My horse puts his head down really low while I ride him and I'll kick him foward put he just keeps his head low and I feel like I have very little rein.Should I try putting a martingale on him or something else?Thnx.
A martingale will not fix the problem. I would be checking for pain and also maybe getting a chiropractor out to look at him. Triple check saddle and bridle fit.
He might just be trying to stretch...idk I'm not there watching. Maybe try working him over ground poles, that way he has to pick his head up unless he wants to stumble, and no horse wants to stumble! Try to do more interesting things with him so that he wants to pay attention more.
I agree with Spirithorse; check if there are any physical reasons and if he's uncomfortable; however, many horses will raise their head up and hollow their backs if they are uncomfortable, not go long and low.
I cannot think of a martingale that would help with getting a horse's head up; most work to get the horse's head down.
I would look at WHY he's putting his head down.
Generally, when a person has to look at using a piece of equipment outside the basics, there's some hole in the training that should be fixed rather than getting a quick fix from a martingale.
Could you describe exactly where the horse is going to?
^This horse is carrying its head too high; its back is hollow and it is not working through itself.
^This horse is using its neck and back well. (I have other comments on this photo, but I'm just trying to illustrate a point)
^ This horse is working in what we call a "long and low" frame; it's where I personally like to see young/untrained horses working so they can develop their back muscles.
^This horse is working on a "stretch" - where they take the bit and stretch long and low; horses CAN and do take advantage of this training and take it too far, trying to stretch all the time. An easy way to correct this is bumping with the leg whenever the horse goes too far down; if you do this CONSISTENTLY, they will get the picture that stretching is not okay.
Going on what JustDressageIt said on that last photo, another way to get the horse's head up is to do a lot of "snakey bends" and serpintines. Really ask the horse to flex through his rib cage and lift his withers and think "up" when asking the horse to do this. Think about wrapping your legs underneath your horse and asking him to elevate underneath you. It's a good visual to have in your mind when riding, it helps me at least.
Also what kind of bit are you using?
well martingales are mainly used if the horse tosses his head i would say have your dad look at him kaycee since hes an equine vet
JustDressageIt said it all perfectly. Martingales are for horses who toss their heads not put them down. My instructor also has me bump my TB with my leg to encourage him from pulling on the bit. Sometimes squeeze and releases with your hands work too, to encourage him to soften and relax.
I'd also have the vet out for spring shots and have him/her check the teeth and saddle fit.
Be sure you are not putting your saddle too far forward. The points of the tree (under the front concho on a western saddle and under the front d-rings on an english saddle) should be 1-3" BEHIND the horse's shoulder blades. English saddles should be 2-3" back, western saddles 1-2" back.
If everything checks out okay, I'd suggest "lifting" the reins up until he has his head where you want it, then putting your hands back in position. Say "Good Boy" and give a scratch when his head comes up. Repeat lifting until he gets it and keeps his head there. A bump or squeeze with the leg at the same time will help get your point across.
Do NOT "yank" his head up. That will only make his mouth sore and not teach him anything.
I'd also recommend trying a ThinLine pad. They have demos and a guarantee, so you can get your money back if it doesn't work. The ThinLine pad will help make his back more comfortable and may encourage him to lift his head up and round his back under the saddle. The English half pad of countor pad works well, or the western half pad.
To continue on what luvstoride said about saddle placement, when you do move your saddle back you will notice the front of the saddle will dip down, putting the pressure on the shoulders and pitching your weight forward. You will need to shim the saddle so that it is level and off his shoulders.
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