While I might not be the fan of the lower headset, I DO agree that many english horses' heads are held in unnatural ways, I think one of the greatest challenges in dressage is a soft headset but still properly broken at the poll without fighting and pulling, it is not an easy thing to do. But I WILL say that the proper dressage headset IS something I see horses do, tho not for LOOOOOONG periods of time like is expected in dressage, while playing around with their buddies. Stallions in particular hold thier heads like that when showin off for the ladies. Plus it is necessary for full collection, but that is off topic so I won't digress. (For a change.)
Yea alot more of your dressage horse are built more for a higher headset as well. Not all all horses can travel collected with their heads down low. My horse for example is very heavy on the forehand and is built down hill and I struggle alot with that. I use alot of dressage training to train him for western pleasure, to try to get him to lift the front and drive from behind. I won't even let canter like that not even for one stride.
The horse is not collected in the first video and I would consider his walk to be a break in gait. There is too much hesitation. His trot isn't correct neither. He just needs to be engaged more and they used a O ring snaffle on him that would help lift his shoulders more. I do like the horse tho. He has alot of potential with the right rider.
One thing I might add too, is that is more harder to teach a horse to pick his head up off the ground once they have been trained to lower it.
To teach your horse to lower his head also helps with nervous or spooky horses. Something about lowering their head makes them relaxed. I've done that with my horse out on the trail and he gets over what was making him nervous almost instantly.
Wow, I had no idea that this thread was still going. O,o I really had no intention of starting such a heated debate, when I started this thread, I kinda had a burr in my saddle blanket and I don't even remember now what it was about. LOL. I guess everyone does have different opinions on what is "natural" and comfortable for the horse. Me personally, I like for my horse to carry their head with the withers level between the eyes and the tip of the ears, just however the horse is most comfortable. I don't really try to create a headset unless they carry their head too high. Here is a pic of my paint that was Zippo Pine Bar bred with some Easy Jet thrown in. He would have made an excellent WP horse if I had worked on it but I just used him for ranch work (plus he was only about 15 hh tall, too short for most WP competition).
In this picture, I was trotting circles on him (he only had about 30 days training)
Here his headset is a little lower because he was pulling against the tractor tire. After he progressed in his training a little more and relaxed under saddle, he carried his head like this all the time. This is the level that I love, anything else is either too high or too low for my taste.
please read the rule above Junebug - this is how it reads in the AQHA rule book and the APHA rule book as during the time when they were trying to get rid of the extreme low head carriage a special sub committee of AQHA, APHA and the Appaloosa of America directors came together to create the new rule so that it would be banned across the western disciplines at the same time to try to force people to stop doing it.
I think his headset was perfect, that seemed comfortable (to the horse) and natural, and I like that. Pretty horse, but the bay in your avatar (is that the one?) is awful pretty too, but I LOVE a paint, just can't help meself...
He was a pretty nice horse. The only bad thing about him is every once in a great while, he would wait until you were relaxed and then start bucking. And man, could he buck. I don't know how many times I ended up with bruised thighs from the swells of my saddle. The guy who owns him now never has a problem though..........maybe he just didn't like me. LOL. The bay in my avatar is my 7yo mustang Koda. Spoiled brat that he is, he is still a big sweetie.
Haven't read through all the posts, just thought I'd add that my TB does this out on trails, and I swear he could *literally* roll a peanut along the ground! He does have a TBs long neck though. He's such a dork.
For the life of me I cannot figure out why judges even place "peanut rollers". And, as with so many other breeds that show their horses in an unnatural frame, until the judges start judging correctly, it will just continue unfortunately (how some Arabians are shown come to mind here...).