What can I do to get a lower headset?
   

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What can I do to get a lower headset?

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  • Lower headset for english horses

 
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    10-28-2010, 10:56 PM
  #1
Weanling
What can I do to get a lower headset?

I'm new so I'm sorry right off if I break a rule, forgive me.
My horse Gunnar carries his head way in the clouds, We joke that he's full of himself and likes to look down at everyone..but in all seriousness I'm looking to teach him to lower his head. I'll add some pictures..


See what I mean?


Side note, if it matters, I ride english, I'm not looking for the low low head set of western pleasure, just a more relaxed set. He doesn't fight the bit and when riding his head isn't so rediculously high but still not quite where I'd like it. I'll have to get pictures of him in action as soon as I can.. just any ideas? I don't think his conformation makes it impossible...but I'm no expert.
     
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    10-28-2010, 10:59 PM
  #2
Weanling
Working with a trainer to achieve roundness, not headset, is what you want.
     
    10-28-2010, 11:07 PM
  #3
Foal
I am working my horse on a lunge line, and I reward the relaxation and lowering of her head. Also I have been doing lots of Lateral Flexing which motivates her to drop her head. It seems to be working. You can also lunge the horse saddled, and do what is called a hard tie to the stirrup, and with each step the horse feels the bit, and eventually learns to lower its head to relieve bit pressure.
     
    10-28-2010, 11:09 PM
  #4
Weanling
There are lots of threads (recent ones, too) that talk about achieving a lower headset and rounding out your horse. Here are a few:

Giraffe neck and scraping the clouds
Teaching a horse to keep it's head down?

Good luck, and welcome!
     
    10-28-2010, 11:10 PM
  #5
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowboy Ken    
I am working my horse on a lunge line, and I reward the relaxation and lowering of her head. Also I have been doing lots of Lateral Flexing which motivates her to drop her head. It seems to be working. You can also lunge the horse saddled, and do what is called a hard tie to the stirrup, and with each step the horse feels the bit, and eventually learns to lower its head to relieve bit pressure.
Thank you! I'll work with him on the lunge tomorrow and we'll see how it goes! He's still learning to lunge(just got him a month ago and he had no lunge training before) he learns quickly though so I'm hopeful.
     
    10-28-2010, 11:12 PM
  #6
Green Broke
I second getting some professional advice as going from these pictures, his conformation will make it harder for you to achieve roundness. Not impossible, just more difficult.

He is a cute boy though and welcome!
     
    10-28-2010, 11:22 PM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowboy Ken    
I am working my horse on a lunge line, and I reward the relaxation and lowering of her head. Also I have been doing lots of Lateral Flexing which motivates her to drop her head. It seems to be working. You can also lunge the horse saddled, and do what is called a hard tie to the stirrup, and with each step the horse feels the bit, and eventually learns to lower its head to relieve bit pressure.
If the rein pulls every other stride, or inconsistently like with the movement of a western stirrup, this method could easily teach a horse to duck behind the bit, and evade contact. Beyond that, I believe the OP rides English, so the stirrup would move way too much for an effective hard-tie. I prefer side reins- no donuts, but with a bit of elastic- as it gives a steady contact that will not pull. The art comes where you focus on the horse's hind end, and getting them to rock off their forehand. In the saddle, you want to start riding back to front; the head will fall into place when the body is correct. Keeping steady contact with the reins with a light squeeze- think of squeezing the water out of the sponge- while riding the hind end, and your horse's head will fall into place. Geting lessons with a good dressage trainer will reward you in so many ways. I'm a jumper, but practice dressage more than over fences; it's the base to any English discipline.
ETA- Kymbadina, your horse is very flashy!
     
    10-29-2010, 11:06 AM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charis    
If the rein pulls every other stride, or inconsistently like with the movement of a western stirrup, this method could easily teach a horse to duck behind the bit, and evade contact. Beyond that, I believe the OP rides English, so the stirrup would move way too much for an effective hard-tie. I prefer side reins- no donuts, but with a bit of elastic- as it gives a steady contact that will not pull. The art comes where you focus on the horse's hind end, and getting them to rock off their forehand. In the saddle, you want to start riding back to front; the head will fall into place when the body is correct. Keeping steady contact with the reins with a light squeeze- think of squeezing the water out of the sponge- while riding the hind end, and your horse's head will fall into place. Geting lessons with a good dressage trainer will reward you in so many ways. I'm a jumper, but practice dressage more than over fences; it's the base to any English discipline.
ETA- Kymbadina, your horse is very flashy!
Thank you! I do ride English, Mainly pleasure wtc with some jumping. I'm looking to show him in the spring and just want him to be at his best. Also, I was told he could become hollow backed by excersizing with his head up like that. I really need to get some pictures riding. He doesn't always keep his head up, at a loose walk and even a working walk his head is nice, at a trot he starts to lift it higher..same with canter.
I unfortunately can't ride right now except some bareback/stirrupless due to my back but I can sure work on lunging. I'll ask around the barn for side reins and help with them as I've never used them. I have used a neck stretcher...similar action it does? It worked well on the tb I was working with, we only used it a couple of times and now..well before she was sold to her new owner who let's her walk all over her, she carried herself a lot nicer.
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    10-29-2010, 11:24 AM
  #9
Weanling
Yes, his back is hollow. A low head does NOT mean that his back isn't hollow though, and this us where a GOOD riding instructor comes in; they have to be able to tell 'roundness' [good] from 'headset only' [bad]. The key is not focusing on the head; the head is unimportant. When the horse's body is correct, the head will automatically fall into place. When searching for a dressage trainer, ask them questions about their training. Avoid people who use draw reins or other ridden gadgets; sure they will force the horse's head down, but it will not be correct. You want to hear terms like 'riding the hind end,' 'riding back to front' and 'riding round.'
I'm a jumper rider myself, but I learned years ago that dressage ridden properly steps up your game in almost any discipline.
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    10-29-2010, 02:04 PM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charis    
Yes, his back is hollow. A low head does NOT mean that his back isn't hollow though, and this us where a GOOD riding instructor comes in; they have to be able to tell 'roundness' [good] from 'headset only' [bad]. The key is not focusing on the head; the head is unimportant. When the horse's body is correct, the head will automatically fall into place. When searching for a dressage trainer, ask them questions about their training. Avoid people who use draw reins or other ridden gadgets; sure they will force the horse's head down, but it will not be correct. You want to hear terms like 'riding the hind end,' 'riding back to front' and 'riding round.'
I'm a jumper rider myself, but I learned years ago that dressage ridden properly steps up your game in almost any discipline.
Posted via Mobile Device
I agree completely about dressage being the foundation.
I'll look into a dressage trainer, I know of a good dressage barn near by.. I'll check it out again, they just gave my friend a brush off when she was inquiring about lessons because she was not 100% dedicated to dressage but rather was going to be taking dressage at William woods thus wanted a jump start... I'll see what I can do, I know lessons would be very beneficial.
And I'd never ride in a device that forces anything.. Call me a hippy but I want my horse to have complete range, he doesn't act up so I see no need in such things. I was just more looking at it from the angle of lunge work with something to help him develop the muscles used in a lower head set so it's easier to maintain while riding but after your explication I get it. I'll seek out a trainer. And after what you said I can see how it works, while trotting my friend always notes when he's moving from the hind end and tada it's always those times his head is lower.
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