I wasn't quite sure wether to put this in health or training. We recently got a new gelding, he was supposed to be for my husband, but he hates him so I have been riding him. He has a habit of tossing his head up in the air. At first when my husband was riding him we were thinking it was the bit or his teeth, we tried 5 different bits on him. Since I have been riding him I don't think it is either. He only does it on a loose rein when we are walking along in a clear area. He does not do it trotting, or if the trail is a bit rougher and he has to watch his feet. Which makes me think he is doing it out of boredom. I was hoping for some outside thoughts on this and maybe some tips to get him to stop.
I know you may not *think* it is his teeth, but I would really give them a good one over. I recently purchased my gelding, and he was great at certain things, no head tossing, no nothing. But then he would just randomly put his head down or throw his head. Random, once again no pattern. Didn't matter if it was walk or trot. Checked his teeth, they were AWFUL! Vet came and floated them, he said they were a 7 out of 10, as far as how bad they were. He had cuts on his tongue and cheeks from his teeth and he was only slightly showing irritation.
I don't know how well this may work for you, but how I figured it out was I took my gelding into a small area and rode him in just a rope halter hakamore. He rode very well, which told me instantly that it was the bit that was the problem, not the horse.
Since you just got him, it would be wise to have the vet out anyway and while he/she is there, have them check (and float if necessary) his teeth. Only once that has been eliminated by examination should it be eliminated from the list of possible causes.
Teeth check up. My mare was bad and it instantly cut out about 90%. The other 10% just took her a day or two to realize that she didn't hurt any more. Just needed to break her habit and she did.
Thank you, appreciate the replies. We haven't had the vet look at him yet as we hadn't planned on keeping him at first and didn't want to put more money into him. We were going to trade him as we basically got him from a broker, he was offering a trade since my husband dislikes the horse. But since I have been riding him, I rather like him and might just keep him for myself.
After you get his teeth done, he may still do it out of habit. If that happens and you're walking along on a loose rein, just pick one, not both, of the reins up a little higher for an instant and then drop it again. Only pick up the slack until he feels the difference and tips his nostril just a bit. Let him go on as if nothing happened and repeat when he tosses his head again. You can change which rein you pick up depending on how often he tosses and whether or not you have other considerations such as a bracier side or fences/trees/needs/etc.
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