My horse shakes her head when asked to whoa!

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My horse shakes her head when asked to whoa!

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  • Horse head shaking at the halt
  • Horse shakes head when asked to stop

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  • 2 Post By Labrador
  • 1 Post By palogal
  • 1 Post By waresbear

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    08-02-2013, 09:01 AM
My horse shakes her head when asked to whoa!

I have an AQHA mare that is an ex race horse. She is 8 years old. I bought her in March of this year and I ride her on average of 4 days a week every week. I have tried several bits such as a sweet six with lifesaver mouth piece, o ring snaffle, and jr. Cowhorse with a dogbone mouth. When asked to whoa she shakes her head terribly from side to side. I have tried tie downs as well. Now, she is really broke...side passes, backs, lope off, other than her head shaking she's quite a gal. I really like this horse and would like to solve the issue if possible. I have had her teeth checked as well. But when you ask for a stop...she'll stop but, with alot of side to side head shaking.
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    08-02-2013, 09:31 AM
Who checked her teeth, and how? Has a professional looked at your saddle fit? How are you asking for the whoa?
    08-02-2013, 10:55 PM
If you've ruled out health issues ( and it may not be directly related to her teeth) you could try this. It may take a while and it may not work, it's just am idea. I have never done this but have seen others use this method.
Get her going at a nice walk and eventually ask her to stop. Remember to start with her back end by pushing your tail bone forward, stilling your hip motion, sitting back and raising your toes. Then say ho/whoa and finally pull on the reins. If she tosses her head move her straight off again at the big walk. Walk for a half an arena and ask for another stop. Toss of head means off you go again. You can even push her into a working trot it that's better. Basically if she stops badly she has to keep working. If she stops nicely, she gets to relax.
Repeat this pattern until she stops with less or no head shaking. Let her rest for a while then and think about what just happened. With some horses it will work best to dismount immediately after she stops nicely, loosen the girth and be done riding for the day but this really depends on her temperament.

Hope this helps!
RedTree and CowboyBob like this.
    08-02-2013, 11:28 PM
How are you asking her to halt?
If you're going right to the reins, she's telling you that's incorrect.
CowboyBob likes this.
    08-03-2013, 02:20 AM
She might be looking for relief from bit pressure. Use less hand, more body cues and release all totally when she stops.
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    08-03-2013, 02:23 AM
When I first read your post, I wanted to ask, the same question as palogal, I would work with this horse on better response to my seat. Speed her up with your seat, slow her down, reins would be my last choose when asking this horse to slow down. The reaction you are getting is due to the fact your horse is fighting the pressure on her face, reaction rather then response is a big sight that you might be asking for to much to fast. Think about how you ask your horse to stop. If the first thing you think is reins then that is where I would start. Work on think slow then seat then last reins.
    08-03-2013, 06:35 AM
Try an English Hackamore, make sure it's not a german one as they are incredibally harsh. My mother had the same problem as you (she has a pure Egyptian arab), arabs tend to have a lower roof to their mouth and tend not to like bits. If your horse has a sensitive mouth she may not be partial to a bit in general. It may be uncomfortable for her. The English Hackamore doesn't have a bit, but instead works by gentle pressure on the nose. I've had several people recommend them. Hope that helped :)
    08-03-2013, 06:48 AM
Green Broke
My horse is the same, he's an OTTB, I think it's to do with the racing, I like the suggestions and ill try them on my boy as well :)
    08-03-2013, 07:41 AM
Originally Posted by RedTree    
My horse is the same, he's an OTTB, I think it's to do with the racing, I like the suggestions and ill try them on my boy as well :)
No, its inadequate training.

Reins should not be used to stop a horse. Your body and position do.

Pulling back to stop a horse is incorrect.
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    08-03-2013, 07:02 PM
Your title pretty much answers the question. A horse shaking it's head is a horse trying to tell you you're doing something wrong. You're either using too much rein pressure or un-yielding hands. Go back to walk and practice changing tempo and stopping using seat alone. Next time she shakes her head, soften your elbows and see if it magically stops.

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