For the last two months I've been working with an 11yo gelding donated to a program (basically a retirement/ rehab collection of horses put back into recreational use for girls) I work for from a trail-riding business after nearly 6 months of him being unusable due to poor and some times dangerous behavior-- but that's another story for a later day.
Anyways, now that I have him under my care we've been making steady steps to change, enough so that I can trust him to upper level 'beginner' girls at the walk and trot. As long as he can maintain his "personal bubble" of about 10-15 feet from another horse, he's been deemed "safe". More work is being put into this problem, and hopefully one day it will be fixed. But all things take time and patience. Now that he is back in shape from a very long break, I've built him back up and felt ready for it, I started to work with him at the canter for the first time today.
This horse hasn't been cantered in far to long. At least a year or more. Nor was he ever properly trained in the gait by the way he acts. Not only did he not listen to any cues, he'd randomly decide when to canter and would cut across to canter with other horses being worked with in the arena. No successful canter at the walk, but a few from the trot did occur.
Hopefully with more work I can get him cantering better on his own and listening better in time. But that wasn't the unusual part.
Never before have I had a horse that cantered with his head down in a charging position, but smoother than butter in his motions. While beautiful to ride and watch, control is lost with his head so low and for the life of me I couldn't get him to pick his head up and be "normal". Out of the other 43 horses I work with, he's the only one that does this.
This horse is well known to have his head constantly in the air and rather alert, but the moment he picks up a canter he's licking the dirt.
After so many years of riding and working with horses, I am at a loss with this fellow.
So more or less, any tips or tricks to get his head out of the sand at the lope?
Thanks in advance,