Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/horse habit
On down transitions, such as canter to trot, my older quarterhorse has developed a habit of pulling his head downward and me out of saddle. He has been used in side reins by a trainer as a school horse for this reason. What do I need to consider doing to break the horse's habit?
He is pulling down in the transition because he has made it a habit, but what started it? Maybe he felt that in the transition there is pressure in his mouth and he is bracing against that. In a perfect transition he would transfer his weight to his hind end and there would be no need to use the reins. So here is my idea for you, first on the buckle walking him around the arena I want you to take a deep breath, and as you breathe out lift the buckle into the air. Then with your free hand grab both reins just under the buckle and slide that hand down the reins to his neck (shortening the reins). Then lean back and draw back on the reins until you get on step backwards then STOP EVERYTHING and WAIT! Ask him up to a walk and pet him for a while and then repeat this again, always going very slowly, always focusing on your breath first. Whenever he backs up you have to drop everything and take a few breathes before you continue. When you get this going for you pretty well write me the details about how it went and we will take it into the trot and canter. In no time your horse will stop when you take a breathe and not pull into the bit.
Let me know how it goes and we will move ahead from there, I look forward to it!
Caitlin Day Huntress