Hunter Haflinger Headset- say that five times fast! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 04-17-2012, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Flushing, MI
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Hunter Haflinger Headset- say that five times fast!

My friend asked me to post this for her as she does not have an account.
She is riding/showing a Haflinger gelding in open huntseat classes this summer and is having difficulty getting a headset from him. She is riding him in a Kimberwicke (or Kimblewick or whatever you want to refer to it as) with a jointed mouthpiece and are having issues at all 3 gaits. I don't think he's bracing or flinging his head about, but as a Haflinger who is trained to drive, he's rather heavy on her hands and just hasn't gotten the concept of carrying himself. Therefore, he's nosed out and isn't framed.
I know this is a dressage heavy forum, but she would like the input of those who have experiences in huntseat/HUS.
Also, she mostly does walk/trot work with him, not a lot of cantering.
If there are any questions, I can ask her and find out the answers. I can probably get a video, but it won't be a recent one.
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post #2 of 5 Old 04-22-2012, 09:33 AM
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Hello, I hope I can be some help, I showed a haflinger in hunter classes for about 3-4 years. WOW it was a tuff crowd! So I will tell you what I learnt from my experiences and what judges have told me. First of all, loose the kimberwick if you can. I rode in one and it was not a good look in the hunter ring. My pony was actually a REAL hunt horse so he had to be in one but if you don’t have to be then loose it. A good judge can look at the horse and see that haflingers really are not show horses - not to be insulting, many of them have a very thick neck, and jowl( sp?) that makes it difficult for them to bend at the poll and flex. But the judge can still appreciate things like a good pace, even movement if you are jumping how willing the jump is. Nothing against the horse just how they where bred to be. If your friend can work on everything else to make sure that is all good then she may still do well. At one point I had to just forget about his head and ride him and then it became much easier and we where more successful. If you can get pictures so everyone can kind of see where the pony is with his head. I took dressage lessons for years to make sure the pony can carry himself. Maybe your friend can find a good dressage trainer with experience and patients. Haffys are not easy horses to ride and make into show horses but it is possible!

Try a standing martingale; this is a suitable solution for the hunter rings because the horse can be ridden in the class with this. Worst case draw reins but unless your friend can really ride independently and with a trainer I wouldn’t go there. Hope this helps!
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post #3 of 5 Old 04-22-2012, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the input- I'll pass it on!
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post #4 of 5 Old 04-22-2012, 09:58 AM
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Agreed with McKellar...try and find a different bit. A Kimblewicke is a pretty strong bit and it is going to be difficult to teach a horse already resisting to relax and flex down. If the horse isn’t strong otherwise, as in uncontrollable, try a loose ring, either single or double jointed.

A couple of exercises, ground and mounted.

Try lunging the horse with side reins attached. You want to attach the side reins to the bit for this and not a halter as the idea is to get the horse to submit to the pressure of the side reins and round over the topline. You can put a halter on over top the bridle to allow for attachment of the lunge line if your friend doesn't have a lunging caveson. Set the side reins loose at first as a horse can get very sore if forced to submit too quickly..they have to build their topline muscles. The horse may not work under itself properly at first but keeping a lunge whip trailing just behind as the horse moves will help it work under itself, using the hind legs properly.

When mounted, allowing the horse to stretch forward and down will help build the topline muscles. As well, when the horse is stretching forward and down. Slowly shorten the reins and “shorten” the allowed stretch while using leg to keep the horse moving forward. This helps get the horse “on the bit” or from reading what McKellar wrote, at least allowing a lower head carriage overall even if the horse can’t do a good flex.

Once you get a more relaxed frame, then go to a lot of downward transitions form trot to walk, canter to walk. Use your leg when making the transition to get the horse to stop from behind and not fall on the forehand. You should feel as though the horse is actually lifting its shoulders to make the stop rather than feeling like the horse is going to fall on its nose.
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-22-2012, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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I'll pass that on as well. Thanks!
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