Changing headsets? - photo
I recently aquired a 15y/o Thoroughbred/QH who has been ridden western for most of his life.
His headset is quite low and collected, but because of this he often drags his front feet. I'd like to see him bring up his front end a little bit more in preperation for working on some english/dressage maneuvers.
When riding bridleless, his favoured head position is down between his toes!
Any advice on getting his head up to improve his stride and get some more elevation in the front?
Is that him?
He looks fine to me.
If he's dragging his feet, you need to push him more into the bridle with a driving seat and more leg.
Once he learns to use his back, which will help if he's got more movement in his hind end, then he'll put his head where it naturally should fall.
Now if his head was further down by his hooves, then there would be a problem.. or if he was carrying it like a giraffe.
But like I said, he looks fine. Just needs more impulsion to lift those legs and truly move "forward."
Now if you're referring to a headset like my profile picture.. that comes over time. Once the horse uses their back and carries themselves well,naturally, then you can start to ask for more and they'll get more round and they'll be more collected and "up."
It takes time though, and correct riding :)
But everytime I collect my reins and ask him to round up, he seems to really want to overbend and almost tuck up to his breast. I dont know what the previous owners were asking him to do, but it's hard to get him out of it. Even if I only ask for the SLIGHTEST bit of give, he just bend in the whole way. I almost cant see his ears when he does this!!
Well the more you ask for forward movement, start on a long rein at the walk, and very slowly gather up about an inch. But when you gather up (or shorten the rein) be careful not to jerk your horse in the mouth. When you shorten, let the horse walk forward and encourage the horse with your seat and leg.
Only go as short as you can BEFORE he starts curling up.
Do you have a riding instructor or trainer that can help you? They'd be more helpful since they can see what's going on in person, not over the net.
But before you do ANY of that gathering, (except the side reins because those are very helpful) you need to encourage the horse to stretch. Long rein, forward impulsion at the walk, then try at the trot.. then if you're comfortable and he's stretching down, the canter.
Once he can stretch on a nice long rein, then start gathering up as suggested above. But over the span of some time. It's going to take awhile to help him realize it's okay to STRETCH and have contact.
EDIT: and if you have any pictures of him curling up and whatnot, be sure to post them!
- I could easily find somebody to watch/instruct from the ground. I'm actually a riding instructor myself ;). I just cant figure out how to relax him and push him out forewards.. he's dead set on his ways.
edit: I have a feeling that he was trained with a shanked bit, and perhaps they used draw reins to give him a headset..
EDIT: Have you tried this? http://www.horseforum.com/horse-ridi...2/#post1304422
I'll check it out - thanks.
Just as a note - I only ride him in a plain snaffle. Yes I can ride him in a halter as well but it has the same results. He's very sensitive.
Why does the position of the head affect what the legs are doing?? This is some strange biomechanical theory...
If you are aiming to do some dressage with him you will need to adjust your thinking... there is no such thing as a "headset" - if we are referring to how the horse is holding himself the term "outline" is used because the back is always the main part of the equation. We also do not want the horse to give to the bit, we want him to stretch to it. There is also no phrase "asking for collection", collection is something that is developed after years of correct conditioning.
When the head is doing something funky - we do not fix it from the front!! When the hind end is correctly working and the back is free and the horse is stretching to the contact - most if not all of the contact/head issues will disappear.
What your horse is doing is called "ducking behind the contact", as a consequence he is coming behind the vertical - but this is not the issue. Put your knuckles on the horse's neck and ride to your hands, give it a month of transitions and correct, correct, correct back to front riding with absolutely no pulling, no "headset" making, no "asking for collection" and no "asking him to give to the bit" and you are beginning to have the horse going correctly. Half halt with your body, ride with your body and ride to your hands. Once your hands have learned to stop trying to "frame" him and "ask for a headset/collection/give" THEN and only then will he learn to trust the contact and come into it in self carriage. Transitions and half halting with your body will keep him moving uphill and your legs and seat riding him up to the contact will engage the hindlegs.
I hope others have ideas too, my knowledge is only so extensive.
My horse was opposite to yours :P He'd carry it so high
EDIT: There you go, Anebel knows what she's doing.
I'm sure he was ridden in draw reins. Side reins won't teach him anything but will just make him duck more.
Don't try to "gather" his head. Ride him on very loose contact, or even on a hanging rein if he'll let you, and preferably one-handed. Push him up with your legs into the gait, and only touch his head with a light "reminder" on the reins if he tries to throw it too high. Don't hold him, but don't snatch him, either. Just touch and release, pushing up with your legs as necessary. This is presuming you want him as a Western horse.
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