very high headset when trotting and cantering?
   

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very high headset when trotting and cantering?

This is a discussion on very high headset when trotting and cantering? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Horse keeping head in air when trotting
  • Horse pulling head when trotting and canter

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    08-26-2011, 05:02 PM
  #1
Yearling
very high headset when trotting and cantering?

So I have a green horse on my hands and things have actually been okay so far. I have almost gotten him to halt with just my seat now (he didn't know what stop meant when I got him). He will walk with a low headset, he will even get off his forehand a little and try to do some kind of a headset (he's come a long way with getting off the forehand too). But when he trots his headset is REALLY far up. It looks uncomfortable to be honest. I have a running martingale on him that is a little tight (don't have a leather puncher), but not enough to really interfere with his headset really.

He isn't my horse (was kind of dumped on me), but is also for sale and so I don't want to fork out a bunch of money to get him all fixed up and then sold (the owner is selling him, not me). I'm really hoping that it is just a training issue.... But I feel like that is wishful thinking.

So do you guy's have any training exercises that might help his headset? HELP! >.<




**Prince is a 17yo green german bred TB. He was on the track for a looong time (I think about 5 or 6 years). Then he sat in a pasture until he ended up at the auction and he was rescued by the lady that owns him. He was vet checked a year and a half ago and his flex tests came out great. He came to me looking pretty bad... But he has fattened up quite a bit and even filled out a little.
He's a super willing horse; he's a people pleaser. Just a wonderful guy, really.
     
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    08-26-2011, 05:26 PM
  #2
Started
How well does his saddle fit him? Could it possibly need re-flocked? Does he move the same way on the lunge or at liberty? Has he ever been seen by a chiropractor or equine massage therapist? How are his teeth? What kind of bit are you using? That high head carriage isn't starting at his face, but is a symptom of general topline inversion. After that long history of racing, then sitting in a pasture I wouldn't be surprise if his back is out or if he has some muscle soreness. Inferior saddle fit can create pressure, causing inversion. Sheer muscle memory from walking around the pasture in an inverted frame can take a lot of work to reverse.

If all of the above checks out, my first instinct to help his carriage would be to fit him in a simple snaffle bridle and a well fitting saddle, and, after a good stretching warm-up, put him up onto a forward trot on a loose rein. Post the trot, let him choose his own path around the arena, and generally encourage him to stretch. When he begins to offer to travel in a more level outline, moving with rhythm and relaxation, you can take up some rein and try for some more formal long and low work.

Hope that was helpful to you! Good luck!
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    08-26-2011, 05:30 PM
  #3
Yearling
He always moves with his head too high. And I CAN get him to round up a little at the trot, just not much. I know he needs topline muscle, but side reins don't work on him because of the headset. ):
I think he really should be seen my a chiro. I'll see if I can get some money for that.... Haha
     
    08-27-2011, 11:58 PM
  #4
Trained
Help him to get balanced in trot and canter before trying to pull his head down with gadgets. In 99% of horses that travel with their head stuck in the air (talking training issues, when health and tack issues have been cleared) it is because they are unbalanced and have to travel high and hollow to stay upright.

Lots of transitions, not allowing him to rush into/out of them, circles, changes of rein, leg yield, shoulder in and keeping the time spent in each gait to a minimum. If you just keep cantering around on a 20m circle trying to get his head down, you have set yourself up for failure. The horse will only canter with as much quality as the transition from the previous gait. So if the transition is stiff, hollow and unbalanced, the canter will be just as bad. It is much harder to fix a problem than prevent it.
Very careful and well timed riding, not allowing him to become unbalanced and stiff, will gradually help him to relax into his work and release his topline.
There is no quick fix for an unbalanced horse, it takes time and skilled riding.
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    08-28-2011, 04:49 AM
  #5
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Help him to get balanced in trot and canter before trying to pull his head down with gadgets. In 99% of horses that travel with their head stuck in the air (talking training issues, when health and tack issues have been cleared) it is because they are unbalanced and have to travel high and hollow to stay upright.

Lots of transitions, not allowing him to rush into/out of them, circles, changes of rein, leg yield, shoulder in and keeping the time spent in each gait to a minimum. If you just keep cantering around on a 20m circle trying to get his head down, you have set yourself up for failure. The horse will only canter with as much quality as the transition from the previous gait. So if the transition is stiff, hollow and unbalanced, the canter will be just as bad. It is much harder to fix a problem than prevent it.
Very careful and well timed riding, not allowing him to become unbalanced and stiff, will gradually help him to relax into his work and release his topline.
There is no quick fix for an unbalanced horse, it takes time and skilled riding.
this - lots of forward transitions both up and down... don't worry about where his head is too much - get him forward and moving from behind... focus on the rhythm
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    08-28-2011, 06:11 AM
  #6
Green Broke
A horse working on the bit or becoming round it like a piece of the puzzle. The last piece.

It will only be achieved if you ride correctly and allow the horse to work correctly - from behind and forward. Smooth transitions, solid and even gaits. Than once you've got all this down, you can consider asking the horse to work onto the bit.

But you'll be shocked too see how well a correctly ridden horse will improve..
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    08-28-2011, 10:04 AM
  #7
Trained
Until you get things perfect at the walk you won't be able to get them perfect at the trot. Work on vertical and lateral flexion at the walk and standstill and also work on moving the hind and front quarters seperately. Don't pull on both reins at the same time for a while and bend your horse to a stop. You can also try doubling along a fence to help your horse learn to use its body more efficently.

Moving the hindquarters may not seem to connect to the headset but when you step a horse over on the back they HAVE to step under themselves and round up.

Also take into consideration that this horse has likely been like this for 15 years so he isn't going to change nearly as much or as quickly as a horse that is younger. You may have to take what he is willing to give and be happy with it.
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    08-05-2012, 11:27 AM
  #8
Foal
I had the same problem with my now wp horse! I made a cue for her to put down her head by jiggling the inside rein LIGHTLY and she puts her head down fine though. However, since it seems like he's being doing that for awhile, I would put his saddle on, put the bridle on him, hook the inside rein inbetween his chest to make him put his head where you desire it to be. This will also increase his muscle. The great thing about this is, it gives him the choice to release to pressure. And it will always correct him so you don't have to worry if you're doing it at the right moment or not. It acts more as a standing martingale but works. Don't use it everyday, just build up the 'right' muscles on his neck so that he learns it's better to carry his head low than high up.
     
    08-05-2012, 01:50 PM
  #9
Weanling
He's 17? He's old and has probably carried himself like that his whole life or close to it.

Depending on how he is built, his conformation may be limiting his ability to round up properly. Honestly, at 17, I am surprised that you guys are trying to get him going under saddle.
     
    08-05-2012, 04:28 PM
  #10
Foal
My old 22 year old mare did not collect when I got her (at 20) you can try what I have been trying to teach her, start from a stand still, gently with your hands very far appart (like by your knees) seasaw your reins so pull from one side then pull the other, start out being gentle then gradually get rougher till he gives to the pressure. Basically pull his nose out one way then the other! It will get hit to drop his head and remember once he gives to the pressure release it! It helped my mare I think that it can help you. It will take about a year of doing this before the horse keeps up with it on his own without you reminding him! But as he starts to understand you can bring you're hands in so that they are closer together! I wish you luck my horse isn't perfect yet, but I'm teaching her to be an English pleasure horse so she has to have her head low!
     

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