Hunter headset help??

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by Anna Giuda, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. AmyK

    AmyK Senior Member

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    He's a cute horse btw, I think maybe you guys just need a few lessons to iron out some kinks.
     
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  2. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    Yep. Btw, he's not bad looking at all.
     
  3. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    That saddle doesn't appear to fit the horse very well - it looks awfully close to his withers & tight on either side. That alone can cause your horse to want to invert his back - which I'm seeing on the photos.

    I would start with a confo shot along with some saddle fit photos. Could be something small could make all the world of a difference. If the horse is willing to work over the back, he will naturally drop his head exactly where you want it & he will look far more appealing to the eye.
     
  4. Anna Giuda

    Anna Giuda Registered

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  5. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    The neck is never the problem, nor is a so called "head set".

    There is absolutely nothing wrong if you leave the horse totally natural when you ride over smaller obstacles, as long as it accepts the bit and doesn't go against your aids.

    For higher jumping you want basic collection, and that comes with a certain head set when trained correctly. But the head set is a secondary effect of the correct training, not the goal.

    I suggest you get yourself a dressage trainer. (yes, that will improve your and the horses form over fences because it gives you precise control and healthy muscle training for the horse)
     
  6. AmyK

    AmyK Senior Member

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    His neck isn't low at all, he just has TB withers. The only thing that might be off is his neck might be a touch short compared to his long body, but I think that might be the angle too. He really is a nice looking horse and looks well cared for, just figure out the lesson thing and I think you guys will have your issues ironed out quickly. I know you don't want to hear that but trust me, it's worth it to have eyes on the ground correcting you in real time.
     
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  7. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    As Rhythm n Blues has said you need to have fitting saddle for your horse to be able to use his back and neck properly.

    Here are a couple of pictures 1 of a QH type in hunter tack of the web and one of an Arabian in dressage ( I chose dressage as its closer to your flat smooth movement goal rather than Arabian Hunter Pleasure which has become more like country pleasure) . The head height placement and neck is different the QH is using a slack rein while on the Arabian the rein creates a straight line but there are some distinct similarities that are consistent, and these similarities are the foundation of the horses correct frame. The horse is moving in a forward way, they are stepping under themselves with the hind foot tracking up to the front foot creating a V between the front and back foot. The horse is using their back shoulders and neck, so that we see a roundness. The head is in a close to perpendicular or nose just slightly above the vertical placement to the ground and in acceptance of the bit waiting for the next cue to be transmitted through the rein and humans body . ..... compare these to the photos of your horse, and you will see that he his tracking up short with that hind foot, is heavy on the forehand and not round because he is not using his shoulders and back..... if you fix this than you are on the right path to improving your placements.

    TB Trot.jpg

    AQHA hunter.gif shadow trot.jpg
     
  8. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    The neutral "on the bit" head carriage height depends a lot on the breed/conformation.

    Naturally you will have a lower position in a horse that is bred to be low headed like a Quarter Horse than for example in an Arabian, a Friesian etc. I find it problematic to urge a horse into a head position that is not coming natural just because some "show discipline" rewards it.
    Yes, you can ride all horses long and low like a QH show hunter if you train them well, but unless a horse is built that way, don't ask it for longer periods of time.
     
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  9. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    I am willing to bet money once you add a pad, girth & weight of a rider that if nothing else that saddle is touching/pinching the left side of her withers.

    The photos aren't ideal, but they tell me enough to know that's part of your problem.
     
  10. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Yeah it is, because they want a certain look in these rail classes. You don't have it, you don't win. The horse's head needs to be down farther for the look they want. It really is that simple.

    His head has to be down further and his chin has to be in, ideally on the vertical.

    Different rail classes, different looks. In saddlebred hunter or arab hunter classes they don't mind a higher head carriage as long as the horse has a 'head set'(fore face on the vertical, upper line of neck curved or flat, but has to be low). But you need to look at the classes you want to win and cater to the position they want....that neck has got to be low and that chin has to be tucked in. That's what you call a 'head set' - and the horse is trained to keep his head in that position while it's being ridden. So in some rail classes you'll see a horse win that is really working his whole body and taking the bit well, and in others, you won't.

    There are plenty of trainers who are going to be only too pleased to be paid to show you how to get your horse's head down and the neck arched in exactly the look the judges want to see in these rail classes.

    If you were doing dressage, it would be different. But what is being said here that the head and neck position never matter in dressage, that's not true either - it's not in the least bit true. The problem is that in dressage you can't just cue your horse to drop his head or use the reins to ying-yang him into a certain head/neck position. You won't get a decent score or have something you can build on to reach the next level. In dressage, most of the judges.

    There, the head and neck position is a result of doing a lot of other things right - things other than ying-yangin' on the reins.

    By ying-yangin' I mean rapidly jerking one rein then the other, no matter how 'softly' or 'invisibly' that is done, whether you call it 'spongeing' the reins or 'jerking' the reins. It amounts to the same thing...getting the horse to drop the bit and 'assume the position'. The reins hang down and as a rail class judge told me last summer, 'then the picture looks purty'.

    The way this is taught the horse is that the rider rapidly jerks one rein and then the other, till the horse drops his head and tucks his chin so his face is on the vertical line. Generally this is done first with the rider dismounted and standing at the horse's head, then under saddle. The rider pulls the rein til the horse gives. Then the pulling ceases.

    The second the horse puts his head down and in, the rider immediately stops jerking the reins. The reins hang down loose, and the horse learns that if he picks his head up, the rider is going to jerk the reins till he puts his head back down. Keep that head down and in (head set) and no rein jerking. Up periscope, and it's jerk-jerk-jerk til the horse puts his head back down. If the horse fights it, the rider puts on draw reins, a chambon or gogue, or a sharper bit, and the extra pressure makes the horse give in.

    And yeah...many people are adept enough at 'ying-yangin'' that they can give the horse one or two in the chops before they go in the ring, and then go around the entire duration of the rail class, looking like they never ever touch their horse's mouth....or they do it when they're behind horses and the judge isn't looking.

    The better hunter rail class judges don't want to see a horse 'ying-yanged' with the reins into 'assuming the position' any more than a good dressage judge would. But many of the rail class judges aren't up to that level of understanding.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017

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