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by Downunder Horsemanship

Training Tip: Horse Avoids Flexing

Question: When I do flexing from the saddle, my horse lowers her head to the ground and she will stay that way. At first, I thought she was just relaxing and stretching out her back, but now I wonder if it’s an attempt to avoid flexing? – Jaycee

Clinton’s Answer: Good job on working on getting your mare soft and supple. Your horse lowering her head is a good thing to a certain extent. When flexing, you want your horse to lower her head so that her neck is even with her withers. You’ll find that the more you practice flexing, the more your mare will hold her head in this position. However, when a horse lowers their head all the way to the ground, that’s their way of trying to avoid having to give to the pressure and flex.

Whenever your horse lowers her head and neck to the ground, I’d quickly jerk up on one rein. Don’t pull her head up with steady pressure, use one rein and jerk quickly. Make her feel uncomfortable for putting her head down. If you try to pull her head up, you’ll just get into a tug-of-war with her that you can’t win.

Once her head is up, go back to asking her to flex. Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult. Every time she lowers her head to avoid flexing, make her feel uncomfortable.

Have a horsemanship question or looking for more training tips? Check out the No Worries Club.