The purpose of the third UE exercise is to teach your horse to lower is head while he is walking. The third exercise is done in the same manner as the second exercise. You will start each day with the first exercise and then when it feels good you move on to the second exercise. When you feel the horse is really connected and listening to your “rein aids,” which are the requests you give your horse through the halter and the rope, you then move to the third exercise. Start yourself and your horse in “companion walking” on a none influencing looped line on a 20-meter circle. Do some walk-halt requests to get the connection in rhythm and team work going between you. Halt about every 10 feet. When your horse would slow down and speed up with you in companion-walk without the influence of the rope, you can begin the next part of the third exercise. While you maintain a steady speed in walk ask your horse to lower its head while he is walking in the same way you did the second exercise. Lower you head and tuck your nose a bit and request that your horse does the same by pulling on the rope downward.
Take a hold of the rope lightly when the horse will take the pressure increase the pressure and milk the rope a bit with little gives and takes and then when the horse responds in the slightest way let go, put your body up-right and relax and keep walking. When your horse responds, say “good boy” or “girl” with a lovely tone of appreciation. Then relax, breath and mentally shake off any up tightness that may have occurred from the interaction and exercise. Do not ask again until complete relaxation and precision is gained back in companion walked.
Before you ask again check your horse’s attitude and energy. If he seems to be falling asleep wake him up with some walk-trot work in “companion walking” on the circle until you feel the energy returning. If he is high then do the first exercise to bring you horse back to the mid range energy he would need to feel connected willing and focused.
If your horse has trouble lowering his head in walk as you are introducing the third exercise just ask with a stronger pull that you know your horse would tolerate and then slowly release it and continue walking. Don’t wait for a response just ask and release, when you release try not to release in the moments of more resistance, release when there is less resistance but your horse does not need to lower his head. Your horse will drop his head eventually. If he doesn’t you are not asking in a way your horse can understand you. At this point, you will need to experiment or get help.
In the beginning ask your horse to drop his head for only a short moment while you are keeping the pace together. As your horse progresses ask for him to hold his head down for half a step. When his head is down keep the floating hold rather that a firm contact hold. Practice this for a while and then progress to a full step floating hold that he would carry his head lowered and possibly tucked slightly. Ask for the tuck if you think your horse would respond to that idea, if the horse does not offer a tuck do not stay on the subject, be happy with the horse lowering it’s head only. Continue asking for more steps in walk with a low head. Do not ask for more than five steps with a lowered head in a floating hold.
When the head is low and where you want it always have him in a floating hold which has the feel of a looped influencing line but your line looks like you are on a contact line because little slack can be seen. The reason you do not want a lot of slack in the line is to be able to signal the horse in the moment the horse would begin to raise his head. When your horse is in self- carriage with a low head travel with him in a low posture as well. When you are not asking him to lower his head carry yourself in and up right posture so that when you lower your head he will see the difference in your frame which he will see as an invitation to match your posture.
Energy connection, energy connection, breath and stay steady on course, Feel the rhythm that keeps the connection in the partnership.
Think of your horse as a sail boat and your request is the wind in your horse’s sails. Have the energy you want your horse to have in each moment will cause the horse to respond in kind. Put on music, train your horse in rhythm to the music, breath, and relax. Keep your horse to your momentum and give many breaks.