Training tips for a low riding head - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 11-14-2012, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Training tips for a low riding head

Do you have any tips or advice on how I can achieve that long and low head and neck while riding??
Ive read about "sponging" I dont quite understand how to do that with the reins?
(And if I do the sponging will my horse automatically lower his head - even if he hasnt been trained to do so?)

Any ideas?? I will work on it with my horse this next week.
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post #2 of 26 Old 11-14-2012, 11:11 PM
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Reeeeeeelllllaaaaaax.......slow jog, as soon as the horse lowers his head on his own while moving forward reward him with a break and a good bum rub!!

It's a slow process, not to be rushed
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post #3 of 26 Old 11-14-2012, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Ty we will see how it goes next week.
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post #4 of 26 Old 11-15-2012, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Charley horse View Post
Do you have any tips or advice on how I can achieve that long and low head and neck while riding??
Ive read about "sponging" I dont quite understand how to do that with the reins?
(And if I do the sponging will my horse automatically lower his head - even if he hasnt been trained to do so?)

Any ideas?? I will work on it with my horse this next week.
Okay, let me help you!
When I first learned about ''sponging'' I was told it's as light and simple as a heart beat. Remember to KEEP your equitation (posture) upright. You want to imagine a string attached from your bellybutton all the way to the tip of your head. Keep it straight, shoulders back and straight, rump sound and relaxed so your back is relaxed and able to Allow movement when you achieve the "long and low" frame.

In order to get your horse to properly relax it's body, he's going to have to understand how to s t r e t c h it out first.
When you first get on your horse and warm up, you have to Allow* the horse to stretch it's muscles, extend his back and really move forward. With the horses head low and his body moving forward, you're going to have to push the horse off your leg and get him 'on-the-bit'. This means, without drastically changing pace, allow your horse to move forward in the warm-up. Extend the trot and keep a slighter loose rein. [If you have a horse in which is not supple to the bit that's when sponging comes in (which I'll mention later)]. Essentially allow the horse to keep a forward rhythm, after collecting and extending exercises, your horse should learn the difference in pace/rhythm.

Now, with sponging. If your horse is having an issue with keeping contact on the bit, FIRST make sure your hands are even, thumbs and wrists up.
**"Whatever you can do at the walk- you can do at the trot. Whatever you can do at the trot- you can do in the canter."**
At the walk, (it may be easier to begin on a turn) while you add leg pressure to motivate the horse forward, like a heartbeat squeeze pressure on the rein and when your has a proper bend, you can see their ear listening, and without releasing pressure- wait until the horse has a response. IF the horse does not like the pressure, r e l a x x x x. Baby steps.
Add leg and slight hand squeeze Do it 2x like a pulse and see if your horses muzzle wiggles a bit, or his eye or ear makes a notice. Release your hand pressure ONLY and ride through the trot keeping the forward rhythm (this will keep the low neck). Do alternating one hand, both hands, heartbeat squeezes on the reins.
"Keep your hands off your horses neck, ride with the best balance, and show off your best talents ;]"-me

Hope this helps!!! Message me if you want more advice!
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post #5 of 26 Old 11-15-2012, 01:08 AM
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Haha that's a better explanation! ^^^^ I was just working of reeelllllaaaaxxxxx!
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post #6 of 26 Old 11-15-2012, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for explaining this to me!
Its a lot to take in.
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post #7 of 26 Old 11-15-2012, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Picture of my husband riding.."I think he was riding w/a tight rein" -he always has.
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post #8 of 26 Old 11-15-2012, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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This is more better and what I am aiming for.
He has it in him w/the walk, wish me luck.
I have no pictures of me on my horse because I am usually the only one that takes pictures.
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post #9 of 26 Old 11-15-2012, 02:38 AM
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mbaron has giving you a lengthy but excellent description of how to encourage a tight horse to move forward, stretch out and downward, and eventually do all this while on contact with the bit.

I see you are riding Western, but since you are riding in a snaffle, you can still do things as she described

the horse is cute but it looks a little bit like he is moving defensively. Meaning, that maybe the saddle is not comfortable, or since your husband is kind of far back into the cantle, and braced into his stirrup, he has a lot of weight pressing down in the very back edge of the weight bearing part of a horse's back, so charlie might not be too comfy with that. his natural response will be to hollow out his back, put head in air and rush out from under you.

the walk picture looks a lot better. If your husband and you can do a lot of that kind of relaxed walking, don't lean back in the saddle and be sure that saddle is a good fit, those are small, easy things to do.

I should have said "don't sit too far back in the saddle" rather than lean back. I misspoke. But anyway, forgive me for going on about that. this is not a critique of your husband's riding. Just a minor observation that might have some part in why the horse has head up high.
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post #10 of 26 Old 11-15-2012, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Tiny. I critique husbands riding all the time ha ha ha!
Your right though
He was acting on getting out from under my Husband..The saddle is a good fit on Charley, the thing going on in this picture is we just got the horse and his history has it that he hasnt been ridden in over a year..So this was all getting back into it.
I got this horse for free because previous owner (my niece) didnt think he was broke to be ridden/or she wasnt sure how experienced he was..She knew that he sat in a pasture w/dairy cows for a year not being handled and he is only four so he dont really have that much time under the saddle. " Too much horse for her " I did a few wks of ground wrk w/him and once I noticed he accepted the saddle just fine and gave to pressure already I was happy.
I'll have to get some picture's of me riding him so I have them around.
Here is the next shot Tiny lol! from the one you said Charley horse looked defensively..ha ha
I am the only one riding him now - I was just using my husband as a guinea pig to see how the horse would ride oh and my son ha ha!
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