I have had Izzy for a month now. She is a 13 year old retired polo horse. She is a great horse...super ground manners and nothing spooks or fazes her out on the trail.
I have recently discovered an issue with mounting. When I rode her the three times before I bought her, I always had someone standing at her head, gently holding the bridle. I just feel more comfortable when mounting a new horse to have someone else standing there. So when I first moved her to my boarding facilty, the first couple of times, I mounted her with someone standing there as well.
Last week, I mounted by myself and as soon as my foot went in the stirrup, her head whipped back as if she was going to bite. Her mouth wasn't open
And she quickly put her head forward again but the motion was there.
The next time I mounted, I used a mounting block and her ears were pinned the moment I stepped on it and her head came back like she was going to bite when I stepped on.
After that, I mounted with someone standing at her head...and all was good. No ear pinning...no head movement, not flinching.
I met with a trainer yesterday and we are in the process of ruling out pain, saddle fit, etc. We discovered that she swings her head back if you just raise your leg off the ground, mimicing the movement of putting a foot in the stirrup, even if she doesn't have a saddle on her back.
I suspect this is a habit she developed during her years in polo. Of course, we are definitely going to rule out pain but I wonder if the fact that she does it even if there is a saddle nowhere near her, points to habit.
I wish I knew if she has been doing this for a long time...because if it is just a recent thing, I would know it is related to pain or that she is testing me. Once I am in the saddle, she is fine and during ground work she is fine...it is only the actual mounting (with no one standing at her head) that is the issue.