Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Head burying thoroughbred

I have read most of the postings on your site and I would love your opinion. I have an 8 year old green OTT Thoroughbred who I have owned for about a year. He has come a very long way in that year (ground manners are GREAT now, he longes, understands leg, and is much less spooky). However, he has taken to burying his head and bolting at times, usually when he does not want to do something and I am enforcing it. Unfortunately, I do not seem to have the strength to get his head back up and have had two falls over the past several months when he has yanked me out of the tack. My trainer got very upset at the last fall and though she had previously thought that he was coming along well, now she feels that he has "got my number" and that I should sell him. Is it possible to gain lost ground once the horse has "got your number" so to speak? I look at all of the gains he has made and do not really just want to give him up. Thank you!


Consider allowing the horse to come to a soft mouth. I bet you are riding in some sort of snaffle. I would start going to an intermediate/transition bit. It can have a broken mouthpiece, but also and shank and a curb chain. I suggest learning to ride with one rein. One rein stops, backing, etc. moce any correction is done with a bump with one rein. I would soften the horse by asking for leg yields and using either one rein or the other (dressage style with appropriate legs and seat). Get him moving laterally using as lite a leg as possible, but still getting the movement you want. Get so you can back this horse really well, and I mean really well. You dnot need strength to bring a horse's head up. You simply begin to bump him (very sharp, quick, straight-upward tugs. His head will come up I promise. Stop pulling and start bumping with one hand. He will not eb able to dive his head into the ground if you get good with one hand. If he even thinks of beringing his head down...BUMP once...If it is done right you will not need another. another if you need to. Do what it takes as far as bumping...but STOP pulling as you are teaching him to do it. If he were mine, I would develop his mouth again and soften it (get away from the snaffle and that use one hand). He cannot push against a bump. He can and will a 'pull.' Keep me posted.....

Sincerely, Franklin

Look for: