Lowering the Head
How do you teach a horse to lower their head for you (for haltering / bridling, specifically)? I'm somewhat on the shorter side and it would make it easier on me, especially if the horse has a tendency to lift their head.
Put your hand behind their ears at the top of their head , then place pressure till he starts to lower his head. Practice with him and dont force ! ask and release!
If you have any questions inbox me ! Being 5'2 I have alot of experience using it Hahha:P
At the farm, we don't teach them. They just do it for us. And I'm not talking about old schooling horses who know the routine from years and years of random kids coming in and haltering them up...I'm talking raised from foals, just simply do it by themselves.
The key is to reward the littlest effort. What I do is I pull on the lead rope with a steady pressure downwards and say "down," and as soon as the horse gives even a millimeter of movement downwards, I release and reward verbally. When I started with a head-shy filly, I incorporated treats - she now drops her nose to the ground on command.
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I'm taller and my horse can get his head very high. Using the hand isn't always an option. Try a knotted halter. Face the same direction as the horse, bend a little at the waist and using thumb and forefinger on the lead, make little tugs. As soon as he drops, even an inch, let go immediatly. It's the release that teaches. I suspect he doesn't like his ears handled so once he's good at lowering his head face his neck and place your left hand mid way along on his crest and rest it there. Your left will ask him to lower. When he does, release both hands. You may have to do this 20 times, gradually working your hand up his neck. When you get to his ears, use your thumb to press against the back of his ear at the base. Then rub it around the base of his ear but not near the opening just yet. If he's ear shy, thus the halter/bridle evasion, be patient as it takes time. To hasten the process check out clicker training.
Thank you for the helpful information (:
Are the halters you use rope halters, or does it matter?
Also, how often should you do this?
As other's have said, use your hand on top of the head--IF that is an option for you. If you're really short it can be pretty hard! I was taught at first to just put your flat, open hand on the poll and say "Head? Head?" until it finally drop its head. So I did that for awhile and it worked, but my horse was sluggish about it. She wasn't in any real hurry; the scenery looked pretty nice from way up there, she thought.
Then I saw Clinton Anderson teach a horse to lower its head, but he did it just a little differently. He first just put his palm on the horse's poll, then lightly pinched the poll, then went to the next degree of discomfort, then went to the hardest pressure (if he needed to), and stayed there until the horse lowered its head. He immediately released the pressure after the horse gave in. I found this to work very quickly, and now I barely have to press her poll while saying, "Head", and she immediately lowers it.
In my opinion, the type of halter doesn't matter so much as the consistency behind the training. I used a flat nylon web, and the filly was quite head (ear) shy - by being consistent and rewarding even little attempts. Now I can go up to her and say "down" or just apply light pressure with two fingers down on the rope and her chin is on the ground.
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