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Ashleysmardigrasgirl 01-09-2013 02:18 AM

Question for the pros out there
As some of you may know, I'm starting my filly under harness. She's doing great and is getting very light in the bridle, she responds to very little aid, she's getting good at her voice commands, and is slowly working on a rock solid woah and backing straight and steady. However, despite my best efforts she will not stop trying to put her head down to try to eat, even if it's just looking for food that isn't there. I attribute most of this to being young and growing since she ALWAYS has food on the mind but, my question is this: Would it be wrong of me to use the overcheck? I've found it nearly impossible to get her to lift her head up from the ground driving position (behind her).

Freemare 01-09-2013 09:24 AM

I hate over checks. I never use them unless I have to. They can be dangrous at times. There is a great litttle product that prevents her from putting her head down that does not involve the over check. It's for horses that like to eat all the time. Anti-Grazing Device | Dover Saddlery

If you have to you can use the over check but I have seen horses got over backwards with it. Not a cool thing. If you plan on showing to, you dont want her getting use to have the over check as you cant use it.

wildfilly 01-09-2013 09:47 AM

There is no problem with using an overcheck on a filly. If it is loose enough to get her head atleast to her knees to start,but this can leave it flapping. An easier way is to tie your sides of the bit up to the harness itself kind of like side reins staft with both sides then eventually one side and she will become more responsive to your hand on the other side . Eventually you can take them away, but you must use something or she will be teaching herself to pull your reins away! I've done this with babies and retrained adults for years! Good luck and have fun sounds like she is doing amazing!

churumbeque 01-09-2013 12:27 PM

When you say light in the bridle I am curious as to if you have steady contact? Which you should and you should be able to keep your horse from eating with proper contact. I am wondering if your reins are too loose and that is why she is getting her head down. Hold a 16 oz drink. That is ideally how much contact you should strive for. 1 pound.
I would stand for a long while and when she tries to eat I would say head up and pop her on her side with the whip. I do this with a looser rein and in lush tempting grass. She should learn in a mtter of a pop or to that she is not to go to eat.

Ashleysmardigrasgirl 01-09-2013 01:34 PM


you're probably spot on. This is her first solid week of actual training to ground driving with a bit. Not sure if this matters, but, for informational purposes she's in a loose ring snaffle and closed bridle. I probably am not using the correct amount of steady contact with her. Thanks for the info about the 16oz/1lb. I have been much lighter on her mouth, tbh... I've been working with her to turn on very subtle reining cues which might contribute to my lack of proper contact. I will defiantly get on fixing that thank you very much for pointing that out.

I may have to do the side reins idea suggested above. That's a great idea if the above doesn't work... She's the type of horse who I'll be having a conversation with the barn owner and despite me having worked with her on this before and as she begins reaching for the ground yanking her head back up right when she gets the idea, she still will try for 20 minutes... LOL...

Thanks guys so much for the constructive and honest responses they mean a lot to me and my filly.

churumbeque 01-09-2013 01:43 PM

keep in mind when you cue her to turn 1 direction you still need to keep pressure on the outside is kind of like riding a bike . keep that in mind how your hands turn like with handle bars
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Ashleysmardigrasgirl 01-09-2013 01:48 PM


yet again a very wonderful and appreciated tip. I'm very thankful you pointed that out to me. I'm just moving out of running the reins around her body to aid her in her turn and am going to be moving on to direct reining and will defiantly keep what you've said in the forefront.
thanks so much

michaelvanessa 01-09-2013 01:49 PM

keep a contact on the rain and keep your horse going foward the other thing is to longline (rein) in the school and paddock in circles as the out side rein goes behind the horses quaters and the horse uses its own weight and you can long rein with one thinger with very little contact and
the horse is light on the mouth in walk trot and canter and its great way for your self and your horse to enjoy lessons with each other.

Ashleysmardigrasgirl 01-09-2013 01:59 PM


I've been giving her too much slack in the rein. I've been working with her in an outdoor arena next to her paddock.
Thanks ya'll. I am really excited about and enjoying the time I've gotten to spend with my filly and am so thankful you all are extremely nice and willing share your many years of experience. I think my filly has enjoyed it to, she walks very willingly on command even and always tries very hard to give me what I ask for. Even if she has no idea what it is she gives it her all. She even get frustrated when she doesn't get it and is having troubles figuring out exactly what I want from her. I hope to be able to enjoy many hours on the trail with her.

I've been setting up little obstacles in the arena like cones and stuff to walk through and around to work on her reining and she's doing it so well considering she has to deal with me doing it wrong.

thanks again guys,
can't tell you how much I appreciate it


Ashleysmardigrasgirl 01-09-2013 05:56 PM

Thanks all!

I borrowed side reins from my BO and used them on her today and she did perfect.
She did so well that when I was taking off her harness and bridle even after I took off her bridle and side reins she stood perfectly still while I took everything else off with a giant round bale within reaching distance and grass feed all over the ground.

again thanks to all who responded!!! :D!!!

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