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8 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2006 :  11:45:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit rememberthetitan's Homepage Send rememberthetitan a Private Message
Hello everyone, I just wanted to let everyone know that things are going wonderful with Titan, I've been riding him every weekend. I haven't taken him out on a trail yet only because of weather, but I'm going to ride him in the outdoor next weekend. I've also been doing a lot of groundwork with him, he's come a long way. There is 1 problem I still need to work on and that is head throwing, I used a martingale and he didn't like it too much but I am going to try it again. If anyone has suggestions let me know Thanks. I hope everyone is doing well and Happy New Year.

Edited by - rememberthetitan on 01/08/2006 11:49:47 PM

Trail Boss (Moderator)

6117 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  05:31:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
Give us more information on when he throws his head. I assume it is when you are riding. If so I would check to see if his bit is the correct one and also have someone look to see if you may be just holding too much contact on his mouth, sometime a hose throws his head to get release. Glad to here your progress.
Send us picture(s) with you riding and we may be abke to offer some hints.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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Red Hawk

5092 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  10:26:09 AM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
It could be his teeth or a sore in his mouth, too. I think I'd have that checked out first before anything else.

Do you ride with a lot of bit pressure? Too much pressure applied to the horse's mouth through the reins will cause a horse to toss his head. Depending on their training, horse's will try to get away from too much bit pressure by either tucking their head into their chest or raising it as high as they can get it.

Any martingale or tie-down is a quick fix that actually avoids the real problem... not giving to the bit. If you're hands are light and you are not applying too much pressure to the bit with your hands through the reins, I'd first put Titan in a halter & lead. Stand by his head on the ground and push down on the top of his head in between his ears with your fingers. Try the lightest pressure first and then gradually increase it until he lowers it. If he has never had this done, his first response will be to raise his head instead of lowering it. That's okay. But keep at it until he gives the first little duck of his head. Stop the pressure you're applying to his head and reward him by rubbing his neck or scratching him in a spot he likes. Try it, again. Every time he makes the slightest move downward with his head, stop pushing with your fingers and reward him. In time, he should lower his head anywhere you want it with a light touch of your fingers on the top of his head.

Next, I'd outfit him in a bridle with a mild O-ring or D-ring snaffle bit. Standing beside him on the ground, apply light pressure to the bit through the reins with your hands asking him to lower his head just like you did with the halter & lead. If he raises it, ask him to lower it with your fingers on the top of his head without applying any bit pressure to his mouth. Let him see that he can lower his head with the bridle on. Once he does this, then apply very mild bit pressure with the cue to the top of his head. Gradually decrease the head cue and try to get him to do it all from a gentle pull on the reins.

This time, instead of asking him to lower his head, raise just one rein toward his withers. Give him time to think it through as to what you are asking him to do, and he should turn his head to the side without lowering it. Try for just a small response at first and then build on it. Do one side first before trying the other side. Once he's giving to both sides, try holding both reins with his neck between your hands and gently pull them toward the withers. He should start to tuck his head toward his chest. Again, reward the smallest correct response and continue to build on this. One thing to remember is you do not want him to bring his nose any more than when his face is verticle to the ground. I usually like the nose just a hair out from this position. If he learns to bring his head any further back than this, he is evading the bit pressure and not yeilding to it.

Now, you may mount your horse. I'd still use the snaffle bit for this exercise. Sit quietly in the saddle and lower your hands below the horse's neck with a rein in either hand. With the left hand, gently squeeze your hand to apply rein pressure to the horse's mouth. He should respond like he did when you were on the ground. He should give his head and bend it to the side. Once he responds, releaase the pressure and praise him. Then do the same thing with the right rein. With your hands still below the withers, as him to tuck his head with direct rein pressure (one rein in each hand). Again, reward him by releasing the pressure once he give the correct response. Now, raise the reins without applying any pressure until your hands are about an inch from the top of the withers and ask him with light bit pressure to tuck, again. If he raises his head, go back to the lower hand position and ask him, there. Keep trying the higher position until he understands to tuck his head. This is what is called giving to the bit or to bit pressure.

Once he can do this at a standstill, try it at a walk... asking for the head to either side (If he wants to turn when you do this, let him) and asking him to tuck. If he's doing this well, try it at a trot and finally, a canter. If at any time he gets confused or excited, drop back a step or two until he's doing it correctly and then go through all the steps until your back to the point where he was confused.

You may try a stronger bit after he has learned the lessons I've outlined above, but if he is responding well with the snaffle, I wouldn't go with a bit much stronger than that for everyday riding... unless you can ride with lighter hands... but I'd still have his teeth checked and the possibility of anything that might be causing his mouth pain.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

"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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