If this isn't the best place for this thread, feel free to move it...
OK, I've been working my fairly green pony on the flat, getting a solid foundation on him, and I've noticed that when we transition down to a walk, he starts out with his poll pretty level with his withers, and from there really stretches his nose straight down, mouthing the bit sometimes. I know that they will stretch similarly to this after collection or work on the bit, but we've only just started these kind of exercises in the last couple of rides and haven't been terribly successful yet. He stretches whether we have been working on a loose rein or on contact. When he's on contact, he kind of stretches into the bit, not at all hard enough to pull the reins out of my hands, but enough that I'm concerned about pulling on his face too much, even thought he's doing the pulling.
I don't think he's "rooting". I've ridden ponies that rooted at the bit, and this is not at all what they did.
If it is important, my horse is 7 years old, 14 hands, a mixed breed (mostly QH, I think). He has a pretty low neck naturally, but at rest or relaxed work (besides the walk) he holds his poll a couple of inches higher than his withers. I ride in a plain cavesson bridle and an eggbutt snaffle with a copper mouth.
He is pretty food motivated, maybe he is looking for grass while he's going slow enough to snitch some if he finds it? The arena is dirt, but does grow some little tufts here and there. If something else gets his attention, his head will come back up to the natural, relaxed level.
Please help me figure out what he's doing, why, (maybe the "on the bit" work is going better than I thought??) and how to correctly respond to it.
Thanks in advance!!