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Re: [RC] High headedness and arabs and martingales - Karen Williams

When I was training my high-headed Arab/Saddlebred cross, I taught him to give to the bit on the ground.  First, make sure your horse is longing well. 
Put on the halter, then the bridle (with snaffle bit) over the halter.  Get a pair of very long reins with snaps on the ends.  Clip the snap to the rings at the top of the halter, run the reins through the snaffle bit, down between the front legs and up over the back.  Tie the ends over the back with plenty of slack for the horse to carry his head in a comfortable position, but not able to flip it up or get his legs over the reins.  Longe and let the horse figure out where his head should go.  If he tries to get his head too high the pull comes from the poll with a minimal amount of pressure on the mouth.  The horse's movement creates movement in the bit and he learns to give to it. 
The horse I used this on would stick his head in the air and refuse to give to the bit when I rode him.  The first day I tried this, he backed, whirled, half-reared (he couldn't rear too high because he couldn't get his head up) -- we were all over the place.  I kept asking him to do what he already knew (longe) and finally he figured it out.  I ignored all his other antics and concentrated on getting him to trot calmly around me. 
After a few days of this, my horse was longing very nicely with his head in a good position. 
I did use a running martingale when I first started riding him, but gave it up as I still got a black eye and a fat lip going up a hill when he suddenly flipped his head back.  Seems that when you really need it you are least prepared to use it and I found it to be a nuisance on the trail.
Karen Williams
Spotsylvania, VA
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 11:08 AM
Subject: Re: [RC] High headedness and arabs and martingales

PLEASE, if you are going to use a martingale on your horse (I prefer German) work with him on the ground first!  I have had much success using side lines and a bitting rig.  Yes, the horse may go over backwards or back up, and most of them will test it one way or another, but it is best that you are OFF when this happens!  Usually they test it once or twice and never again.

Louise Burton

Firedance Farms Endurance Arabians



Re: [RC] High headedness and arabs and martingales, LOUISE BURTON