Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Dawsonville, GA
To further confuse the issue of head bobbing besides confirmation and training, there's also what the horse is doing. Have you ever seen a horse going up a steep incline bob his head up or downwards more than usual to help him haul his back end up after him? You'll especially see this if the horse is weak or is carrying too heavy a rider, even when going up a slight incline. So it's not always just about how long and swingy the body is or how relaxed, either.
When my gelding first arrived he was much underweight and weak. I took still shots and video of him gallopping around his paddock with a warmblood. Then I did gait analsys one frame at a time. The other horse was in much better condition and moved his head and neck up and down a good deal less as he ran than my gelding who had to drop his poll down lower than his withers in order to help him heave up and lift his hindquarters back underneath himself. He looked like a water pump handle! Already in the two months I have had him, getting his weight up and building stronger muscle, he's able to run with less extreme effort. It doesn't mean he's stiff in this case, but in better shape.
So incase I'm not being clear or am being too specific, I am only saying that how much head and neck movement you get from any specific horse, performing any specific gait, is going to vary. Also what the rider is doing, conformation, training, conditioning, and terrain are all going to have an effect. Some subtly, some extremely. You will tend to see more in the slower lateral gaits on longer bodied, relaxed horses but it's certainly not a carved in stone, inflexable guideline.
Paige Easley Patty
Last edited by Hanblechia; 09-20-2009 at 03:13 PM.