Head set?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-20-2010, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Question Head set??

My horse is just starting to show. She puts her head down when I pull on the reins but as soon as I let go of the reins she puts her head back up. I have been repeating this for the past month or so and there has been no change. How do I get her to have a western pleasure headset??

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post #2 of 11 Old 12-20-2010, 11:02 PM
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I am not a western pleasure rider and so I don't know how much of a head set you are looking for. I am not into a "headset" . However, if the horse puts her head where you want it when you take up rein contact but immediately goes back to head in the air when contact is released, then you must give the signal to lower the head more often but hold it for a shorter period of time. Make it more of a reminder than any kind of pulling the head down.
Also, if the horse throws its' head into the air and wants to go that way most of the time, this can mean that it's uncomfortable in its' back or mouth somewhere and wants to either avoid bit contact or hollow out its' back to protect itself from saddle pain. I hope you would know if either of those things apply to your horse.

Don't you have a trainer?
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-20-2010, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. I do not have a trainer right now I am just starting to show but I am hoping to have a new trainer by the middle of january. She needs to go to the chiropractor so maybe that will help, if it is her back that is preventing her from getting the right headset.

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post #4 of 11 Old 12-20-2010, 11:14 PM
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If you ride the horse properly so it uses it's back and loads weight evenly to push off from the hind end, the head will follow. Using the reins to put their head somewhere just creates a false headset, improper muscling, and the hind end trailing out behind you.

Unfortunately I am just learning how to do this myself so hopefully this will bump the thread up so someone can explain properly how to achieve that.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-23-2010, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks...... I would really like to learn how to do that..

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post #6 of 11 Old 12-23-2010, 08:22 PM
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If you could get a hold of the Mark Shaffer Mechanics N Moition Dvds 1 and 2, I think they would help you a lot. :) He has great methods and exercises for working with horses, especially with western pleasure horses.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-23-2010, 09:00 PM
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The best thing is a trainer. Mine is an eventing coach, but I ride with a dressage trainer whenever possible. That way someone can be on the ground correcting you and helping you create the right 'feel'. Even if you can't afford a lesson every week, doing one whenever you can will help.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-31-2010, 07:53 PM
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So much about Western Pleasure is in NOT using your hands so you should teach your horse to set his head with another cue. Most WP trainers also teach a spur cue - we use a light spur "drag" front to back that means "set your head". At first you might need to use your hands and spurs both and then offer a reward instantly so he starts to relate the two. Eventually stop using your hands and just use the spur cue. You'll be able to use this cue whenever his head starts to come up - just be sure to keep rewarding him when he puts it back where you want it until it's consistently staying in position. You may also need to use this cue before asking for a lope or just after he starts loping since a lot of horses prefer to pick up their head for that gait. Just be good about the rewards for getting it right!
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-16-2011, 09:50 PM
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i agree with the one about balence if your horse is not ingaged he wil not keep a head seat. sence you do not have a trainer you can buy some tools to help you but do not use them all the time. Side rains are realy nice and drawl rains. i have been riding western pleasure for a good while. the spur stop is grait and i love it but your horse still has to be on the hind and moveing baleced to do it.
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-19-2011, 06:28 PM
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I horse that is engaged properly from the hindquarters and round through the back will allow the headset to come.

Too many people focus on getting the headset with reins and that is false. Spend 100 times more energy flexing, bending, driving your horse and the head set will come on its own

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