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Mare Holds Head Way To High

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  • Horse fast and high head
  • Horse holds head high on lunge

 
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    12-24-2010, 02:14 PM
  #11
Weanling
Headsets...

What you are actually in need of is balancing. A horse that is carrying itself correctly, balanced and forward will have a natural lower head set. Now depending on your discipline, this may either be ideal for you or not. You always need to take in your horses conformation when determining if their high head is really a problem or something you must live with. My horse for example, ties in a bit high... he will always carry his head naturally above the vertical. But I can tell when he's on the bit and when he's resisting. To get him to drop his head, I must push him forward and encourage him to stretch down.

If you are riding English... You need to be riding back to front. I have found the easiest way to encourage proper carriage is a lot of circle and serpentine work. Working the horse forward (not fast, just impulsion) and sponging your inside hand up to encourage the head down. Keeping your outside rein steady. You also need to be bending the horse around your leg.

Western, I will apologize I have limited knowledge. I schooled horse learns to break at the poll with a curb bit. Basically tipping his nose in, not dropping his head. However a western horse with proper breeding should be naturally built to carry his head long and low. For western I've seen the hold and release method used very commonly. Make sure you're using a snaffle though before moving to a curb.

If this were my horse though, I would probably be looking into teeth and saddle fit first. Continuing your work on the line will also help build up the muscle memory for the correct carriage.

There are a lot of exercises for a round carriage, but this is where I would start.
     
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    12-24-2010, 02:20 PM
  #12
Showing
There is no equipment in world (unless it's a problem with the fit or you force it down (which is a big no-no)), which would help you in this problem. Only consistent, correct training/riding, and it takes weeks and months to archive what you want.

From personal experience I'd say find a good instructor to work with both of you. I couldn't overcome the same problem on my own even with all help I got on forum, from books, and on Internet in general, because I was too inexperienced to deal with something like that. Basically you have to make her working from behind and be round (and I'm horrible at explaining that ).
     
    12-24-2010, 02:52 PM
  #13
Ak1
Banned
Okay this is a very personal matter for me as I have the same problem 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. For her, it's not defiance, or pain or anything like that. 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. You're right to nip it right in the bud, because it usually gets worse.

I personally, -not speaking as a trainer here- recommend a running martingale. Use it to stop the really extreme rises of her head, JUST FOR A FEW WEEKS. Over those few week,s like tinyliny and kevinshorses said, develop a feel and ask for a bend. Instead of pulling, use your hands and ask for a frame and hold her in it. It is very common for young horses to be unbalanced and once and a while their head to rise, but not okay if it gets to the point that they just hold it up there- or try all of the time. So, after a few weeks when it improves, remove the running and start to maintain what you've developed.
Now the reason that I say yay to running instead of standing is that a standing martingale sometimes will put too much pressure on their head if they try to put it up while being unbalanced.


ALSO, another good point is what kind of bit are you using?
Hope that helops!
     
    12-24-2010, 04:14 PM
  #14
Weanling
My experience is that it's a weak back first, bridle-avoidance second. Some horses have sensitive backs, maybe by the withers, maybe further back. I've seen this with big, strong horses; just like big, strong people can have a "tweaky back". My own horse was uncomfortable with a rider, not what I'd call pain, but she's not a stoical horse. I took a LONG time: first on the ground, teaching her to lower her head. When she got that, I'd do it at the halt and walk. It took much longer to get her to lower her head at the trot, and she's still not too good at the canter. It's easy for her to raise her head, so she does; but it CAN lead to a sore back, so you're right to try to stop this right away.
     
    12-24-2010, 04:33 PM
  #15
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ak1    
I personally, -not speaking as a trainer here- recommend a running martingale.
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!
     
    12-25-2010, 08:33 AM
  #16
Yearling
To the OP.
My horse has recently been going through something similar and basically what has been working in Correct and consistent training and riding.

I don't know what dicipline you ride but I suggest you get someone to ride and work the horse or instruct you while your on, or the combo of both of those to get things going.

In the end you will be much happier and so will your horse.

The idea is to get the horse to learn how to carry themselves.

Trying to "hold" them in some sort of headset isnt the way to do it. As Kevin stated they are learning and need to develop to a point they can carry the position for longer and longer periods of time. It is a process and isn't going to happen over night.

Please get on the ground and in saddle training and instruction from a trainer that has much experience with young green horses.

Halfpass
     
    12-25-2010, 10:55 AM
  #17
Trained
Quote:
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.
Quote:

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.

Quote:
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.
     

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