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Horse repeatedly bobbing head behind vertical while trotting?

This is a discussion on Horse repeatedly bobbing head behind vertical while trotting? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        06-16-2013, 09:50 PM
    Thanks everyone.

    I'll try him in a different pad and see if that makes a difference. I don't think it's a mouth issue, he just got his annual shots a month or so ago, and I believe his owner had his teeth checked also but I'll ask her to see. And I feel like I'm using lots of leg with him, but maybe not!

    After watching it again I can see how it looks like he might be trying to stretch but can't. I don't think it's the saddle since it's what I've always ridden him in, but maybe so? Maybe it's a little too far forward and is pinching?
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        06-20-2013, 07:07 PM
    Rode again last night. I put his saddle back a bit (made sure it was well clear of his shoulders) and dropped his bit a hole too. He started off really well, none of the bobbing and he was also carrying himself pretty well.

    Then we cantered and after our downward transition to trot he started it up again and did it for most of the rest of the ride while we trotted. There were a few times when I felt like I was able to use even more leg and push him out of it, but only a couple times, others he seemed to ignore it.


    I'm hoping my trainer will be out tonight and have some time to watch us too..
        06-20-2013, 07:15 PM
    Does he do this when you lunge him or just being ridden?
        06-20-2013, 07:30 PM
    I don't normally lunge him so I don't know if he does it while lunging....might try that tonight!
        06-20-2013, 08:24 PM
    Super Moderator
    That looks like bit evasion to me. Either you have changed the bit, or the way you contact him, or his teeth have some issue, or something has changed, if this never happened before. But, it looks like a horse that is responding to "fiddling" with the reins by dodging backward.
        06-20-2013, 09:04 PM
    It looks like he's reaching down to stretch (which is a good thing!)
    My horse did this when he was learning how to trot long and low. It would bob down then back up. I would give him rein and he quickly learned to really reach down. At first he could only hold it for a stride or two, but as his back muscles strengthened he can now maintain it longer. I like to do a few maneuvers then offer him a stretch down as a reward. Barring any pain issues, it seems he's learning to use his body differently.
        06-21-2013, 12:20 AM
    Thanks for all the responses! I went out tonight again and had my trainer watch. Her first thought was that he was trying to scratch or itch, and that her horse and her daughter's horse were both doing similar things/having lots of issues because of the flies (they're awful this year! :( )

    It actually makes a lot of sense, I haven't been riding regularly and now that I am it's getting hot and the flies are terrible, and this thing has only started recently. And Nav is sometimes afraid of the fly spray and so I don't spray as much as I probably should on him.

    I sprayed him well before riding tonight, especially his chest and front legs, and not once did he do the bob! So for now I'm going to assume that it was simply that he was itchy from flies or sweat or dirt.

    I will keep an eye on it all of course, and see if he starts it again. :)
    Celeste likes this.
        06-21-2013, 11:47 AM
    Green Broke
    If the bobbing returns I would try letting him trot while you hold the reins on the buckle. If he wants to stretch down, he will.. and then you will know.
        06-21-2013, 12:10 PM
    Funny .....the first thing I thought when I saw the video was Flies or a bug irritating him.. I am happy the trainer figured it out for you.. I always spray mine down really well before a ride this time of year. Although it doesn't always keep the flies all away. Good luck
    Celeste likes this.

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