Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Greenville area / SC
Ruby! Western pleasure and English Hunter riders would kill for a natural headset like that!
How old is your horse and how much/what kind of training has she had?
If she is ready to be taught collection, then, as ArticMyst suggested, that is a way to give you the look you asked for.
Teaching collection is pretty much the same whether you are riding Western or English and I like my horse in a snaffle, at least in the very beginning. Start at the halt, have firm but light contact with your horse's mouth, you hands should be low to your body. Ask her to move off but hold her slightly back. The effect will be for her rear to begin to move under herself, her front end will get light, her neck should break at the poll, and her head will go vertical as she comes into the bridle.
This does not happen all at once - it take a long time to develop collection. At first your horse will not know what you want and may start to back up. Just hold you reins and keep asking for some forward movement. What you want at this stage is for her to give to the bit and round her neck and have her face go vertical - just for a moment or two. When she does that, relax your hands somewhat but maintain contact. This all takes feel and you will need to learn what that is by having it happen. All you want at first is for her to bend somewhat at the poll to relieve the pressure from your hands and the forward movement you are asking for. The very moment that happpens, remember to relieve the pressure but still maintain your contact - don't "throw the reins away", just ease up and do it again.
After she understands what you want, then allow her to move off but still maintain contact. That is the reason why I like using a snaffle to start - I don't like a leverage bit at this stage.
A horse that is moving in a round frame in true collection will feel very light in your hands as the back end is driving rather then the front end. There is no way to describe this but sooner or latter you will feel it.
BTW, it is a good thing to teach a horse but one that has such a natural head carriage as yours, I would leave alone.
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