Head-Set - Proper or Not?
My seven year-old walker gelding naturally holds his head out and relatively low, like a western pleasure horse. My trainer told me to put a tie-down on him to get him to flex and collect more (he's very clumsy) and to hold his head like a Walker "should", and for some reason I don't remember I took it off a few years ago. Some days ago I put it back on him and he was very unhappy and he didn't rack for very long without slowing down, but looked and felt fine (he also has a choppy gait). Is his unhappiness just due to the change,and maybe because he doesn't have the muscle to hold it that way yet, or should I just let him hold it how he pleases?
I let my horse hold his head as he pleases....how the horse holds it's head can tell you alot. A head raised up high can mean pain, fright, or something is just bothering him. A lowered down head means that he's calm and nothing is bothering him.
I guess it's really on personal choise on how you like your horse's head and neck at. I personally like them down low like a WP horse....but I know people who like the horse's head up extremely high also
Well, your trainer's version of correct might not be as correct as you think. I would say to go with what YOU feel is comfortable for your horse. If your trainer thinks that he should be flexing more, or change his head carriage, why not work on specific riding exercises instead of using tack and forcing him there?
This is not meant to put your trainer down(as I don't know, nor am I in a position to judge) but trying to bring up a different light to the situation:-)
I'm not sure what type of horse your trainer specializes in and I don't want to argue with a trainer, but I own a walker, he's not a show horse, he's a trail horse, but he and all the other walkers I have ever known, carry their heads high, Like, in your lap high. There noses are pointed towards the ground but they have a very regal and proud way of going. I'm not sure your walker is comfortable w/ his head down low, which is probably why he's clumsy.... ? But that's just my opinion.....
in the walk my mare drops her head so low i cant even see it lol im sure her nose drags on the ground. while we are just warming up i let her do this and i like it because she is sooo relaxed. once i want her to pick her up and hold a proper head set i apply a little pressure straight up on the reins and drive her forward so she comes up into the bit.
i dont have time to write much right now but i will get hubby to get some pics/video of me riding her today and ill explain with that what i do to get her head up and what might help you as with your guy as well :)
This is usually the natural head set, My gelding had a hard time setting his head and then we went out and bought a Brenda imus gaited bit and now he tucks his head atoumatically and I just have to steer and keep him going.
If you're not showing, then you don't need to worry about head set. If he gaits better without the tie down, then that's all you need to know. Let him carry his head wherever he wants it (as long as it's safe).
For the clumsy aspect, I would have a new farrier look at him. MANY farrier keep gaited horses' feet too long with too high of heels. If you get those feet short with low heels, you'll be able to find his NATURAL gait.
I would also seek the help of a reputable gaited trainer to help you if you still have problems.
I agree with luvs2ride, the tripping might be caused by his feet
It isn't his feet. He was born three months premature and his conformation is faulty, and he spent the first five years of his life in a paddock so small he could barely get in a good rack. So more or less, he didn't know how to walk before he came here.
Okay, let me rephrase this a little. His clumsiness scares me and so I rarely canter him, because of his past crashes (yes, they can be phrased as nothing other than "crashes"). He wants to of course, and when his head is tucked, he reaches a bit farther, thus lessening the stumbling. However, this displeases him. But, not cantering probably displeases him further.
Perhaps picture or video are in order...
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