Head carriage help! - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 27 Old 12-24-2011, 01:25 AM
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The martingale was put on Lola to help her head tossing problems. We know that a martingale is a temporary fix to help training, which is the reason this thread was started.

Also they look downhill because they were in the process of a turn lol. Lola seems to do well (less spooking) circling that hay bale jump haha
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post #22 of 27 Old 12-24-2011, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by lubylol View Post
The martingale was put on Lola to help her head tossing problems. We know that a martingale is a temporary fix to help training, which is the reason this thread was started.
luby, if you KNOW it's a temporary fix why to do it then? Why not to approach it correctly without any extra gimmicks?

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post #23 of 27 Old 12-24-2011, 11:45 AM
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Because without the martingale Lola's head would be so high it could hit you. It almost broke the BM's nose, so the martingale was put on for safety reasons on the rider.

I read up on it and saw it said martingales are temporary fixes that help further training.....which is why it was put on her.

She's slowly learning to drop her head at all 3 gaits, but there are still times when she flings it up, but with the help of the martingale, it's not high enough where it can hit the rider.
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post #24 of 27 Old 12-24-2011, 01:51 PM
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I often ride Saddlebreds who have even higher head carriages than Lola, but I've never been hit in the face before. Maybe whoever riding should consider a full seat, sit straight up, and right back to front rather than yanking at the horse's mouth, pitching forward, and getting hit in the face. I know my mare is half Saddlebred and her head is up almost all the time when we're jumping or she's excited. I've found that following her mouth upward with my hands as to not let her evade the contact, slowing my post, and relaxing my seat and hands helps a lot. Also when she gets excited or disrespectful, I've found that serpentines, circles, and light half-halts help a lot and eventually she'll begin to drop her head and calm down.

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post #25 of 27 Old 12-25-2011, 03:15 AM
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In the first picture, you are clearly strained (because of her head?) and as a result your leg has come forward a little bit and probably off the horse. Many horses who throw their heads up begin to jig and jag and lose all rhythm. The rider senses the horse is nervous and removed leg contact, begins to strain their back muscles, stiffen their shoulders and arms, drops their hands (thinking it is a lighter contact), and therefore rides the horse incorrectly.

What the horse really needs is steady leg and rein contact with a relaxed rider (in as correct a position as physically possible for the rider). Your second picture resembles a much more correct position, your leg could come back a tad bit more, and your shoulders maybe a tad back (i'm a dressage/saddleseat rider by nature so i'm sure others would disagree) but otherwise a good position for your shoulders, hips, ankles. Your hands however (I know you've given reasons for your broken contact, but listen to what I have to say) should be above the withers, to fists straight up and down (think like your going to punch someone) with your pinky directly below your forefinger and thumbs closed on top of your forefinger if that makes sense. (like this.. http://colleenkellyriderbiomechanics...-parelli-2.jpg)

Now, if she raises her head- raise your hands slightly to match it and constantly remember relaxation. Your fingers can relax without opening. You simply relieve any pressure or contraction of the muscles while keeping the position of the fingers and hands. If you need to open your fingers at all, it should not look visibly different, and only you should know that your fingers are slightly open.

Remember to stay back and relaxed through your whole body. A big problem of mine with horses who raise their heads is closing my hip angle and tilting my upper body forward to meet their heads. This throws the horses balances on the forehand and does nothing to fix the head problem. You do not look like you have this problem, but you need to remember to stay relaxed through your whole body.

Your whole body should follow the motion of the horse fluidly, as if you are one being. At the canter, your hips should move backwards and forwards with the motion of each stride, while staying in your seat and your shoulders staying fairly back with a less exaggerated following of the canter. Your hands should also follow the motion of the canter, while the rest of your arm stays relaxed (and remember your hand position!) to allow the horse's head to move with each stride. Your legs should remain relatively still, contact firm depending on how much contact the horse needs to maintain the stride.

Now many horses who throw their heads up appear to want less leg contact, but in reality need more- or at least steady contact. If your legs are shaky or weak (they don't appear so), you need to work very hard to keep them still. If you have a strong leg, then you need to use it at all times, making sure to keep a consistent contact. Do not brace your legs or body against her resistance (two wrongs do not make a right, just because she is resistant does not mean you should be!), meet it with relaxation.

Finally, start at the walk. once you get proper relaxation at the walk- start small trotting intervals. Do not stop trotting until you get her to relax her head (even just for 3 or 4 seconds) the proper way (using your body!). Before you cue her to walk, rub her neck (preferably while still relaxed) and tell her she is a good girl (she will know that you want her to relax) and ask her to walk. Walk for the length of one side of the arena and ask for the trot again repeating the exercise. Keep canter intervals even shorter. You want to perfect the trot before you move on to the canter.

Another good thing to keep in mind for horses with fussy heads is keeping their mind occupied. Serpentines, circles, figure eights, changes in directions, transitions, trot long side walk short side, etc. These will also help you and challenge you to get relaxation out of her in a short amount of time. You can keep her mind occupied without overwhelming her or boring her. Often times you will find them relaxing their heads simply because they cannot concentrate on throwing their heads up while circling or serpentining or expecting a transition. (Do not make it too easy and let them anticipate- they will lose a lot of relaxation through anticipation, so be sure to constantly change it up while keeping the core focus the same: relaxation in figures, transitions)

Good luck! =]
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post #26 of 27 Old 12-25-2011, 03:17 AM
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pardon my grammar... tis the season for staying up too late! :P
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post #27 of 27 Old 12-25-2011, 03:22 AM
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I forgot to mention a few pointers which may help her head.

Remember to use your posting and your body to control the rhythm at the trot! You do not need to use your hands (strong contact) to control rhythm, it can be done effectively with your body first and your rein second (as necessary in half halts). Post low and lightly (not sure how you post, so I'm just going to assume you exaggerate your posting) bringing your hips forward to open the angle (your are not standing up in the saddle, your legs should remain fairly still- your knee should remain bent).

Use your body to try to half halt her at the trot/canter by keeping a raised core at all times and kind of forcing your body (through your abdominal muscles) behind the horse's motion ever so slightly (definitely not enough to throw either of you off balance, and this is a difficult concept to explain). If she is in tune to your body language and its done correctly, the horse should respond by slowing down.
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