Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
IF it isn't his teeth, he hasn't learned to accept the bit. You may not know how many rides he has had or if the previous owner or trainer had soft hands or not. Hard hands can aggravate this. My 5yo QH was tossing his head last year--I adopted him from a rescue in March, 2010. I had a couple of rubber-mouthed mullen-mouth bits in my tack room, so I switched to that until about a month ago. The head tossing stopped. I'm not sure, but I suspect his wolf teeth were growing in. However, I have noticed that QH's and QH-types (which we know some Appy's are) tend to pick up this bad habit.
I am training another 5yo (KMHSA) who was rushing, to slow down. This is more important than the head tossing. If you know how to do a one-rein stop, I would school him to "shut him down" every time he picks up anything faster than a walk. This is working very well with my KMHSA, and if you're ever around these mountain horses, they like to rush and their owners usually let them. DH and I want him to "walk the first mile out". In our training sessions we have been walking him for over an hour at a time. He is getting much more relaxed. We ride him at the buckle of the reins, now. Last year DH taught him to neck rein. That's your next step, to stay off of his mouth. Also, incorporate your weight. Lean forward when you cue for the walk--We also say, "walk on." Lean back and audibly breathe out to slow down AND to halt.
After THAT, you will want to teach him the half-halt. From the half-halt, he will learn to soften to the bit.
Sorry about the lecture-length answer! Welcome to the forum, and gives us updates! =D