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[RC] High headedness - beth glover

I enjoyed reading the ideas from Louise and Karen about their training methods. I also like to school horses  sometimes with a German Martingale, try as I might, I have never grown to like using a running martingale very much. I did learn from a trainer at a clinic that a standing martingale actually is useful, and allows the rider to move the horse's head laterally much better.

I school all my horses in the roundpen, and I use long reins, surcingles, and do ground driving. I had a good trainer teach me a method that was very similar to the one Karen described, however we snapped the reins to the snaffle bit rings. Each movement of the horse, causes a little gentle downward tug, and the horse rewards themselves by giving. We do criss cross the reins between the legs before bringing them up over the withers. Over the years I have modified this somewhat...I now use a rubber snaffle, and where I tie the reins over the withers, I tie them to the ends of a 6 inch piece of bicycle inner tube. So there is some "give" as the horse moves, and they don't get so panicked at first. I also use old and thin leather reins that potentially could break, if the horse panicks.Like Karen, I concentrate on having the horse do what they know..and that is lunge, ignoring all the other gymnastics they perform. I try to use a calming reassuring voice.

My four year old mare does this extremely well, with no fear, and can even canter. My new mare who is very high headed, is just learning to canter with this method. I had to work with her a long time, just to get her to let me snap the reins onto the snaffle without throwing her head in the air. I am hoping to soon get her to canter without throwing her head up during the transition, and to relax her head down as we go along.

These things were all designed to enhance the progress of show horses going in hunt seat...but for an endurance horse, it's nice to leave the martingale at home, and know that your horse won't smash your face in, and will yield to the bit,  with the ability carry themselves in a good frame.


 Beth, and

 Summer (but don't we canter chest first?)

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