Lowering His Head?
   

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Lowering His Head?

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  • Horses lowering head whilst be ridden
  • Horse lowering head

 
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    03-31-2011, 11:35 AM
  #1
Weanling
Lowering His Head?

I recently just bought my first horse. He's a 13 year old OTTB. He came off the track in 2006 I believe. He raced for 6 years. I'm not quite sure that I understood his story from the previous owner but he was I guess, put out to pasture for 4-5 years? I think they may have worked with him sometime before that when they first got him, but he's only had 30 days training. Anyway, he's wonderful. He doesn't take off, he's not hot, but he has just enough gusto :)

You probably didn't need to know all that, but I like to show off my new boy ;) Anywhoo, his previous owner offered to give me some tips on him for the next 30 days. She's been working with him to lower his head while he trots. It looks super pretty, but is it uncomfortable? He is so sore all the time and I just don't want to see him in pain. She says if I ever show him in Hunters that we will get higher marks if his head is bowed like that. But if we're just on a trail ride, does that cause him pain or discomfort? I don't want to destroy his training by not reinforcing it, but I don't want him to be uncomfortable.

Also, I had a quick question/concern. He sweats soo easily. I rode him yesterday, and after about 15 minutes of just walk and a little trot, he was SOAKED. From his neck to the end of my saddle pad and down his legs he was literally dripping in sweat. And it wasn't even hot at all. It was cloudy and windy, like it was going to rain. The other horses in the arena had been ridden for 1+ hours before us and they weren't near as sweaty as Jett. Should I be worried?

Thanks.
     
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    03-31-2011, 11:47 AM
  #2
Foal
Sounds to me like he is just out of shape. Keep the works slow and easy untill you can tell he's getting better, plus he's working muscle that probably haven't been used much since he's just off the track. He'll get some a bit (i figure) but work him thru it just like you would work thru if you were sore from exercising. He'll get comforable with his head down it just takes time to build the right muslces. You need to ask him to do this in small increments and build up. Also if you work on real collection; creating lift and round the back, using the back end more; it will help build his back muscles and tone him up better.
     
    03-31-2011, 01:26 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
Also, a horse will sweat a lot if he is stressed. For example, if I am on a trail ride and my horse desperately wants to be in the lead, or catch up to antoher horse who is farther ahead and Im holding him back, then he sweats alot, especially on his shoulder area
As for getting an OTTB to lower his head, this will take time and patience. There are many threads on this subject, so do a search with those words. "get him to lower his head" or "retraining and OTTB".
     
    03-31-2011, 01:32 PM
  #4
Showing
Lowering the head shows that the horse is working in frame, and now hollowed out. Even if you mostly trail ride, having good collection and a correct outline is a great thing for him to know. It's not painful, it allows the horse to use his body to the best of its capabilities instead of running around hollow with his head in the air.

Sound like your boy's going through what most horses do when they get back into shape--hard on them at first, but it gets easier. Don't be worried about the sweating, only worry if he stops sweating when you know he should be, like after a long, rigorous hack that he's not used to--it's a sign of dehydration. Make sure you don't push him too hard at first, and do lots of trotting to build muscle and endurance. Good luck with your boy!
     
    03-31-2011, 03:02 PM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by equiniphile    
Lowering the head shows that the horse is working in frame, and now hollowed out. Even if you mostly trail ride, having good collection and a correct outline is a great thing for him to know. It's not painful, it allows the horse to use his body to the best of its capabilities instead of running around hollow with his head in the air.

Sound like your boy's going through what most horses do when they get back into shape--hard on them at first, but it gets easier. Don't be worried about the sweating, only worry if he stops sweating when you know he should be, like after a long, rigorous hack that he's not used to--it's a sign of dehydration. Make sure you don't push him too hard at first, and do lots of trotting to build muscle and endurance. Good luck with your boy!
Thank you equiniphile saved me from having to type so much.

To the OP, lowering the head is not what you want you need to start out by getting the horse soft and working off his back end before the head placement will come into effect. From what you described the horse's head is being pulled down and he's hollowing out his back that's not collection.
Good luck
T
     
    03-31-2011, 03:14 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Lowering his heard isnt uncomfortable for him. Maybe a little at the moment whilst he is unfit. Working him this way flexes the muscles in his back and helps him support your weight and prevents kissing spine which is common in horses that are let to work with their head in the air.
     
    03-31-2011, 04:52 PM
  #7
Weanling
I would agree that this should be slow and especially an OTTB which has been taught to run straight and long and also that the bit means run faster.

If a horse that I worked with was sweating like that in 15 minutes I would conclude it is stress. You need to work on developing a relationship with him so that he doesn't get so stressed when you ride.

I know you mention pain but I wonder why you think he is in pain?
     
    03-31-2011, 07:22 PM
  #8
Yearling
I also heard somewhere that when horses are thinking a lot about what they are doing they work up a sweat. Stress is also a good thing to consider. And after only having 30 days training he will be unfit, causing him to sweat a lot. As the others previously mentioned, he will get fitter quickly and he will stop sweating so much.

Good luck! :)
     
    04-01-2011, 12:17 AM
  #9
Foal
Usually when they have their head lowered it means they are relaxed. Especially when they are walking.
     
    04-01-2011, 02:56 AM
  #10
Trained
How is he being asked to lower his head? From how you've explained, it sounds as though his previous owner has been simply focussed on where his head is and not given a second thought to how the rest of his body is working.
If she has been getting him to drop his head, by 'see-sawing' on the reins or using gadgets, it's likely that he is sore and stressed because of this. You have to 'coax' ottbs not force them or they panic.
Sweating after 15mins of walk and a little trot - I would, as others have said, put this down to stress. TB's are naturally fit with good stamina. They build up fitness very quickly when in work compared to many other breeds, and hold their fitness for much longer when out of work than say, WB's.

Personally, I would much rather see a green horse travelling above the bit and a little hollow in the neck, but going forward, reacting immediately to the rider's aids and willing to go forward, than one that has it's head low but the body is doing nothing and has low reactivity.
Once you get a horse travelling easily forwards without running, reacting easily to your aids, understanding half halts etc. the head will come. The horse will be more willing to stretch into the bridle and lengthen and lower the neck. Forcing the head low, will tighten the base of the neck and lock the poll, causing stress and tension.
     

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