Lower headset? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 53 Old 12-07-2009, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Lower headset?

Alright, so Its at the point now where I want to lower my geldings headset a little bit--He's an OTTB, on the track for nine years, so at anything above a walk his head is sky high, unless of course we're in the round pen and he's being frisky, then he breaks very nicely at the poll, lowers his head to level with his back and does whatever kick out/jump move he wants to do. I ride western, and I ride in a hackamore. So what can I do to get him to lower his head, either from the ground or in the saddle? He free lunges, but he does not lunge well on a line (even in a round pen).
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post #2 of 53 Old 12-08-2009, 09:55 AM
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Put him in a snaffle & teach him lateral & vertical flexion. Breaking at the poll is just another way to say vertical flexion, but remember that lateral flexion needs to come first. I don't think the hackamore will be very effective in teaching these things.
Lateral Flexion is The Key to Vertical Flexion with horses

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post #3 of 53 Old 12-08-2009, 10:32 AM
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You can teach it in a hackmore but it will take longer. Soft bits are a great way to encourage a horse to relax and come under you.
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post #4 of 53 Old 12-08-2009, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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And how would I do this in a hackamore? If he even thinks he sees a bit on his bridle he starts having a royal fit--it took three people to put a bit in his mouth the last time I tried it (one to hold him, one to hold his head, and me to but the bridle on). I know he does not have teeth issues.
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post #5 of 53 Old 12-08-2009, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justsambam08 View Post
And how would I do this in a hackamore? If he even thinks he sees a bit on his bridle he starts having a royal fit--it took three people to put a bit in his mouth the last time I tried it (one to hold him, one to hold his head, and me to but the bridle on). I know he does not have teeth issues.
you need to fix this problem before worrying about a lower headset.

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post #6 of 53 Old 12-08-2009, 01:05 PM
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With my reiners they all are taught to lower their head when you sweez them with your legs. They are also taught to relax when you pick up the reins. This all starts at the stand still then moves up into the walk and then on up into the other gates.

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post #7 of 53 Old 12-08-2009, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GottaRide View Post
you need to fix this problem before worrying about a lower headset.
I don't see it as a problem, since he responds perfectly to a hackamore. He rides in a halter better than he ever did in a bit. To me, putting a bit in his mouth is not something that needs to happen for him to learn something. Since he is an 11 year old OTTB, I'm sure he had this problem on the track and they just dealt with it accordingly

nrhariener, HOW is this done? Thats what I want to know, is how to get him to lower his head.

Last edited by justsambam08; 12-08-2009 at 01:52 PM.
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post #8 of 53 Old 12-08-2009, 01:53 PM
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Your reins are decoration. A correct head set comes from correct training and a good circle of aids. As your horse becomes more responsive to your seat, leg and weight aids he will learn to come from behind and stretch to your contact.
To help him learn this, side reins while lunging is helpful as long as they are never too tight and you keep him moving forward.

Good luck!
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post #9 of 53 Old 12-08-2009, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
To help him learn this, side reins while lunging is helpful as long as they are never too tight and you keep him moving forward.

Good luck!
I was thinking of using those, but can I use side reins with a hackamore? I use the English kind, so the shanks on the sides where the reins attach provide a little bit of rotation/leverage/stopping power....if I attach the side reins won't they rotate?

Also, could I use something like a martingale/tie down? It wouldn't be a permanent staple, just something to get him into a lower position so he could learn it. Standing/Walking, he often drops his head low or at least keeps it level

Also, to nrh--to him, side pressure means 'go forward'--if its at anything above a walk, his head shoots up.

Last edited by justsambam08; 12-08-2009 at 02:06 PM.
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post #10 of 53 Old 12-08-2009, 02:27 PM
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I think the bit is an important training tool and you won't be able to get the kind of refinement you are looking for without using one.

The comments made so far along on this thread tell you what is possible for a finished horse (lower head with leg squeeze, reins as decoration). In order to get a horse to that point, a lot of work needed to be done with the horse riding in a bit.

Since your horse responds perfectly to a hackamore, I guess you shouldn't be having any problems with headset or otherwise.

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