Help for a Bobbing Head

by Troy Green | July 5th, 2011 12:00 PM | No Comments

Q. Hi, I have an eight year old western pleasure gelding. He does great with jaw-reins, but when regular reins come on his head bobs at a lope, I don’t know if that is natural or not but, do you know how I can correct that or have any suggestions/exercises that can help me to get him to stop?


A. Hi Kaylee,
Often horses will develop a head bob from either being held too much or not enough. Draw reins will in fact steady a head bob a lot of the time, but as you said, the problem comes in weaning your horse off of the draw reins in order to show. If you remember to always get in and get out with your hands (and feet) that will help a great deal. Anytime I have a rider that has a habit of holding too much or a horse that bobs its head, I encourage them to count when they pull. Develop a rhythm. Get in and count “1, 2, 3″ and then release. You can then get back in and repeat. By doing this, we as riders stay out of the way of our horses and encourage better movement and head carriage. The other thing to keep in mind is to pull to the side. If your horse is trapped straight back, it will bob its head more. Try pulling just one rein to the side while keeping your horse’s body straight with your legs. The pull to the side will steady the head without getting your horse to over-bridle and encourage more of a bob. Thanks for your question and good luck with your gelding.


About the Author

Troy Green is a firm believer in the importance of a good foundation for every horse with balance, rhythm, and self-carriage being key. A good foundation equals longevity in the show pen. Troy has won over two dozen All American Quarter Horse Congress Championships in western pleasure, versatility, reining, halter and western riding, and has coached clients to over 50 Congress championships. Troy has three AQHA World Championships and two National Championships under his belt, and has won at all major futurities. He spent three years on the national board of the NSBA.

Troy Green has an extensive background working with youth and amateurs at all levels and of various disciplines. He specializes in pleasure futurity and all around horses.

Now is your chance to have your questions answered by Troy! Just submit your question using the comment section below or the email link, and he will respond to select questions in future posts.

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