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Why is she throwing her head up?

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  • #2
    some questions for you

    Will she come into a frame and onto the bit for you as you trot and canter over poles on the ground? Raising her head, rushing and hollowing her back are avoidance behaviors and they could be indicative of pain. Her ears are pinned over the small vertical even with a loop in your reins. I would suggest schooling over poles on the ground at the trot and the canter until she goes rhythmically and in a frame (i.e. no head tossing). Also, if she's rushing that small fence and making a bid, I would stop her right after the landing. Is she a lesson horse or your horse? How old is she and has she had her hocks injected.

    Don't look to me for critiquing your eq! I'm stilling struggling with mine.
    pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

    Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill


    • #3
      My guess, without seeing any of the rest of the approach, is you're pulling down on her month with reins a touch too long and seat too heavy on her back.

      Hands should follow the horses head, not the other way around, so straight line from elbow to bit is maintained. You're actually pulling the bit down on the bars (bone) of her mouth (jaw) instead of back and into the soft, fleshy corners of her mouth.

      Note the frames a second before take off where you're seat is lightened in preparation for the jump, she's much softer her. You're also dropping back into the saddle early on landing, I'm guessing most of the inversion is because her back is not strong enough to take your weight. Try closing your hip angle and carrying some of your own weight, this will free up her back quite a bit (you'll need to shorten your reins).
      EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta


      • #4
        Probably already done this, but don't forget to check her teeth.


        • #5
          I agree you are sitting too heavily and pulling down. Check your bit, bridle fit, attach a stading martingale and school in your 2-point over poles. Make sure she can walk. trot and canter softly over poles in your 2 point, ans then revisit crossrails, by trotting properly over trotting poles befoe the X.

          Your little horse seems cute, take your time, and work on strengthing your lower leg.


          • Original Poster

            thanks! she's a lesson horse, and pretty young. I don't know her age, all I know is that she's green and off the track. She has a bum hoof that paddles out in the rear, it doesn't appear to hurt her, but her trot is funny. She has a REALLY short trot stride, and tends to overbend. I did pretty good today with keeping her straight today.

            I appreciate the comments So how can I get her to lower her head once she has it up?

            I only have once lesson a week, my next lesson is on Satuday, with a schooling show on Sunday.


            • #7
              Originally posted by maudie View Post
              thanks! she's a lesson horse, and pretty young. I don't know her age, all I know is that she's green and off the track. She has a bum hoof that paddles out in the rear, it doesn't appear to hurt her, but her trot is funny. She has a REALLY short trot stride, and tends to overbend. I did pretty good today with keeping her straight today.

              I appreciate the comments So how can I get her to lower her head once she has it up?

              I only have once lesson a week, my next lesson is on Satuday, with a schooling show on Sunday.
              Just with the part I bolded in your last post combined with the photos SCREAMS pain. 1. She has a 'funny trot' So does she head bob? Feel short in the rear?

              2. She is green. Are you also a green rider? Pairing a green horse with green rider over fences is something that I as an instructor would not do. You both can learn bad things from each other.

              3. How long has she been off the track? Any chiro since being off the track? Has she had her teeth done? Both are things that almost all the horses I have purchased off the track have needed.


              • Original Poster

                By funny trot I mean her stride is short, it feels like she is going a lot faster than she really is. She doesn't feel "off" though.

                I'm an experienced rider, but not necessarily an expert rider. I spent 11 years with a trainer who wasn't what I needed, if you catch my drift, and I moved to this new stable a few months ago. I don't flop in the saddle and I don't mouth surf. Right now I'm working on breaking bad habits with my new trainer. I was riding in a mostly dressage based lesson, but I'm a hunter rider.

                We did go over some poles in a corner. After a round or two she went through well, she had her head somewhere in the middle, not straight up but not level either.

                I can't answer your last set of questions as she isn't mine, but the facility is nice, the staff are knowledgeable, and all the horses are fat and AFAIK, happy.


                • #9
                  In a few of the photos I see that your reins are long and your hands are in your lap. When a horse gets quick before a jump you may be less likely to give a proper release out of fear of losing control. As a result, the horse may be afraid of your hands and is trying to evade them by raising his head above the bit.

                  You cannot get a horse to lower his head by lowering your hands. By breaking the line (below the bit) from your elbow to the horse's mouth, a mild bit may become quite severe. In a couple of photos, your hands look as though they are actually touching your thighs. This is not correct nor will it help you to lower the horse's head.

                  In two photos your right hand is down by your knee as the horse is trying to jump, again below the bit with no actual release.

                  You also appear to be sitting down in the saddle before the horse has finished it's jump. Try to remain soft and in two point for a stride or two after the jump so the horse can learn to realx.

                  Assuming the horse is sound:

                  You may want to practice riding with a shorter rein length and giving an appropriate release over poles...before progressing much further with jumping this horse.