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Jehanzeb 11-05-2008 05:38 AM

Keep your head high horsey!
 
Morning all,

This might be a simple question for some but certainly pretty difficult for me. (please note: I am not that good with horse terminology so bear with me)

I had a riding lesson yesterday and for the third time I had to ride (Polthos a welsh x something) horse. Firstly he is huge, bulky and has lots of hair on his feet. You might get the idea of the horse I am talking about.

Anyhow, the horse kept his head low all the time even when trotting and cantering. I could not understand what could be the problem. I tried to keep his head high by keeping my reins short but then it was hard to keep him trotting. When loosen reins a bit he keeps his head low again. It was pretty difficult to control him because of his share size and strength (my arms are still aching).

Saying that, later on in the lesson he was pretty easy to control though kept his head low.

I tired to ask my trainer how to keep his head high and she said he must be feeling lazy so kick him and keep him in active trott. Though it seemed he was quite active while trotting to me however his head was still down which was a mystery to me (I didn't bother asking my trainer again as I thought she would reply the same again).

I don't know how to keep his head high. I tried to tell him "General horses always keep their heads high!!" but I guess they don't understand our language. ;-)

Any ideas?

Regards

Jehanzeb

highlander 11-05-2008 07:40 AM

in what way low? was he working on a contact? it sounds like he was leaning by your arms hurting, and probably fighting you with how tight the rein was.
The horse may not enjoy the schooling work so being lazy, so it may be you need to reliese him a little and let him work as he feels comfortable, if you haven't been riding for long it could be that he is working to your experience.
this is all thought to think over. more information is needed.:-)

iridehorses 11-05-2008 08:49 AM

Jehanzeb, A Western horse will typically carry his head low and that's a good thing. That is what most riders want to achieve. That being said, how low is low and was his nose straight out or was his face vertical to the ground?

You didn't mention what bit he was on but I'm hoping that if you were riding with short reins that it was a snaffle. When you held the reins short, hoping to elevate his head, you were actually stopping his forward movement.

If he was moving freely and being responsive, that is just his natural head carriage and should be left alone. If he was stumbling over himself as he walked then he was being lazy and you need to ride with more leg and seat. Slouching in the saddle means you are no longer "riding" him and he will get lazy.

One other option may be just as highlander suggested and that he is just tired of the ring and beginners thumping on him.

Some pictures would really help.

Jehanzeb 11-05-2008 09:08 AM

Hello and thanks for your input. To be honest I am not sure how to explain the whole situation properly.

The head was not that low that he was trying to touch ground. It was as low as if you sit on a horse and his neck and head is fallen (i.e. you are literly riding a headless horse).

Ok it doesn't sound right what I just said, let me try again.

Here is the image

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f1...eguru/head.jpg

Hope this makes more sense.

I think when you say people try to keep horse head low, you might mean by keeping their head low as they look like a Swan? but that was not the case.

Also I noticed when my instructor kept two poles on the ground and asked us to walk over them. In most cases his legs were hitting the pole. When I asked her, she said he is being lazy. Not sure if that was any true.

I think next time I'll take a photo and post it instead of trying explaining with words as I am not good with wording things specially when it comes to horses.

Regards

kitten_Val 11-05-2008 10:32 AM

My qh keeps her head low too - it's just her head set. And as iride said you really want it for western horses. My paint keeps it low on trot sometime (when she's VERY relaxed) and I really like it, however most of the times she keeps it high because she's overexited almost all the time on ride.

Look at this one: Zippos Blue Goose for example - the head is low... Is that what you are talking about or ot some kind of extreme?

Jehanzeb 11-05-2008 10:35 AM

Yes Yes, that is how low it was. You got it.

So is that natural and good for the horse to keep it that low? I thought it was because he's been lazy.

Regards

SonnyWimps 11-05-2008 11:20 AM

IMO (which I'm sure other people won't agree with) it is better for the horse to keep their head at their natural position. Some horses are built to carry their head up high...where others are built to keep their head down low.

If my horse kept that headset throughout all his gaits I'd be entirely pleased! My horse will keep his head like that, but will occasionally go down almost to the ground while trotting to stretch or sniff poop (but doesn't want to stop lol).

If he was walk/trot/canter, he's not being lazy. If he is a western horse, he was probably trained to carry his head that way. Unless you are planning on doing dressage with him or something that requires the head up, I'd say let him carry his head the way he wants....if he listens well with it. That's just my opinion. :-)

iridehorses 11-05-2008 02:34 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This is a typical head carriage for a Western horse but some will naturally carry their heads lower and some higher. What does your horse look like in comparison?

Painted Ride 11-05-2008 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SonnyWimps (Post 181437)
IMO (which I'm sure other people won't agree with) it is better for the horse to keep their head at their natural position. Some horses are built to carry their head up high...where others are built to keep their head down low.

If my horse kept that headset throughout all his gaits I'd be entirely pleased! My horse will keep his head like that, but will occasionally go down almost to the ground while trotting to stretch or sniff poop (but doesn't want to stop lol).

If he was walk/trot/canter, he's not being lazy. If he is a western horse, he was probably trained to carry his head that way. Unless you are planning on doing dressage with him or something that requires the head up, I'd say let him carry his head the way he wants....if he listens well with it. That's just my opinion. :-)

sonny i agree with you!!! it would be crazy for a person to try to make a qh into a tennessee walker! or vice versa!

SonnyWimps 11-05-2008 02:58 PM

Tb, that would be scary during a QH into a TWH *shudders at the thought*

Also where the horse carrys his head can let you know how he's feeling. A head up really high can also mean there is pain some where...where as a lowered head can mean that the horse is calm and relaxed.
You don't really want a horse that is going to carry it's head up extremely high (unless trained to like some gaited breeds...but even that I do not like) because it means the horse is either paniced, in pain, or there's just something out there that's bothering him. If Sonny carrys his head like that I get off and do groundwork to see if it's pain or wahtver


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