My mare tosses her head too much
 
 

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My mare tosses her head too much

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  • My horses head is too high
  • Horse tosses head when asked to trot

 
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    02-01-2011, 05:40 AM
  #1
Foal
My mare tosses her head too much

Hi everyone,
I've finally signed up after reading a few threads.
I've used the search function but only found one thread similar to my question, however it didn't answer it for me really...
I'm sort of new to riding, I've only been getting lessons for about half a year now. The mare that I ride next to the gelding I have lessons with, is 6 years old and has been broken in only about 1 and a half year ago. She's lovely, however she can be a pain when riding her.
Due to the weather and no indoor-option to ride her, work and uni-applications, I wasn't able to do much work with her. Now I want to start again, with some groundwork.
The problem with her is that she keeps tossing her head. I watched the girl who broke her in doing groundwork with her, and she didn't do it with her, so I guess she's just playing with me. But I've also watched her running around on the field on her own(well, with the other horses) and she tosses her head there too! How can I stop her from doing it when I work with her ? I've seen people using a tie down, but unless I saddle her up, I won't have anything to fix the tie down thing... Are there any other ways to fix that ?
Thanks for your answers !
     
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    02-01-2011, 05:44 AM
  #2
Foal
Horses can be silly sometimes are you sure it's to much?
     
    02-01-2011, 06:14 AM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradels    
Horses can be silly sometimes are you sure it's to much?
When I ride her she's fine walkin. When I go into a trot it's when she starts being silly. Which is fine by me, I know they are not machines, but she does it constantly which makes it hard for me to keep her under control. She seems to be reluctant to work sometimes. I wondered if she doesn't like the bit, but as I said, she's fine with the girl who broke her in and rode her till like half a year.
When I do groundwork with her she starts working with me, after a while she starts tossing her head and not doing anything I want her to.
I just learned that she shouldn't toss her head, that's why I ask...
     
    02-01-2011, 06:46 AM
  #4
Green Broke
Testing you maybe??

Could you ask to have lessons on your mare instead of the gelding?
     
    02-01-2011, 06:55 AM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTree    
Testing you maybe??

Could you ask to have lessons on your mare instead of the gelding?

Yeah I thought that too. The testing bit. Also I started my lessons on her, however we stopped it due to the weather. I can ride the gelding no matter what weather, not the mare though. I'll be having lessons on her in like a month or two, but I don't want to just leave her doing nothing...
     
    02-02-2011, 12:44 AM
  #6
Super Moderator
Mares tend to have more attitude in general and are more expressive about it.
In the horse's language head tossing can be a sign of irritation, impatience, resentment or just feeling high.
Do you have any sense of when and why she might be feeling any of those ?
If the saddle doesn't fit well, when it comes time to trot it will be more apparent to the mare and she'll have feelings about that. OR maybe you aren't as smooth on her mouth as you think you are. If you've only been riding a year and a half, you may still be lacking some finesse there.
If she does this while also slowing down, I would kind of wake her up with a good sharp kick (not punishing, but surprising) and abruptly change her thinking to something else. The minuete she starts head tossing, ask for more forward movement.
I think when ou take a lesson on her, your trainer will give some ffedback. I know it can be very annoying. I used to ride a warmblood who would incessantly shake his head on a trail ride. He was insanely sensitive to the midges and flies, so I had to ride him in a full face (nose too) fly mask for all outdoor riding.
     
    02-02-2011, 02:21 AM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
Mares tend to have more attitude in general and are more expressive about it.
In the horse's language head tossing can be a sign of irritation, impatience, resentment or just feeling high.
Do you have any sense of when and why she might be feeling any of those ?
If the saddle doesn't fit well, when it comes time to trot it will be more apparent to the mare and she'll have feelings about that. OR maybe you aren't as smooth on her mouth as you think you are. If you've only been riding a year and a half, you may still be lacking some finesse there.
If she does this while also slowing down, I would kind of wake her up with a good sharp kick (not punishing, but surprising) and abruptly change her thinking to something else. The minuete she starts head tossing, ask for more forward movement.
I think when ou take a lesson on her, your trainer will give some ffedback. I know it can be very annoying. I used to ride a warmblood who would incessantly shake his head on a trail ride. He was insanely sensitive to the midges and flies, so I had to ride him in a full face (nose too) fly mask for all outdoor riding.
She is a big attitude-mare ! When she's on heat she's basically impossible to ride (for me at least). The saddle is a custom fit, so that shouldn't be a problem ! But I have thought about me making a mistake quiet a lot, as it's my worst fear to do hurt her and not realizing it.
About the 'when' questions, she's done it all the way through the last times.
But even though my teacher wasn't around, I had someone watching me who's been riding for way longer than me and she can't see me doing a mistake. But still, it might be me ! I think I'll have to wait for more lessons on her.
Yesterday I was at the stables though, and she's been nervous for a while, which I put down on her being on heat but I think the other horse she's with is very bullying which makes her a little more aggressive when being ridden or worked with in general. Maybe that's a problem. She's a great horse, I can't wait to work with her more !
Wow, I didn't know full face masks exist ! Thanks everyone for the quick replies !!
     
    02-03-2011, 10:38 PM
  #8
Foal
Hi caballero,

I didn't read anybody else's responses so my apologies if I cover something somebody else already said, but..

I just bought my mare 3 weeks ago and she does exactly the same thing (literally to a T. She's fine walking, but tosses her head when I ask her to do anything else). Hate to say it to you, but she's probably messing with you to see how much she can get away with. It's kind of like throwing a little tantrum! My trainer told me that it's unacceptable behavior. If she throws her head, yank her back into place using the reins. She needs to know that what she is doing will not be tolerated and that you are boss. Also (and sorry if you already know this -- I just want to cover all my bases) if she fights you when you want her to trot or canter, push her ALL THE WAY into the pace you want her at. Don't give up because she's being a pain. That means she wins, and you don't want that. I don't know exactly what movement your mare is making because I can't see it for myself, but what Lil does is she'll turn her head around and kind of get at my lower leg like "I don't want to and you can't make me!" to fix that, I have to use my opposite rein and yank her head back around. After going through that a few times, she stopped. Now she very rarely pulls that move, and if she does, I do the same thing to remind her that it's not okay.

Hope that helps a little! Good luck!
     
    02-03-2011, 10:49 PM
  #9
Weanling
I agree with cascanastargazer, this sounds like it could be a respect issue. She can sense you aren't a weathered rider and wants to see what little behavior quirks she can get away with (all of our 24 horses do that with their riders, even customers).

You need to let her know the behavior isn't going to be tolerated. Pushing her, though, could have its limitations; you want to be safe, so don't push her until she's fussing because you just peed her off!

Also, don't worry about hurting her. These are massive animals and it takes a lot more than us (its normally the gear) to hurt them. If you've ever seen horses play, they often get rough. Their "play blows" could shatter us!

Tiny is also correct. Distract her from the behavior. When I'm behind a kicking mare on the trail and I notice she's showing signs of "a kick is coming," I tell her rider to kick her, turn her a little -- anything except stop her (young children ride this horse, so she gets away with a lot).

For Creampuff and Ben I use the "one rein method," using one rein to pull their nose toward me and then I work them in a few circles (not too many, just 3-5). After a time or two they learn that "x action leads to y boredom." The behavior stops. My co-worker got her horse to stop rearing and whirling using this; now tiny 11-year-olds ride him.

However, you lease this horse. Any training you do, check with the owner. Ask if she's had her teeth floated, if you have to. Some of our horses toss their heads when their teeth are bothering them.

When it comes to horses you have to be concise, consistent, and assertive (not abusive, assertive). Think of it this way:

If you don't understand it, your horse won't understand it. That it why you have to be clear in your cues; don't pull back to stop and kick for "go" at the same time, for example (and it's something I see a lot in my pupils).
     
    02-03-2011, 11:02 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Creampuff    
You need to let her know the behavior isn't going to be tolerated. Pushing her, though, could have its limitations; you want to be safe, so don't push her until she's fussing because you just peed her off!
Hi! Sorry! Love your advice, Creampuff. Just to clarify what I meant by "pushing" -- What I meant is this, for example: Say you ask her to trot, and she starts tossing her head and trots a couple paces and then goes back down to a walk. That's not okay. It's her way of saying "I'm not going to do what you want," which is why you need to get her into a full trot (which is what you asked her for in the first place) and keep her there until YOU decide she can walk again. Whatever you do is fine, and stay within your comfort zone of course, but whatever happens ultimately has to be YOUR decision, not hers (even if you want to stop too--get her speed back up again for even a couple of paces, and THEN let her walk--the point is just to not let it be HER idea). Otherwise, she'll think she's in control ;)
     

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