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Horse dropping nose to ground when asked to trot

This is a discussion on Horse dropping nose to ground when asked to trot within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • When i ask my horse to trot he puts his head to the ground
  • HORSE NOSE TO GROUND

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    08-01-2012, 06:00 PM
  #11
Foal
Thanks everyone! I think I'll go with the Vet on this one and give him a couple of days off, see if he starts feeling better.
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    08-01-2012, 06:06 PM
  #12
Trained
He has always done it.
Even when I started him as a colt he would try it. I wouldn't let him then because I thought he was playing and was thinking about bucking or rolling like Palomine suggested. But he has never offered to do either. He really loves to do it in a freshly worked up arena or if we are riding in a new place.

But like I said before, as soon as I pick him he goes right to work.
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    08-02-2012, 12:03 PM
  #13
Yearling
My gelding used to do this and occasionally will just because. One thing I would check would be his teeth. My gelding really needed his teeth floated when he first started doing it. He was always terrible with the bit and very mouthy, and after I got his teeth fixed all of that stopped. His teeth were sharp and uncomfortable and he tried to evade the bit.

If that isn't the problem, next thing I would think of is the tack. I had been between saddles and he would lower his head and raise his tail along with somehow managing to hollow out his back. Even if you have a saddle that you've been using for a long time, have someone experienced check the fit. My first few years with Moe we had a saddle that didn't fit but we rode in all the time. I got bucked off enough to learn my lesson. Then of course it could be the bit, make sure it is right for your horse. Make sure to you are asking softly with your hands and make sure you make listening to the bit a pleasant experience.

If it isn't any of the former, it could simply be him testing to see what he can get away with. I've had every one of these be a problem with the same horse. If he is just doing it because he thinks he can get away with it, softly take one rein and ask him to pick his head up. When my horse had sharp teeth, however, we wrote it off to him just being his ordinary obnoxious self. Make sure to get him checked out before you make any rash decisions. But make sure not to baby him in the process. Good luck. ;3
     
    08-02-2012, 05:11 PM
  #14
Weanling
My horse does this occasionally when she feels a cough coming. (I try not to give her carrots before I ride--she doesn't do a good job chewing them!) The thing is, the stretching sometimes clears her throat, so the cough doesn't happen. It doesn't sound exactly like what's happening with you, I'm just agreeing the possibility he's feeling something uncomfortable and trying to relieve it.
     
    03-05-2013, 12:15 AM
  #15
Foal
Horse puts nose to ground- even in a canter.

My horse does this too. Drops his nose to the ground at a walk, trot and now even at a canter. I saw a few videos where racehorses were retrained and they let them do it to stretch there backs, but I was not sure how long/ when it was okay to allow it. I started to try and prevent it and urge him on into the bit when he did it for a while. As a newer owner, this type of thing can be confusing to figure out when to push and when to not.

I recently had the DVM out (because my horse bucked, bolted and reared in one week after being an angel for a year) who also evaluates saddle fit- he said his saddle was too narrow at the withers. The saddle was also low in the back and high in the front and unbalanced. He hated were the billets were as they kept the girth in the slightly wrong place. Since my horse is a bit downhill, it exacerbates the issue. This is the saddle that came with the horse.

I thought the new explosive behavior might be due to a small paddock injury on a very sensitive part of the leg/foot- it was kind of a large sore under the fetlock near where the digital cushion is.

I am looking for a new saddle now and will report if there is any change with a better fitting one.
     
    03-05-2013, 09:32 PM
  #16
Foal
I have a similar problem. My horse likes to trot or canter with his nose 6" from the ground. Usually it's to put his head between his legs and buck around the ring. He also like me to hold his head up. He can be heavy in the turns. I have had a hard time finding the right bit. I want to have light hands but he leans so much that it becomes me holding his head and hanging on his mouth. I put my leg on and it works until I give and back goes his head in my hands. Any suggestions? He also likes to go fast to avoid the bit. Trot fast, canter fast, gallop and buck. He doesn't do this with other riders usually.
     
    03-05-2013, 10:07 PM
  #17
Started
I'm glad you had the vet out. Whenever there is any sudden change in a horse's habits it's almost always due to some health issue. Taking tack away a piece at a time was very smart to be able to see if any particular piece was causing the trouble.

If this doesn't turn out to be tummy trouble I would look into a chiropractor or massage therapist. They aren't as expensive as they sound. If a horse suddenly feels the need to stretch their back and have trouble moving they could have pulled something or misaligned something in play.

Good job :)
     
    03-05-2013, 10:15 PM
  #18
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suedaven    
I have a similar problem. My horse likes to trot or canter with his nose 6" from the ground. Usually it's to put his head between his legs and buck around the ring. He also like me to hold his head up. He can be heavy in the turns. I have had a hard time finding the right bit. I want to have light hands but he leans so much that it becomes me holding his head and hanging on his mouth. I put my leg on and it works until I give and back goes his head in my hands. Any suggestions? He also likes to go fast to avoid the bit. Trot fast, canter fast, gallop and buck. He doesn't do this with other riders usually.

What type of bit are you using? I find very often bits with just a single joint can hit the horse's pallet (roof of their mouth). Many horses will lean hard into the bit so all the pressure will hit their bars and tongue and not hit their pallet. They'll also often drop their head to the ground so the bit is tilted in a way that it doesn't hit their pallet as easily. They will also often run through the bit as it hurts and stopping doesn't work so they push through it instead.
I would look for something like a french link or lozenge style bit (like the KK ultra). This should help a great deal with his leaning. I typically prefer a more structured ring like a D or full cheek for the added lateral pressure (pushing on the outside of their lips to help push their head correctly). But if you find the horse still leans you might want to look into a loose ring.
Have you had this horse's back and teeth checked? Saddle and Bit fitted?
If he does this only with you something in your communication is missing, are you bouncing too much and hurting his back? Are you using your hands to balance and driving his mouth crazy? You don't need to answer on here, just think about it and decide if there's something you're doing that could be bothering the horse - if he doesn't do it with other people there is a reason. Are you relying too much on the bit for turning?

If you find you're relying too heavily on the bit for turning and slowing start practicing using your seat more. Start by riding the horse doing several different figures in the ring, switch it up constantly so he never knows what you're doing. Figure 8s, big circles, little circles, diagonals, tear drops to reverse directions, cut the center line, do circles in the middle of the ring. The more you change things up - using your entire body to steer more than your hands - the more he's really got to pay attention. Changing gaits the entire time up and down constantly - all this will fine tune your horse's listening skills as he'll always be ready for a cue and listen more closely when you begin to shift your weight and seat for the next cue.
     
    03-05-2013, 11:37 PM
  #19
Weanling
All the advice you have been given so far is very sound advice. Pain is definitely another element you want to consider. My first horse used to drop her head, we got her saddle refitted and she never did it again. My instructor suggested that she had been previously punished from bucking/baulking because of a poorly fitting saddle (we brought the saddle with her) and had learnt over time that the only way to relieve the pain without a growling was to scrap her nose along the ground.

Perhaps your horse has recently gained/lost muscle/fat and now his saddle no longer fits? I'd definitely check on that if nothing else works, or if he gets worse.
     
    03-05-2013, 11:54 PM
  #20
Foal
Oh! Now that would make sense. My horse has gained quite a bit of muscle as I needed to condition him from scratch which would confirm what the DVM said about the saddle being off/even though the saddle seemed to have fit him when I first got him. The DVM is also a chiro and did a small adjustment and we had the masseuse out. The masseuse was very fun to watch. At the end of his session my horse put his head to the ground again and just hung it there for a bit like "oh, I need to stretch myself out after this. He seemed to feel/ look like it was sooo enjoyable doing it, and we were in the barn aisle. It makes me feel bad to urge him on while riding if he really needed to stretch out. Hopefully I'll get the right saddle soon and continue our training. Finding a saddle pro these days is a little bit challenging. Seems like an old-world job title with not too many left....
     

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