very inexperinced rider here. but i have a question. my TW mare likes to go with her nose out, instead of tucking her head in. is there a way to get her to tuck her nose in like a walker should? a training method? or is this bred in them?
some info on her.....shes 6 yrs old and has had 6 months of professional training working cattle before i got her. all i do is trail ride.
Nose tucking is cosmetic only. Have you ever seen an untrained horse go with a tucked nose?
Many, many horse move more naturally and with a whole lot fewer problems with their head and nose natural. If you try and make them go unnatural, which you can train them to do, you could wind up with some real problems getting them to stay in gait.
There is fake softening and there is real softening.
Fake softening happens when the horse yeilds to pressure from the bit without being taught how to step under, balance, straighten and carry itself properly. This is usually obtained through stronger bits and usually hollows the horse out and causes problems.
Real softening happens when the horse carries itself properly, is balanced and stepping into the hand. The reins hardly need to be touched and the horse's head will drop naturally in responce to the inside leg.
If the OP wants true softening, he/she will have to consult a trainer and take lessons in order to achieve it through proper technique and training.
On a side note, true collection is not obtained when the head is down. True softening through the poll and jaw is a good stepping stone, though.
TW can obtain true softening, even with their special gaits. But again, it takes training. All too often, the training is bypassed by bits, and achieving a headset through the bit only is cosmetic and will produce the problems you're talking about.
It has always been my thought that the natural body and head position of a horse is what is best for him in terms of balance. We humans alter that by insisting on a low head, a tucked nose, and other changes different from the way a horse would carry himself if he could. Why do we think we know more than nature does about horse body positioning?
Some say the weight of the rider changes a horses balance. That may be but the horse is capable of altering his posture to deal with that without us telling him what he should do. He will naturally tuck his rear for certain manuvers and lower his head for others. Sometimes he wants that head high.
So is all this trained in collection really what is best for the horse? If we think so, how do we know that ? Is it a looks thing...that is... what we humans think looks good? We have taken natural horse gaits like the running walk and tried to turn it into some kind of strut with totally unnatural leg action...and doing all kind of barbarous things to get it. We work to get horses to nod thier heads, lift thier legs unnaturally high, carry thier tails in certain ways or drop thier nose so low they are practically stepping on thier curb strap. We crank their heads down with tiedowns, poke them with spurs and yank thier faces around with harsh bits. I'm not at all against training...but are we helping or hindering our kind friend the horse?
A horse "nosed out" and head up will be traveling "hollow." This may be "natural" but it is a bad idea for the horse's back. We can train the horse to travel in a more "unnatural", but much more healthful way, by teaching them to shift weight to the rear, lower the head, and slightly round the back. This will pull the gait the center, extract a small cost in "smoothness," but grossly extend the useful life of the horse.
Classical equitation (as taught by the Cavalry School at Ft. Riley) is an excellent way to ride a gaited horse for long periods of time (both hours and decades). Go to Horsemanship,Volume I - Horses - Books and buy it. It will be the best money you've ever spent on a text for training both horse and rider.
Horses fall over with their riders all the time because the rider asks the horse to turn, he doesn't know how to balance the turn right, his shoulder dives into the turn while his head is thrown to the outside for leverage and then boom, they're down.
This would be the natural way a horse moves. Its the extreme of unbalanced movement, but every single horse I see moves unbalanced from the get-go. The right training will teach a horse how to use itself in a balanced manner so they don't fall over, strain in the turns, run into gaits and etc. A good rider will help the horse to help himself in movement with a rider on its back. You just can't plop a rider on a horse's back and upset the natural balance he has while moving along without teaching him how to accept, carry and maneuver that balance correctly. He will hurt himself.
The horse doesn't need to dive in at the turn with his shoulder and have his head to the outside to keep its balance. A good rider will show and teach the horse how to keep perfect balance through the turn by himself, with his shoulders straight and his head between his chest.
The side effect to this is a good headset. Not a dropped headset where they're rolling peanuts and on the forehand. A soften, responsive headset where just the twitch of your pinky finger will rebalance and assist the horse in his movement as he carrys a partner on his back.
A horse alone can balance alone. A horse with a rider needs to learn how to balance a rider, its not natural. They will compensate if no one helps them, but it will strain their natural movement until someone shows and teaches them that there is a better way of moving with that weight.
I'm not quite convinced yet. I want to give the horse credit for figuring out things for himself. It sounds as if your thought is the horse is to dumb and we smart humans need to tell him how to carry himself.
In this instance, does the horse carry his nose out because of something the rider does? perhaps a heavy hand on the reins or a bit the horse doesn't like. Just the weight of the rider is not going to make him stick his nose out and hollow his back. A poorly fitting saddle or a rough or heavy rider might. Also being forced into a gait that is not natural for him.
I completely agree with this. Imagine you are giving someone a piggy-back ride. You pick them up and carry them. Then someone watching says "no hold more with this part or that part" - don't you think you, the person carrying, would best know what's most comfortable for you?
At the same time if you want a horse to build up specific muscles they need to be ridden in a different way. I think the problem comes from people calling it"natural" or "correct" horses are natural without our interference. They carry us how they naturally feel comfortable, any interference is not natural. That being said that is what riding is, not natural. If you want a horse to have a strong topline and a nice neck then working in a collected way is ideal. But then you could also just get a horse who naturally carries himself that way so that you don't need to change a horse's natural way of carrying you.
As fun as it is to see horses doing different unique things I'm a strong believer in horses doing the job they were bred to do - as they do it best and they do it with less strain on themselves. Jumping horses are built and designed to take the pounding on their legs of jumping, as much as I like jumping my drafts I wouldn't ever expect them to carry themselves or ride like a hot-blooded jumper.
Where I'm going with this is, taking a horse who doesn't naturally collect and asking them to collect does cause strain on the horse, which eventually leads to muscle in specific attractive locations. But it isn't how the horse was designed to move and thus causes more stress on them than collecting a horse bred to move like that. Such as a lusitano or an Andalusian, it doesn't cause them much effort to move the way they naturally do. Collecting a QH into a 'frame' is going to put more strain than collecting an andalusian into a frame.
Each breed has been bred to have a specific silhoutte when moving naturally, changing that natural silhoutte causes strain.
ETA: I also do not compete. I also see no reason to need to control every inch of my horse for every second. I ride because I love it - my horse can move how she's comfortable, if she's not balanced in something I will work on it, trying to help her until she figures out how to balance herself - how she's comfortable doing it.
And I completely disagree. It's very rare for humans to perform at their best without coaching. Coaching just doesn't include tactics, it includes such things as:
-proper body mechanics.
-how to perform while minimizing injury.
First, nose in or out has nothing to do with true collection. Second, a TWH who was very hollow in the back would not be able to gait properly – they would pace instead. If your horse is not doing that, you probably don't have to worry that she's going to develop back problems from being too hollow.
People forget that most horses never receive any training in collection and yet they don't suffer back problems, or fall a lot with their riders either. Heck, I used to know a 25-year-old school horse who was still going strong despite never getting training in collection and being ridden by novices all her life. Collection is not a bad thing but it's also not necessary for the average pleasure horse.
All that to say, if your mare seems healthy and happy let her be. It really is just cosmetic.
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