Encouraging her to drop her head?

This topic contains 5 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  AlfredoSauceAlfie 2 years, 4 months ago.

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  • bostontexas Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 0

    My mare tends to “giraffe” at the trot and canter (not so much at the walk) and I’ve been encouraging her to get on the bit and to round herself out. She’s improved at the walk, but doing so at the trot and especially the canter is much more difficult – trot, she’ll listen to pressure but giraffe her head, and canter she just tries to duck out of (which we’re working on!).

    I’ve thought about getting her a neck stretcher or chambron to encourage her to round herself and lower her head, but I’m not sure yet.

    I’ll take any suggestions! My goal is to have her drop her head and engage herself.

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    Takes a certain amount of better fitness to maintain and sustain balance to and thru transitions. Patience and fitness are your friends here. Check teeth and saddle fit. If all go there, consider a trainour, or someone, that can translate and cue from the ground what you are doing, what you strive to do, and is what actually going on.

    Mare will come to the bit when hind end is driven thru to it and can carry her forward into your hand. Again, fitness. All the gadgets in the world have such limited use when it is fitness, or lack thereof, that is the bottom line.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 253

    You don’t say what discipline (dressage, hunter/jumper, western, pleasure) you are most involved in, and it does make a difference. Dressage horse are usually taught to “stretch to the bit”, so that they are always at the end of the reins, and it is the horse who creates the tension on the reins as he/she stretched to the bit (as opposed to the rider creating the tension on the reins by shortening them, or bringing his/her hands back closer to his/her body) and the horse then maintains that tension until the rider either cues the horse to bring the head back up, or releases the reins so the horse is on a long, loose rein. However, teaching a horse to do this is not easily explained in a forum like this. You might do best to find an dressage instructor who is proficient in teaching this to students.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 11

    You probably need to re-evaluate how you ride. Flexion at the poll (your goal) comes from the legs not the hands. You probably need to use more leg. I agree with the person above about the dressage trainer. Even if you are a hunter, jumper or equitation rider, especially the last two, you will benefit from one. To get a horse to round and move correctly, you first need to establish forward impulsion, energy, rhythm and tempo. Then by keeping a constant pressure on the outside rein and asking for inside bend with the inside rein, you can use your leg to encourage your horse to move into your outside rein. You cannot force your horse to round or put its head down. You need to encourage it to relax. Rounding comes from the back, not the neck. Often when a horse is putting its head up its goal is to protect its back from a bouncy or unbalanced rider. (Ensure you do not have either of those problems first or your horse with not soften and round). If you are really desperate, you could try draw reins, but the issue with that is that they force the horse’s head down. Horses often get nervous if someone forcefully controls their heads and your horse may not relax, expose and round his back. It’s much better if you can naturally encourage your horse to relax and round in a positive way. Personally, I only use a chambon or draw reins if I have a problem controlling my horse when it puts its head above the angle of control. I would recommend using a running martingale that will prevent your horse from raising new his head above the angle of control but allow him to stretch forward.

    ksweet724 ksweet724
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Lots and lots of lots of lateral movement will build the muscle memory and train your horse to round properly. Start at the walk and then move to the trot and so on. Most importantly don’t get impatient. Before trying neck flexion in the saddle, try working your horse in hand.

    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    First of all, whatever you do – DON’T USE A STANDING MARTINGALE! They gain muscle in the neck in all the places you do not want. They gain the strength to pull up or “giraffe” on you.
    Try this: when you warm up, flex her head. This will stretch her neck for the workout she’s about to get. Then, at the W/T/C, put your hands UP, and lightly seasaw the reins. This will teach her to curve into the bridle, instead of diving into it (as seen if you ask her to collect with your hands down).
    If this doesn’t work as quickly as you would like, I suggest finding a good Running Martingale. It helps to start out with one that has elastic, but if you can’t find one for a good price, ones without elastic work just as well. SiDE reins/draw reins/etc. are good for lunging, but not riding. In fact, before you embark on using a martingale, try lunging with side reins.

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