Thanks SO much! I agree with her too :)
They do seem to do it alot, even my friend's 8 year old TWH does it.
The side reins clearly didn't work LOL he still kept his head really high, even being on the tightest ring.
I have a good solid walk with the head, but in the trot and canter he likes to put it up. I wiggle my reins and push him into the bridle and he lowers his head, he just won't keep it down.
I try to do so in the canter but he is all over the place I just try to keep him from doing something not so smart.
So the only thing that worked for you was getting a long low frame? How do you keep it in the canter? My horse just puts his head right up after I release pressure.
Did circles help? What else did you do? How often did you work your horse?
Sorry for all the questions :) Thanks so much!
I really appreciated what AnneGage had to say and couldn't agree with her more. I had a tw mare that cross fired when I first got her and getting her to take the correct lead and have self carriage was a challenge. Before this horse even came into my barn I had a dressage trainer lined up to help us achieve suppleness and a comfy canter.
It's common for gaited horses to cross fire. I think it's because they are so open stifled, it makes it harder, so they really DO look gimpy, in pain and generally confused..they just plain old don't know where their feet are <g>.
At 18yrs old, some arthritis could be settling in to the hocks. If your vet says the horse is sound then it's a matter of exactly what AG says. What worked for us was using a longe line and full tack. We ran the line through the d-part of the bit and up over her head to attach to the other side of the bit much like reins would be. For me, I'd never free longe with side reins...too many things to go wrong.
Also, teach your horse long and low...google it and/or have a trainer come out and show you. My horse responded incredibly well with it and we used it as a reward to not only stretch her back muscles, it put her in a happier place and also got her reaching for the bit. We taught her the que when we gently slid the bit or when she really caught on, all I had to do was gently touch my rein and she'd drop her head into a comfy frame and round her back. Tie down and martingales can definately work, but sometimes can be used as a quick fix or for too long of a training session and cause more damage than good. NOT saying that's what you're doing, it's something I've just seen over and over again.
It took us close to a year of consistant work to have this mare take the correct lead and achieve self balance on the circle with a rider. It was worth every reminder of "ringing the phone" signals down to the bit to ask her to bring her head back down when I watched my trainer ride the circle at a beautiful clean canter without the horse leaning to the outside and she wasn't hauling on the reins to balance her but instead, had both hands on her neck. Not an easy task for a tw and I applaud my trainer for her hard work and dedication..it certainly wasn't because of me, LOL. Best of luck!!