Thursday, May 7, 2009

Headsetter - Special Training Equipment

Trendsetter or Headsetter?
Unlike the german martingale, I use the headsetter only on occasion. I don't use it as much as the german martingale because it has a more specific use. (photo courtesy Larry Trocha)
Here's is Larry Trocha's information on the headsetter:
Many trainers use this piece of equipment to teach their horse good head position while stopping, rolling back, working cattle etc. Especially useful when the horse is in the process of learning to work in a curb bit.
It’s designed to help lower the horse's poll. When used properly, the Headsetter encourages the horse to work with a low head and level top-line.

Unlike a tie-down, this Headsetter works mainly on the horse's poll. A horse can comfortably carry his head in a "natural" position."
Advanced Skills
I used it on my reining mare when I was working on advancing her stops and spins. I was getting her ready for showing and I wanted to really concentrate on her maneuvers and not have to think about her head position. Of course, it's very important so I used the headsetter.
Training Tool Not For Regular Use
You can tell that it's definitely a training tool and not a regular piece of equipment like a running martingale or tie down. I want my mare to be able to do the advanced maneuvers without the headsetter of course.
It also reinforces where I want her head position to be during all maneuvers so it keeps things consistent for my mare. It makes it easy for my horse to know where to keep their head during all training.
It can be a bit much sometimes for a horse to be constantly corrected for a proper headset at the same time as learning the advanced maneuvers. For a trainer too! :)
The horse can all too easily start to raise their head in anticipation or stress of learning more advanced skills so it's easy to keep things in position.
Other Uses
I can see people who normally use a tie down to try the headsetter. It looks very much like a tie down only the noseband will slip and act similar to a gag bit in the idea that the noseband will slip on the horse's face.
Next article I will touch on the 'easy stop'. It is for working on a 'stop' on a horse. I will then go back and talk about more generalized, basic specialty equipment that everyone can use like the sidepull.
Questions and comments are always welcome.
If you have any questions about any speciality equipment, please contact me.
©Copyright KISS Reiners


  1. Thank you Sue. I'm thinking of trying a headsetter with my reining mare as we are preparing for a show in July.

    She normally works with a good headest and collection. I do use the german martingale with her on some days and some days in a Robart ported curb bit. For the most part she travels very well in the curb bit. But she does occasionally "pop" her head up when working some certain maneuvers. I think using the headestter occasionally might help us work through this when she is in the bridle.

    I have evaluated my riding and cues to make sure it isn't something I'm doing to cause her to "pop". I think I can be fairly confident it is more an anticipation of the maneuver rather than an reaction to an improper cue. Seems the headestter might be a good way to remind her of the proper form even when learning something new.

    I'm going to review the Larry Trocha video to learn the proper set up and adjustments.

  2. Hay Al! Your comment is a perfect application for the headsetter. A horse is popping up in anticipation and the headsetter will just remind her to keep her head a cetain way.