This series is called "Position from Head to Toe" so it'd make sense to start with the head!
The most common issue riders seem to have is looking down. I'm sure we can all remember from our Pony Club days being told "if you look down, that's where you're going to end up!" While this may not be entirely accurate, it's true to say that the position of your head has a massive influence on your horse's way of going.
Our heads are really quite heavy. As soon as you look down, you shift the balance of your body, making you less effective. Often it causes the rider to tip forwards, putting the horse on his forehand.
Not to mention that when you're looking down, you're not really looking where you're going, which maybe fine at home in an empty arena, but it's a bit of a problem in a busy warm up!
Other common issues with head position are tilting to one side and sticking the chin out.
ow can these issues be solved?
Firstly, think of looking BETWEEN, not AT your horse's ears. Look up and around. It's very tempting to look down at what your horse is doing, but it doesn't achieve much, so keep that in mind.
You can try "aversion" (!) therapy.... stick a plaster or bit of sticky tape to the back of your neck with your head in the correct position. Then, when you forget and look down, that piece of tape will pull at the back of your neck, reminding you to look up.
If you tilt your head, you can do the same thing, but with the tape on the side of the neck opposite to the way you tilt. So say you tilt your head to the right, stick the tape on the left side.
If you stick your chin out (this is especially common in the medium/extended trot!) pretend you've got a double chin to help you think about tucking your chin back in! You'll find that you automatically bring your shoulders back when you do this too!
Hopefully these tips and tricks are helpful. Leave a comment or feel free to ask any questions!