For a quick run down on the mare: 6 years old, same bit for the past 4 years. Very, very not confident. Also has a fear of ground poles, or anything on the ground for that matter. But mostly ground poles, long story.
Recently switched boarding barns and she apparently loves it. We spent a little time going over the ground basics because of terrible help when she balked at the trailer to load her. Lets just say I had to tell off a guy and it took two days to get anywhere near the trailer after his "help".
So now I can turn her loose in the arena and do free-lunging and she will actually prefer to go over the ground poles and through the different patterns on the ground with them set up for trail practice. So clearly her confidence is increasing.
Now the past two rides she has taken to shaking her head. Shestill shoves her own head in the bridle while bridling, no shaking while standing still, while turning or while stopping. She likes to walk with her head by her knees when she just wants to plod along.
So I hold a set length of rein where its lose when her poll is level with her withers when I want a working horse. I let her hang her head and stretch out during the cool down. And every time she drops her head that low I nudge her up back to work. But now instead of pulling her head down she shakes her head. Her pulling was never really pulling either, just slowly trying to sink her head lower and lower.
I had someone tell me to pop the reins real quick when she does it, but it doesn't work with my logic. I want her head still, so why do something that normally cues her to move her head somewhere?
And do you think its just some attitude coming out now that she is more confident? Because she does it where the reins are loose, and never while stopping or turning, I don't think its a tooth or discomfort issue. Its more when I ask her to walk out.
What would you do in this situation?