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 The Beginning Rider
 low head when running
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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2006 :  5:58:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
Hi, I am new to horses. I have been riding since May 05. I have a new horse, he is great! Only thing is, When he lopes, he starts out kinda rough (almost a buck) and when he gets the hang of it good, and picks up speed he has his head so low it's as if his nose is just above the ground. Is this normal?? I was wondering if it was because his previous owner had him since he was little, and never had the desire to run on a horse. Does he just not know how?? He will also turn his head to look at things while running,rocks, clumps of dirt... ect. Shouldn't he watch were he is going? I am not used to looking down the horse of the neck of a horse while running, he turned his head to look at something the other day and I didn't have a good grip and lost the reins, it seemed like alog way home!LOL
I just wondered if this is a normal way for him to carry his head, and if it is not, what I can do about it.

Thank you for your time!

fracturedbones
Clinician



3424 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2006 :  12:51:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
Don't know about the head turning, but my POA used to do the peanut roll head duck in the middle of a trot (and he was on a loose rein even before the duck). Dangerous to have those reins pulled from you like that. Solved by either the equine dentist (refined the bit seat, could have been the problem) and I also changed to a french link bit on the adivce of a POA expert who said palate low and regular snaffle nutcracking on him.

Can't tell you which one it really was, but maybe have teeth checked (and not just a float) or could be the bit and avoidance. Don't know what kind of horse/riding you do...that may help you get answers from others.
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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2006 :  1:26:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
Thanks for responding! Boots doesn't seem to be in any pain but I will have his teeth checked. He is such a good boy, he will do anything I want him to. He carries his head on the level when walking, and really drops it when he runs. (if you can call it that)He is not fast We trail ride and that is about it. He is an awesome trail horse, just seems uncoordinated in the faster gaits.
I ride him in a bit that is broken, has alittle shank and the whole bit has copper rollers on it (if you can picture it) She used a reinsman jr. cowhorse bit (whatever that is) And since she never ran on him, I don't know if he has always dropped his head like that, it reminds me of watching a borber collie with cattle, when you see him coming you can lookright up his neck. Heck maybe alot of horses run like that..???
Thanks again for responding!

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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2006 :  2:00:27 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
No, it is not natural for a horse to hold their head exceptionally low when running. They usually hold it up so they can see where they're going. I'm talking about a horse when he's free and running in a pasture or large enclosure. Do you know if he runs this way when at liberty? If not, then I'd say he's been trained to hold his head that way when going at the faster gaits. Western pleasure horses are usually trained in this manner. Do you know if he was ever used in this fashion?

And if he is just trying to pull on the reins, it could be you are holding them to tightly and not releasing the pressure. Do you ride with a loose rein or keep constant pressure on the reins? Think how you'd feel if someone put a metal bar in your mouth and was pulling back constantly. You wouldn't like it, would you?

It could also be that he was never taught to flex and give when applying pressure to the bit. If this is the case, he needs to go back to basics from the ground and be taught to yeild to the pressure of a bit.

I'm short on time, today, but I'll try to go into more detail tomorrow. Stormie is real good at helping with this kind of problem. Maybe she'll come online and give you some pointers.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2006 :  2:06:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
I usually just give him the bit, lol one time literlly! That day my daughter had rode him first and had the knot in the reins further up, I didn't move it back and I guess my hands were used to the knot as a stopper,lol So I literlly gave it to him! I think if I wanted him to bring it up he would, he is really responsive to the bit. I just don't want to trip him up, I figured he would be less likely to trip if I didn't interfere, LOL I try to keep the reins loose, my daughter rides with a tighter rein though.

Thanks! Any imput is greatly appriciated!

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PaintGal
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
5300 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2006 :  3:45:29 PM  Show Profile Send PaintGal a Private Message
How long have you had this horse and how old is he?

I'd definately get his teeth checked as Fractured suggested. You might look online to find a bit like the one he was using and see if the new one is much different. Usually, horses will toss their heads if the bit is the problem though.

I guess there might be some physical reason he's dropping his head although I don't know what it would be!

I'd also like to know if he does this just running free.

Some horses will "root" with their nose to try to escape the bit pressure and will drop it pretty low and push their nose forward. Unless you're ready, they can pull the reins out of your hand or sometimes even pull a rider off balance.

When you apply pressure at a walk & trot does he yield to the bit?

Karen ~ Trails
&
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN


"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."



~~~~~~
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sbower
Clinician



1083 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2006 :  4:07:30 PM  Show Profile Send sbower a Private Message
Can you get someone to take a picture of what's happening and post it here? Usually an unusual head set (high or low) is due to discomfort ...like avoiding the bit, avoiding a rider that holds the reins too tight, back problems, or a saddle that is poorly fitted.

The other thing that I'd consider is that the horses vision mght be an issue. Does the horse stumble/spook a lot? Does he look like he's "scanning" the ground in front of him?


<'\__~
_(( // ====

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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2006 :  4:08:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
Hi, Paintgal, Boots always yeilds to the bit, he is 7 yrs old. I have never seen him run in the pasture, he doesn't seem to want to.
The lady that I bought him from had him since he was a either a yearling or a two yr old, I can't really remember. She had told me that he was just learning to take his leads when he canters, and that he would be good for my daughter because she didn't think he even had it in him to run, she had no desire to run on any horse. He hd done some walk trot classes,but that is all I know of for sure. He doesn't act like he is doing it for any perticular reason. He just looks really silly though! My father in law said some types of horses run with there heads low, and maybe he had some breed in him that causes him to run that way. (I think that if he doesn't know for sure he makes something up or guesses)

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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2006 :  4:15:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
sbower, He stumbles every so often, I blame it on his huge feet! I will try to get someone to take a pic. He never spooks, but will turn his head to see a clump of dirt or whatever, I picture him stumbling and rolling, with as low as his head is when he turns it. and he will watch the clump or whatever for a couple seconds, it seems like forever though!He seems to like the bit, I think, he only mouths it when he hears gunshots in the distance. And I always try to keep a loose rein. (afraid to trip him up) one time he did trip... and trip... took him awhile to recover, I thought we were goin' down! lol (waiting for my first wreck)

Thanks!

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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2006 :  4:24:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
Oh, and earlier, I ment sheep, lol not cattle. I was thinking herding dog, then herding made me think of cutting and then out came cattle. I don't know if border collies herd cattle or not... I don't know much about much really That's why I am here!
Anyway, I will work on getting a pic before the week is up.
Takes alittle to get him to lope or run, he is more of a walk, trot kinda guy! He is lazy spoiled and out of shape... I gotta work on that!

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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  02:41:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
Yep they use dogs with cattle too and horses.

If it isn't tack or pain related it's habit. Either he was trained that way or started doing it and no one corrected him. Next time you ride him, double check the bridle and saddle. Make sure he has no pain issues. I'm not a fan of bit seats since the bit shouldn't be that close to the teeth anyway and sometimes they cause problems not solve them but do have his teeth checked. If the bit you are using is the one I'm thinking of it's VERY different then the one she had on him but the one she had isn't show legal. It's a good bit just not legal for most shows. The one you have(if its the one I'm thinking of) is a very straight mouth piece and that can be a problem.

But if it's not a pain issue with the bit which it probably isn't then just show him to lift his head. Start at the stand still and hold the reins like you normally would. Pick up one rein(might need to take the knot of them to do this) and raise your hand high enough to put pressure on his mouth. Hold it until he raises his head, do NOT release pressure until the head starts to go up don't release if he lowers it. Do that until he is raising his head when you ask and then you can ask at the walk and then trot as he gets good at it. Then you can ask at the canter BUT now instead of using it as a cue to just raise the head you are going to use it to keep the head up. When you start to canter do the same at the walk and trot. Ask him to pick it up but at first don't worry about getting him to hold it up until he is good at this. Just pick it up and let him drop it back for 5 or 6 strides and then pick it up. As he gets good at this then when he lowers the head ask him to pick it up, Release the pressure and when he drops the head again, pick it up. Repeat that every time and he will start to get the idea that when he gets too low you are going to ask him to pick it up so it's just easier to keep it more level. Don't get too carried away and get him to be high headed. You want it about level.
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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  1:39:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
Stormie, Thank you so much for the advise! I am curious though, do I still ask him to lift his head if he carries it nice at the walk and trot? He only lowers it in the faster gaits... Or am I just getting his to learn the cue of raising it? I don't want him to carry it higher always, just when he gets past the trot. I will attatch a pic of him just walking that I have, and I think his head is pretty good there,alittle higher that he normally carries it... He usually carries it right at level when walking. I will try to get a pic of him with his head down tonight.
Boots walking...looks alright there, doesn't it?




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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  1:44:53 PM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by TripleB

Stormie, Thank you so much for the advise! I am curious though, do I still ask him to lift his head if he carries it nice at the walk and trot? He only lowers it in the faster gaits... Or am I just getting his to learn the cue of raising it? I don't want him to carry it higher always, just when he gets past the trot. I will attatch a pic of him just walking that I have, and I think his head is pretty good there,alittle higher that he normally carries it... He usually carries it right at level when walking. I will try to get a pic of him with his head down tonight.
Boots walking...looks alright there, doesn't it?







I'm not Stormie, but yes, that looks fine. It would be just a hair high for a western pleasure class, but that's about where my horses carry their heads, and I'm very comfortable with it. I definitely want my horse to be able to see what's ahead of him down the trail. I feel that the head should be even with the withers or slightly higher than the withers and is perfectly okay for everyday riding.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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Stormie
Clinician

1630 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  2:06:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
Actually by the book that is about where it would be for Western pleasure or a tad lower not higher. They want it at or just above the wither which it is in that photo. Any higher and they loose that level look they want. BUT life is not by the book and they still have a lot of them below the withers. If you plan on showing keep his head about there don't go lower.

Yes it's just to teach him to raise the head so you would only ask for it and let him drop it again. ask him to raise the head and then walk a number of strides with it lower and then ask again. Later on in the canter you will correct him each time he drops it so that he learns to have it higher. As long as you don't nit pick at the walk and trot he shouldn't start to raise it all of the time.
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TripleB
Beginning Rider



65 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  8:51:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit TripleB's Homepage Send TripleB a Private Message
Thanks everyone! I don't know if he will be shown, I just think I would feel better at faster gaits if he would bring his head up, makes me nervous... But I love how he carries it once we get out and he really relaxes. He carries it alittle higher like in the pick when kids are on him. He is so aware of the kids when they are on him, he seems extra careful. I didn't make it out to get pics today, got a flu bug...

Thanks again Red Hawk, and Stormie, and Everyone!

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