View Full Version : When halting lifts head up high, what to do?

May. 15, 2009, 09:23 AM
So I have been working with a green horse that I am getting back into shape after a couple years off (rescue horse). He has had some professional training at some point in his life as he carries himself decently for being out of shape. However whenever I do a downward transition he lifts his head sky high and stops. How can I stop this? I know it will take time, but what are some steps to encourage him to stay low and halt? He has absolutely no muscle, or at least very little, so I'm really only focusing on the halt-walk transitions. Specially since when I work on walk-trot halt-trot ones he gets up and starts racing around the ring.

Any ideas help! Thanks!

May. 15, 2009, 09:34 AM
A dressage lesson would help - but key is when halting to use your seat to push horse forward into reins while not following with elbows. What this does is get him over his back and his hindlegs underneather himself - which will have him in a nice "frame" without the giraffe head and hollowed back. Head MAY be a bit higher than hunter BUT if reins are longer (and halt is done correctly as described above) you will present a harmonious picture - judges love it!

You might also need to make aides for transitions lighter - try stomach crunches for downward transition and stomach "pushes" for upward transitions - lighter legs and rein cues.

May. 15, 2009, 09:38 AM
sounds like a bit evasion to me....have you tried different bits?

May. 15, 2009, 09:41 AM
sounds like a bit evasion to me....have you tried different bits?

He was in a simply eggbut snaffle but he wouldn't listen to me. He is now in a French D-link and hes great in it other then halting. That's the only issue we have. He comes back to me and such but always raises his head high. I mean he stops its just like a giraffe! On a 17H boy it makes him even bigger! lol :)

May. 15, 2009, 09:42 AM
He is not strong enough to halt properly and may not be that broke in the bridle aids.

In other words, he is a little weak and maybe clueless how to arrange his body.

IMO alot of trot work-and let him go fast if he wants, won't hurt a thing. Picking at him to "frame" or bend is probably premature.

You also need to realize horses are not really bred to work slow, they are born as flight animals and they do like to go on. Use that forward impulsion to allow him to remuscle, rebalance and learn to come freely forward. THEN you can go slow and work on halts. And, remember, good halts are forward off the leg, not a pull down. As long as you have some type of brakes, you do not need to school them right now.

If I were an out of shape and not that well educated horse, I would think walk, halt, trot, halt would totally suck and would be hard to do. Actually, very well educated in shape horses also think this kind of excercise is tough and hate it.

Put him in sidereins and lunge him for 15 minutes before you get on and then just get on and go. he'll figure most of it out on his own. Then teach a proper half halt. That ought to do it.

Wizard of Oz's
May. 15, 2009, 11:32 AM
I agree with Valentina. Make sure you push him forward while you are asking him to halt. Also, sometimes without realizing it, my hands randomly get high and high hands=high headed horse.

May. 15, 2009, 11:41 AM
1) halt with your seat and not your hand
2) to work through the problem, concetrate on the quality of the halt, and not the timing or location. When I was dealing with this issue with Belle, sometimes I would spend a whole hour working on walk -halt transiotion.

Ask for the halt, but if the horse even STARTS to brace, stop asking, and keep walking. When he stops bracing, ask again. Sometimes I would go around a 20 m circle 3 times before getting a non-braced response.

And when you DO get a non-braced halt, make a BIG fuss of the horse. HWzatever makes HIM happy, whether that be praise, treats, rubbing the withers, etc.

May. 15, 2009, 11:46 AM
Agree that horse is not fit enough to do a proper halt. When he is, you can ride him forward into your hand to help this problem, but anything that is not fit enough to trot is not going to be able to have the self-carriage necessary for a good halt. Moreover, if you are keeping him slow, he is not going to have the forward necessary to produce an appropriate halt.

He needs to trot forward at this stage, as fast as he needs. You don't want him to trot "slowly" -- lots of lovely horses are ruined because people try to get them to shuffle about when they are starting out. It interferes with movement and forwardness, and once you lose that it is very hard to recreate. Let him go at the trot until he settles into a rhythm. Then you can work on getting him straight/light/soft/balanced.

The first rule of flatwork is forward -- without forward nothing else will ever be correct.

May. 15, 2009, 12:00 PM
Great thanks so much! He is definitely forward, sometimes to the point I feel like Im getting run away with at the trot! Normally when he gets that strung out I give soft half halts and he slows down. My hand is actually too low for what it should be and I am trying to work on that as well. So I know his head isn't going up cause my hands too high, quite the opposite.

Yesterday when I tried to work on it. I asked him to walk forward and normally he frames up and I ask for the halt. When he stops head down I give a loud over exaggerated praise. I then ask him to back up a couple steps then walk forward into the walk again. I would repeat this and he seems to get the idea...is this right? wrong? way off?

May. 15, 2009, 12:35 PM
If he has halted correctly, I would definitely not ask him to back. Simply halt, hold for a few seconds, praise, continue forward.

Try to think of the halt coming from the back to the front, not vice versa.
You probably need to use more leg and seat and less hand. Close leg, resist with body, then add the hand. If you do the first two correctly, you wil need considerably less hand than you think.

Agree with F8 to practice correct half halts, the full halt is simply an extension of this.

Edited to add that you should not need such strong half halts - pay close attention to your hip angle and upper body. Use these sublteties to influence the trot as "ongoing maintenance" and you will find that it will smooth out the trot a bit.

May. 15, 2009, 01:11 PM
Don't back him up after a halt.

Horses hate it and will think they screwed up, especially if anybody has ever ripped them back for getting strong. Plus, good way to teach them to drop behind the bridle and your leg

If you want to work on the rein back, do it so it is not associated with the halt.

Proper use of the outside rein with well developed contact is probably going to do more to fix this then anything else. But, right now, I'd just go forward to get him fit. You can also be sure you are using voice and seat to ask for those halts when you do work on them, not hand.

May. 15, 2009, 01:20 PM
I wouldn't back up on an unfit horse AT ALL (except when necesary to maneuver around a gate).

Only AFTER the horse has developed the "carying strength" to consistently stay balanced in trot to halt and halt to trot would I even THINK of backing.

Once the horse has established that strength, backing is good for improving the strength. But asking the horse to back before that will only a) be uncomfortable
b) therefore be interpreted as punishment
c) teach the horse to backup incorrectly.