Having the ability to ask your horse to lower their head, and have them easily respond, will make many tasks easier and safer – whether it is to put on a halter or bridle, clip a bridlepath, or even medicate an ear or eye. Being willing to lower their head when asked is important for almost any horse (especially tall ones) and it is essential for anyone handling horses to know how to train and then ask for this simple behavior from their horse.
In today’s video I work with a mare named Fiona – she is quite tall and would prefer not to have her head messed with, but after about 8 minutes she is learning to lower her head calmly and willingly.
Fiona shows several of the behaviors that are typical when teaching this, so I think you will enjoy watching her and will be able to easily relate this to your own horse.
I just want to reiterate that there are several ways to teach the behavior of “lower your head.” You can use pressure and release without any food, some horses respond quickly and others may not mind your hand and may just stand there without the extra incentive of a food reward to help “figure it out.” If your horse seems to get stuck and isn’t responding, you can also use a target to help encourage them to lower their head (if they have worked with a target before).
Now try this with your horse and then leave a comment!