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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i've been working on her head for about a month now, i'm just wondering if it should take this long and if i'm doing it right. i vibrate the reigns lightly to get her to give her head and she's becoming more responsive but she doesn't keep it there for long, i believe this is normal, but i don't know for sure.
 

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First off do you ride more with your hands or seat? This can makea big difference in your outcome that you are getting now and to what you could be getting if ridden differently. ALso you want to Keep the out side rein stable with connection, a strong but steady but not pulling cause you will get into a fight with the horse. You also need to use your inside leg t push out, like bump bump then nthing wait for the horse to react and move off the leg while hlding the outside leg firm with pressure. SOmthing like this, its really hard to explain but its not all about geting the head down but making the horse travel in all gaits correctly by suing there back and hind end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've been teaching her to listen to my seat, and she's getting really responsive. and she's starting to work a little more from her back end, and working really well off my legs lately. will this exercise cause her to come onto the bit or will it just get her legs under her more?
 

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When the horse starts working off your legs and using its hind end, it should naturally start to collect and come into frame and then come in to contact with the bit. The level of contact depends on the horse...some horses like more contact than others.
 

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If she drops her head when you "wiggle" the reins then you need to start tightening your abs, bringing your elbows back to your hips and bearing down slightly with your seat bones while gently squeezing with your calves. This will do a whole bunch of things at once, it will engage her rear end to carry herself, it will lift her back into your seat so that she can round and it will make you strong enough to hold her gently in frame as she goes along. Practice taking a deep breath in, squeezing on your reins and gently holding a little tension on your reins as you exhale and gently squeeze your calves. This will help you learn to half halt on the inhale and engage the hind end on the exhale without throwing away the good connection you got with your half halt. The key to framing a horse into a nice "head set" is to give them enough contact on their mouth to balance them and let them stretch onto the bit but not enough contact that you're forcing them into a head down position. If you lock your wrists and elbows, and bear down with your seat hard you're holding them in frame. If you're holding your elbows and wrists firmly but with a little give and you can feel a little tug in your abs you've got a firm contact and if you're just barely holding onto the face and they're in frame you have a light contact. A horse that is just learning to develop the muscles and strength needed to "go in frame" or "on the bit" needs a little "firmer" contact. This is because they need you to help them hold the frame. They don't however need you to "crank" them down into it or force them to keep it when they get tired.

When you do the inhale exercise only make it last a stride or two them release and pat her. Let her stride out a few strides and then do it again. Start with a few good strides of connection where she's going where you want her. Feel it, memorize it, analyze where you are and what you did to get it. Trial and error...don't be afraid to make a few little mistakes. Experiment with half halts, breathing, and different leg and seat aids as well as hand aids. Once you find what works, just keep doing it and gradually ask her to hold it longer and longer. Generally, once you find the "sweet spot" you're good to go and they pick it up fast and retain the knowledge of what you want them to do. Sorry if that's a bit confusing, feel free to message me if you have questions or need a better/different explanation.
 

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Go and have a look at the dressage section. There are a heap of threads about this, look under collection and on the bit. Don't even think about where her head is, thats the last thing to think about. Worry about getting her hind end active and her responsive to your aids with 3 strong working paces and clean transitions. The head will come from an active hind end. My pet hate is seeing kids kiggling the reins around to make the horse drop it's head. Poor horse looks like a yo-yo with it's head going up and down. You simply teach a horse to drop back off the contact and thats the last thing you want to do.
 

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Dani - I have had the same problem.
First thing is to decide if the problem lies with the horse or you.

I have a young friend up at the barn and she mounts up on my girl and as soon as DiDi is warm, Tara asks for collection and down comes DiDi's head
and immediately Tara gets that wobbly head movement from side to side. DiDi maintains the head carriage at all paces. I can't get that. So it is me.

I know my problem stems from all those years riding forward allowing the horse its head. I sat differently. I allowed the horse too much rein. I followed the horses head movement too much. I think I am sitting upright, when in fact I am not. I think I am relaxed but I am not. So I'll have to school that brain of mine to do it differently. It is not so easy and some days I ask if it is worthwhile for me personally. I accept it would be worthwhile for my horse.

For other health reasons I am taking a short sabbatical but what I should be doing is seeing how I get on with another horse that comes down on the bit - preferably in the presence of an old battle axe of a teacher who showed me the system a year or so ago.

Keep trying.

B G
 
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