Head tossing, not relaxing, keeping head up - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-09-2019, 04:16 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2019
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Exclamation Head tossing, not relaxing, keeping head up

Hi!

I rode Ninja today and it was a bit of a disaster. I'm stumped as to what happened. Here is what happened:
1) Flicked his nose up - wasn't trying to pull the reins away or anything. Has been happening occasionally the past few weeks but I hadn't given it much thought
2) Kept his head up while trotting no matter how much work I did with him. Normally he brings it down after a while - didn't happen today
3) Would only relax at a loose/long rein walk. As soon as I picked the reins up to trot, he'd tense up again

My dad thinks it might be his wolf teeth coming in (not sure if that's exactly what he said, I've never had a young horse before so I'm not sure) It could also be because it was getting dark, he's only been ridden in the dark (with lights on but still) 3 times before and all of those were with the instructor. I doubt it's the bridle because I haven't done anything to change it.

I'd also like to think it wasn't because I was pulling because I was extra careful with my hands and not to pull today, because the last lesson I had been gripping with my inside rein.

Does anyone have any ideas? I'm going to ask my instructor as soon as I can, but I had plans to ride at a trail with some friends tomorrow, and I want to see if there's anything I can do tomorrow to help. If he's still not getting better though, I won't ride him of course. I don't want him to be uncomfortable!

Thank you in advance! I can try to give more information if it's needed!

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post #2 of 10 Old 06-09-2019, 06:27 AM
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Could be a range of things, but my first port of call would be the dentist. Teeth &/or bit probs sound a likely cause.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-09-2019, 06:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Could be a range of things, but my first port of call would be the dentist. Teeth &/or bit probs sound a likely cause.
He is due for the dentist soon - my dad did a quick check but of course that doesn't replace the real thing. He's just got a normal snaffle and hasn't had any problems with it in the year we've used it on him. I don't know if there's anything that can cause a bit to suddenly start hurting/irritating them? Thanks for your imput!

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post #4 of 10 Old 06-09-2019, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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Oh and I also wanted to mention: he's being eating all of his food, opened his mouth for the bit, was fine in contact at the walk.

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post #5 of 10 Old 06-09-2019, 10:16 AM
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Could be saddle fit, teeth, could be sore from playing in the field...Check his back for soreness. If hes young his shape could be changing causing saddle to not fit as it used to.
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-09-2019, 10:23 AM
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Wolf teeth appear before a year old. They are located close to the molars and may or may not have a small space between them and the molar (back of the mouth). Usually only the upper will erupt. removal should be done early to prevent the root from developing and fusing to bone in the jaw (normal) as they age. The typically do not interfere with the bit. In males (and a few females) canines can come in close to the incisors (front of the mouth) and again these may or may not cause a problem. I would imagine them coming in can cause temporary discomfort in some horses. If your horse has them they typically come in at 5 years. Removal of these or wolf teeth once fused is major surgery.



It could still be your hands. dusexx "Would only relax at a loose/long rein walk. As soon as I picked the reins up to trot, he'd tense up again"
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-09-2019, 10:47 AM
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He does sound uncomfortable and that he's fine at a walk tells me it's probably a physical thing (either something is bothering him or you are bothering him physically when trotting). He's young and growing and changing. If he's due soon anyways I would push the dentist appointment up. Maybe your instructor can help look him over. Not riding is always safest but if he seems fine I don't see any harm with a light ride or two.
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-09-2019, 12:21 PM
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Depending what you mean by flicking the nose up, it could be bugs/allergies/photosensitivity.


Sound like this is something in the making, likely your riding. If you ride with your pinkies looped in a neckstrap, or pushed into the neck, does he react differently?
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-10-2019, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Just a quick update! I did end up going on the ride. He was already doing a lot better when we arrived. We started out in the arena, and while we didn't get to do a tonne of work in there, he was already relaxing a lot more than he was yesterday - which surprised me, considering he was both at a new place and with a new horse. Although he did have one of his pasture buddies with him.

When we went on the trail ride, he was so good. He had maybe two nervous moments, one where he spooked at a horse and another where a tree fell down. Other than that, he was incredible. We did end up cantering a couple times and he went fine - wasn't lame, didn't trip, etc.

We're still going to get the dentist out earlier, but I do think that it was for other reasons he was so tense yesterday. My first guess would be that he was alone - he is always a lot more tense when he's riding alone, it was just that I was a lot more worried yesterday because of the other symptoms. I would also say he might be getting a bit arena sour - just a guess, I'll see how he is tomorrow, but he looked a lot happier out on the trail.

I'm going to get some more lessons alone, just to get him used to not having his friends. Thanks for all your advice! I'll still check out what you all advised if he doesn't improve.

((Also it could have been my hands as well - I rode him loose reined most of the time today))
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-10-2019, 10:06 AM
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He is young and green, there are so many factors to take into play. Could be he was tense at a walk too and just showed it more at a trot? I'm glad he's doing better and he's lucky to have someone who is willing and able to pick apart problems so well! Sounds like you have a good plan!
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