Bobbing his head - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 02-24-2009, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Bobbing his head

How can I stop a horse from bobbing his head. Its gotten better lately but when he does it it gets really bad and annoying.

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post #2 of 11 Old 02-24-2009, 04:33 PM
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Bobbing his head how?

Normally a horse that bobs his head indicates a front end lameness.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-24-2009, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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He developed the habit when he was a driving horse. He did that to loosen the head check.

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post #4 of 11 Old 02-24-2009, 11:53 PM
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When does he do it? When you're riding? Is it usually more sunny outside when he does it more? Sometimes horses can develop sensitivity to light.
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-25-2009, 09:42 AM
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What breed if the horse? Some gaited breeds just bob. More info and maybe a picture or video would be fantastic!

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post #6 of 11 Old 02-25-2009, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have any videos, and definantly no pictures of someone riding him.
He's an American Saddlebred. But he does it when I ride him and we're in the barn when he does it. The only time I rode him outside was just before it started to snow and he didn't do it then, but ha had a major obsession with trotting.
I don't know how much more info I can give you.

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post #7 of 11 Old 02-25-2009, 04:55 PM
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Simple trick - hang an eggbutt snaffle on the reins under his chin (not on the noseband, just on the reins). A lightweight snaffle is fine - such as a hollow mouth - you don't want to hurt him! But as he tosses his head he'll be clocking himself with the bit hanging on the reins and also jerk on his own mouth. Usually do that for one or two (short) rides and the horse stops the head tossing.

Few things to note though - this will ONLY work if the head tossing is a vice and not due to pain. You should also have his teeth checked as it can be something due to dental issues. However if it's behavioral, this will often do the trick! Just like I said please don't use a heavyweight bit - you don't want to crack his jaw! Just want him to associate the head tossing with a bop in the chin.

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post #8 of 11 Old 02-25-2009, 04:56 PM
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I would check his teeth to ensure there is no issue and then I would assume he's trying to avoid the bit. What you might try doing is set his head where you want it, you'll probably have some reign contact because it sounds like he wants to travel on his front end, the INSTANT he drops his head - release. Give him reward but then take it back to where you want it. He'll realize soon that if he holds his head in a specific place, you arent goign to pull on his bit......

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post #9 of 11 Old 02-25-2009, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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He has had his teeth checked recently and his shots are up-to-date.
He only bobs his head maybe once a month, but when he does it's excessive and nearly impossible to stop. He has the right headset for Huntseat and Saddle seat, which are the two disciplines I'm focusing him on. The one he uses depends on the saddle. If I'm using a Saddle seat saddle he won't do an English headset. If it's a hunt seat saddle he won't do a Saddle seat headset.

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post #10 of 11 Old 02-25-2009, 06:56 PM
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Well first thing is of course to rule out pain. Make sure his teeth are proper and good. Also be sure the horse isnt lame. And check ofr neck or back pain

If you can rule all of that out..its clearly a behavioral problem
I can't say for sure about ur horse without more detail. However, one horse I rode did just that. He was simply complaining and it was a way to evade for him. Keep ur shoulders back and elbows loose. Don't give to him when he does this. Many horses evade this way and the rider gives in to avoid being jerked around. However if ur seat is secure, you should not be jerked out. Focus. When the hores does this, add leg, make him continue through the work..when he stops the head bobbing. Praise vocally or give him a pat. This helped the horse I rode. However I don't know if yours is the same

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