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Head up or down when riding downhill?

This is a discussion on Head up or down when riding downhill? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

     
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        09-19-2009, 10:49 PM
      #21
    Green Broke
    Well I was riding downhill today and I let him have his head. I feel I shouldnt try to be in his mouth or disturbing his natural headset when he needs his balance to help him be safe. I find that most horses go downhill at a slow speed and lower their head to a bit lower than shoulder level.
         
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        09-20-2009, 07:55 PM
      #22
    Green Broke
    Thanks for all the advice everyone!!

    I did a hunter pace this afternoon and when we went downhill I kind of took a "middle ground" on the advice, I let her have her head but didn't let her lower it to the ground, and we went downhill nicely

    She did tend to get quick but I just sat back and made sure I didn't let her go TOO fast! She did a couple sideways steps and I just let her -- figured she knew where her feet were better than I...and it worked nicely for us!
         
        09-20-2009, 08:14 PM
      #23
    Started
    Awesome!
         
        09-28-2009, 02:18 PM
      #24
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smrobs    
    . My horses are funny and it may not be the best way to do it but if we are going down a VERY steep slope where their butts are dragging the ground, most of mine will turn sideways and sidepass down the hill.
    No way I would want my horse sideways on a very steep slope. You are asking for the horse to slip sideways and land on your leg.
    Keep the horse striaght, leave the head alone so he can balance himself and I sit forward, putting my weight on his front end.
    Horses are not great on going downhill since the steep slope puts their hind legs almost parallel to the hill and they have no traction behind.
    I sit forward so my weight is on his braced front legs, the legs with the most traction and leave his hindend to sort of ski down the hill.
    If you sit back he might just have his hind end skate out from under him and he sits down.
    I negotiate very steep muddy slopes down into a swamp alot and sometimes they look unpassable but by sitting forward, keeping my weight forward, leaving his head alone and keeping him pointed straight down we traverse the hills without incident.
    My down hills are steep washouts , steep sided and I keep him in the Vee. I do encounter small 3 foot waterfalls sometimes cut into the washout by a recent rain and then he has to negotiate this drop at the same time as he is going down. Like a big cat he drops his hindend until it is sitting on the bank and his front legs drop over the waterfall. Really neat to be watching.
         
        09-28-2009, 05:08 PM
      #25
    Banned
    My OTTB has high head carriage unless forced down, so when we're going downhill, I just make sure it's down slightly. But my main focus is keeping him balanced and collected. Whether his head is up or down is mostly his choice.
         

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