with my 17.2h and imported PSG trained Holsteiner mare. Now, I'm not trying to brag , rather explain that with alll of the training she's had, she still does it.
We've had it all ruled out. She just does it sometimes and I'm guessing that she got away with it at some point in her horse childhood.
Have you considered it being your seat to be the issue? I am going to say, if your horse has been to the PSG level, your horse is very capeable of self carraige, balance and development to carry her head accordingly.
Remember - our horses reflect 100% of what we are doing in the saddle. So I would look at you as the rider, to discover why your horse is giving you the answers you aren't asking.
I'm sorry to say that, Ak, but it's a "short fix", not a real training out of the habit, and artificial "head down" (especially if adjusted incorrectly, which unfortunately happens quite often) can lead to even worse problems than she's already having.
My advise is still the same - good trainer (not necessarily for training per say, lessons very likely will be already enough). Good trainer can do miracles!
I agree - NO GADGET will fix this problem - but proper riding, thorough preperation and consistant work. 99% of errors that occur while in the saddle, are rider - not horse.
As Ian Millar states "A good rider blames themselves, where a poor rider blames their horse"
Great post HalfPass and Mudpaint.
1st, as you already said OP - your horse is 4. What possible muscle development could there be in a 4 year old, to aid your horse to beable to move properly, balanced with self carraige? I agree with you that there is nothign there to give you the results you are looking for, so you have to start from the ground up to obtain that ultimate goal you are looking for.
When building a house, one always starts with a strong foundation. With a strong foundation, the house lasts and withstands. So start out with a strong foundation, by developing the proper muscles and aiding your horse to beable to carry hersef/himself and to obtain balance.
I lunge her with a surcingle, but when it comes to riding the head pops right back up.
The question is - what are you doing while you are in the tack, and what is it that you could possibly be not doing while in the tack? I am going to assume that you are the problem here, not the horse. If your horse is going around with her head lower on the lunge line *granted the sursingle and the side reins could be doing this* and when you are on her back, her head goes right up in the air.
When our horses are going around with their backs dropped, and heads up high and not moving forward - there are reasons. Pain, as already suggested, evasion, and not having the proper muscles to obtain their backs to lift and lower their heads.
I have a friend who has a 17 year old TB gelding, who has been going around upside down for the majority of his life. At the time when I noticed we really didn't know one another very well, and I would watch the two of them, going around but I didn't say anything, until we got to know eachother.
First, the rider must know how to ask the questions. If you do not know how to ask the questions, you are not going to get the answers.
As Reiner Klimke states "It is not our horses job to learn to speak our language, but it is our job to learn to speak our horses language. It is our job, as the Trainer to know how to ask our questions as clearly and accurately as we can, so that our horses can better understand what it is that we are asking"
So back with my friend, I watched him go around - and A) He wasn't asking for engagement through his seat and his legs. B) He wasn't asking for his horses back to come up through his legs C) He was blocking his horses forward momentum with his stiff shoulders and arms D) He didn't have consistant, soft, giving contact and he was all over the place with his aids.
So I got on his horse, and he was very stiff. Did not want to bend around my legs at all, very stiff neck and needed a lot of work. So I showed him stretches and exercises he needed to do to get his horse to stretch and relax.
Then I had him work on doing these stretches while in the saddle, including lots of circles, bending and serpentines ensuring that he uses an opening inside rein, supportive outside rein, bending his ribs around his inside leg and to make sure there is forward movement.
I showed him how important it is to have a proper, lengthy warm up doing these exercises. Minimal 15 minutes before even moving to a trot. The important factors are, back lifted, engagement *tracking up*, relaxation, bending, stretches and not blocking that flow through a stiff, tense body.
Once he mastered those stretches and exercises and had a good warm up, I then introduced Long And Low - and exceptional exercise to aid your horse to develop the back muscles, so that they can eventually obtain self carraige.
Your horse cannot do any of this, without muscle development to do what it is that you are asking.
He is still working on it, and he gets some very nice moments, but then looses it. I tell him, remember what it is that you did exactly, to of recieved the result you wanted, and try to repeat. Sometimes he gets frustrated, resulting me in getting on his horse for him - the thing is, I can get the end result easily because I have my aids put together, but my friend cannot because he doesn't know how to put his aids all together to ask the questions.
He gets frustrated and blames his horse, but I have to stress that if I can do it, and he can't - then it is him, not his horse. So that makes him more dilligent to figure out what it is that he isn't asking, or to make his questions more clear.
When he gets it, it is beautiful.
You must always set your horse up for success.
I hope I made sense......it's Xmas Morning and the house is a Zoo right now, hard to focus and keep track of what I am typing.