Originally Posted by EquineIllusion
First and foremost, do you ride english or western?
If you ride english, then I can help.
I really don't see the need for a martingale. If you think about it, a martingale is only covering up the underlying problem, that being how your horse throws up his head when you seek contact on the reins.
Firstly, we need to identify the problem. Does your tack fit properly? Has your horse had his teeth and overall health checked lately? Has he ever had his back checked over for pulled muscles ect.? Has he/she ever been jabbed or mis-treated in or around the mouth area?
These are just some of the causes of a horse resisting contact. My advice to you is to get him/her checked over. That way you can put all of the above questions aside.
After you have done that, I suggest you try and ride with contact at all times. I mean a light contact, not a jaw-breaking one. While you have a contact, use your lower leg to encourage him to get into a soft a responsive outline by squeezing his sides ever so lightly.
He may not respond to these aids immeadiatley, but give him time and he will work out what you are asking of him.
Just remember to be consistant, that's the only way he is going to learn. But once again, just make sure that this isn't caused by any physical or phsycological problems first. Basically, get him checked over by a vet.
I also agree with this post. You also might want to try getting your horse to give to the bit and set his head. When you teach him to set his head he will keep his head down so you will be able to release to the horse and when you ask for a downward transition sit down in your saddle, slow your motion and then pull. Your horse will hopefully learn how to break down with your body only. Also when you do pull if he sticks his head up use leg. I know it sounds funny, but it will drive him into the bridle and he will respond to it better and hopefully will set his head. I'm not completely sure if your horse knows how to set his head, if he doesn't you might want to let someone who knows how to train a horse to set his head work with him.