise your hands, to lower.
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post #19 of 40 Old 01-09-2014, 08:28 AM
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He's positioning his head as he has when used as a roping horse. I too have put steady uncomfortable pressure on the snaffle and release it only when the head comes down. He'll want to stop so you'll have to drive him forward. If you get only a slight drop release immediately. Do a big release at first to help him get the idea. It's the release of pressure that teaches be it mental or physical.
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post #20 of 40 Old 01-09-2014, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Okay thanks guys, I'll try all those suggestions. Except I'm not quite sure the holding his head higher until he wants to lower it would work on him, I think he'd just get angry and shut down.
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