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Old 01-29-2013, 12:10 AM   #11
Cody Deering
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The Headset will be there naturally as the horse rounds up and the drive comes into the hind end more and the shoulders get released and are free.
I think Jimmy was talking about riding these horses straight and not doing a bunch of "pushing body parts" I agree with that. so its possible to have this great headset and not do much of fixing the horse. Think Go, Straight, Turn, Stop, Circles at a walk. if you have those mastered which most do not, then you can have the rest later.
Think Vaquero, Think working cattle, Think long trotting and really heading out and going somewhere. Boring to some but thats what makes a great headset
The horse has to understand that he can keep going forward even though the rein is being worked. If horses could just understand this from the start from us then things would be easier on us and them
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:43 PM   #12
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This sounds right in theory, I will have to play around with it. I agree with the horse running into the bump versus bumping them yourself.

So by freeing up the shoulders and focusing more on the hind end, that drops the head into a more balanced position? An example of this would be when most horses back up, the head is tucked?
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:57 PM   #13
Cody Deering
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Yes, Or when you are riding along at any speed and you just take the slack out of one rein and that horse feels back to you and because the rein is connected to the feet , esp the hind, it drives deeper and then the horse rounds and the elusive headset comes in there. Think, form to function, not head mechanics.
i also do equine bodywork and what is amazing i can be working on releasing the tension out of the horses shoulders and all of a sudden that horse elevates its head and neck and then drops off vertical looking like it has a spade bit head set. So when the body is right the headset is a result of it IMO
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cody Deering View Post
The horse has to understand that he can keep going forward even though the rein is being worked. If horses could just understand this from the start from us then things would be easier on us and them
I think a lot of people train there horses this way. By shutting them down with the reins at the start. The horse learns that he needs to stop or slow down when the reins are moved. I think part of this comes from poor timing from a rider, when we ask for movements at the wrong time, we trip up the horse and inhibit that movement. Which brings up the question, do the reins move the head or the feet? When the reins are attached to the feet, the head follows.

What type of things do you do to help the horse work off of his hind end? I just brought in a horse that is heavy on the front end. His shoulders are about twice as big as his hind quarters. I have been backing up a few steps before each movement I ask him, and once last week I backed him up a hill.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:15 PM   #15
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It was Ray who first described the idea of the reins being connected to the feet. It is really a mental image of how we are getting with the horse. We have to ask ourselves, how are things perceived by the horse? How do our actions translate to his actions? We can really only imagine that.
Very basically, the rider's job is to establish the gait, the direction, and the speed. The horse provides the rest. He is the athlete. He is ultimately in control of his own feet. He obliges us by letting us influence his decisions. Maybe.
What I know of heavy front end horses, is that you need to be able to elevate their carriage, by bringing the base of the neck up, and the poll up, when you use the reins. In this scenario, the soft feel we are looking for is not down and in, but up, and out.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:51 PM   #16
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What I know of heavy front end horses, is that you need to be able to elevate their carriage, by bringing the base of the neck up, and the poll up, when you use the reins. In this scenario, the soft feel we are looking for is not down and in, but up, and out.
Ed Connell used to say "the horse's feet are positioned by the way the reins are handled on his head only. There is no other way to position his feet." So maybe I am wrong in my thinking, but if I try and put all of this together. When handling the reins, if we use upward/vertical movements instead of down and lateral. It helps the horse position his head in a balance. So theoretically a focus on keeping our hands above the saddle horn, in front of the belly button; Instead of down to sides of the horn, or in front of the horn, will help a horse achieve balance and work more freely by freeing the shoulders, and bringing up the base of the neck while working?

Here is a picture of Bruce Sandifer with the headset and carriage I was talking about.
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File Type: jpg bruce sandifer.jpg (65.5 KB, 16 views)

Last edited by Cattleman; 01-29-2013 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:42 AM   #17
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Short answer is yes. Hand position has a practical importance. Ride your young horse as if you were going to be straight up sooner than later. Think of where your hand needs to be when your are roping.
So for consistency, we keep our hand position up and in front of us. Just because we are using two hands, does not mean we have to drop them to the sides, or go out to the side all the time.
What really frees up the shoulders is riding forward while walking and trotting, and not getting the neck so short as the horse gets all balled up. Better to try and get the nose out in front a little, and keeping the throatlatch open. This is the main reason for not letting the horse get behind the vertical, because it shortens his neck so much, and we loose freedom of movement. That is my application of dressage principles, anyway. Easier said than done. Someone once said: you carry your hands, and the horse will carry his head!
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
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What really frees up the shoulders is riding forward while walking and trotting, and not getting the neck so short as the horse gets all balled up. Better to try and get the nose out in front a little, and keeping the throatlatch open. This is the main reason for not letting the horse get behind the vertical, because it shortens his neck so much, and we loose freedom of movement. That is my application of dressage principles, anyway. Easier said than done. Someone once said: you carry your hands, and the horse will carry his head!
I know we may be getting into this a little deep. But can you explain a little more what you mean by "riding forward while walking and trotting"?
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:35 AM   #19
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Because the hackamore limited her ability to work the horses shoulders. I started to think about this thread and wondered, how do you get your horses to find "neutral" in the hackamore with a break at the poll? I have heard that in the initial rides you bump them a few times. Just wondered what you do to get your horses to have a good hackamore headset?
I like a lot of what has been said in this thread and decided to make a comment. I think a lot of what was said in the original post can be used to answer the question. In a snaffle bit, trainers often "drive" the horse into the bit. By holding the reins steady and bringing the hind end up, when the horse reaches this point they find the release and learn to stay in that position or they are held in that position, to get a "good working headset"

You cannot do this with a hackamore, the horse will run through it. The hackamore is designed to work off of balance on the horses face. I don't use headstalls (such as a browband) with hackamores, because they affect the function. The hackamore is designed to work with a simple hanger or I will call it a HANGer. To work correctly they do not have buckles, but are best if braided on to the hackamore itself and then adjusted by tying it to the correct length. I called it a HANGer earlier, to emphasize that it is used to HANG the hackamore. The hackamore is hung on the horses face, a good hackamore has a balance to it. So that when it is hanging there is a point where there is a neutral position. Some horse's are lighter than others and will feel out that neutral quicker. They will learn that if they put there head in a certain balanced way, there is a free space, to hang out in. In the picture you posted above of Bruce, look at the vertical position of the hanger. Notice how it acts to hang the hackamore in the position we are talking about. By getting a horse to work more on there hind end and free up the shoulders as discussed, it helps the horse "Hang" the hackamore and find that neutral position.

There are hackamores out there that don't have a good balance on them, the heel knot is too big for example and throws off the balance. As a result the rider is constantly pulling on the horses face to get the balance in the hackamore and the horse becomes dull in my experience. A horse can never find the free space, if we never free up the reins. Again this comes back to balance and signals. It is only the start to the whole deal or end process we are looking for, if a horse can find the neutral "hang" of the hackamore, he will find the neutral position of your seat, and the neutral hanging position of the spade bit. And then you are free to work off of signals by changing that neutral.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:54 AM   #20
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That makes a lot of sense, but is probably easier said than done, it also explains why you want to keep a horses face light.
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