How to Set a Horse’s Head

No matter if you are training your horse for a race or just for a horse show, setting a horse’s head is really important as bolting is possible only if your horse has a perfect headset.

You will find bulk of literature putting emphasis on proper headset but unfortunately there is lot of misinformation on how to do this. Most of the times, training for proper headset does not yield desired results. That is because the trainers do not have any idea about horse’s natural head position.

However, you can make things easy by following a couple of directions.


  • 1

    Know the natural headset:

    First and the foremost thing you need to do is to know your horse. Knowing the breeding history will help you to force your horse into a headset. You must keep in mind that every breed of horse has a different headset so trying to set a completely unnatural head will be futile exercise. For example, you cannot train Quarter horses for a high neck as they certainly have a low head position. Similarly, Standardbreds and Friesian naturally have a high head carriage.

  • 2

    Longe your horse:

    Make your horse run in a circle and notice the way he moves. You may use a longe whip to keep him stimulated. This longeing will help you to find out his natural headset.  Though, it will be impossible to change the headset completely but you can make things better by working on your horse’s hindquarters. You should also watch your horse while he is running in the field with full force and freedom.

  • 3

    Plan a set of appropriate exercises:

    After knowing his natural headset, you need to plan exercises that can cause him to bend and flex his body. The more flexibility means the better hindquarters movement and ultimately more perfection in the headset.

  • 4

    Do half halts:

    Another technique to set your horse’s head is to practice half halts. In this exercise, you stop your horse suddenly and push him to run again. This will not only strengthen his hindquarters but also make your horse flexible. It is better to change the place every time otherwise your horse will be able to anticipate.

  • 5

    Draw reins technique:

    If you feel that your horse has a decent headset then you can use draw reins technique to make his head more perfect.

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