The Horse Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,225 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My TB puts his head down and stretches a lot, especially when I'm riding. I know it's a good thing and my trainer told me to reward it, which I do, but he does it constantly. It's usually at the trot and he stretches way down to the ground about every ten seconds or so, and it goes on for the whole ride some days. Should I let him stretch as much as he wants? I can't really do much when his nose is all the way to the ground.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,740 Posts
it could turn into him leaning on the reins, leaning on the forehand or evading. he might start to realize you release when he stretches so he does it all the time. does he do it when your trying to do something with him? or just when you are plodding along?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
My horse does this too. I don't really know what to do about it. I heard it is supposed to be good, but it gets annoying sometimes when he is doing it so often. Hope someone smarter than me answers. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,061 Posts
Read "Reasons for reaching down" in Horse Training.

There are some tips there.

But
Get a physiothereapist to check the back
Try a change of bit - go softer if you can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,061 Posts
Sorry I pressed the wrong key

My horse reaches down too -
it could be
nervousness,
a sore back - feel for soft spots and look for marks
a badly fitting saddle - have it checked by a professional
tooth ache - when were the teeth last rasped?
the wrong bit - try a lighter one - try a Myler
a badly fitting bit - move it up?
does the horse salivate?
Holding the reins too rigidly
Holding the reins too loosely so the horse reaches for the bit - ( that's if you ride long and low)

Tips, let somebody else ride the horse and watch. See if they get the same effect.

It will become more and more annoying for you. Try to find an answer,

No it is not normal - there must be a reason. Problem is you have to look for it.

B G
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,740 Posts
Most horses ive seen do this are just plain evading you. The rider even teaches them how, with the release of pressure. Stretching is fine, when you ask for it, but otherwise it is not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,249 Posts
My pony does that.But ONLY when we ride down a certain dirt road.Its her way of rebelling and its really annoying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
I agree, sounds like he's trying to relieve some kind of discomfort.
That or avoiding hard work...
He may have learnt that by stretching he gets rewarded and can just pull the reins out of your hand and avoid working up into the bridle or other hard work you are asking of him.
He needs to learn he can stretch when you allow or ask him to and not when it suits him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Have you already thought about a neck problem? when is the last time you had a vet or bone doctor(not sure about correct term) to check and maybe pop in his bones or something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,193 Posts
You should only allow them to stretch when YOU ask them to. Sounds like he's just evading pressure though. Kick him in the guts and make him bring his head up the little ******! I only ask for them to stretch when I am warming up or down, in the middle of the ride when I walk as well I'll drop my reins and ask the horse to stretch out, but when you're trying to work them pulling their head down to evade is not on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,193 Posts
Have you already thought about a neck problem? when is the last time you had a vet or bone doctor(not sure about correct term) to check and maybe pop in his bones or something.
Everyone jumps straight to soreness somewhere with issues like this!! I personally don't think there's much of a soundness issue with this horse, sounds to be more of an evasion IMO. If it was a mouth/head issue, you'd certainly know about it, VERY rarely is a horse going to strech down and push into the bit. It is going to go around with it's head stuck up, or it's going to suck back from the contact, not stretch into it. Same with a back or neck that is out, a horse with a bad bad is most certainly not willing to stretch their back and neck out, they are going to step short behind and have a very tense back, and unwilling to relax. I really don't think this horse is sore unless to OP cares to explain a little more when this problem is happening and if it is accompanied by any other behaviour.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
I agree that its a form of evasion. My lease pony does that to me sometimes, he drops his head so much it actually feels like he's pulling me out of the saddle. He's evading work and gets lazy and tries to get me to carry him. My instructor gets me to do half halts to pull his head up but also use some leg to keep him moving forward. Hope that helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,061 Posts
regarding DiDI and reaching down
Well. we have come to the end of a three pronged attack on the mystery of the persistent reaching down.

1/ We had the saddle refitted and the front end stuffed so that the saddle sits just that little bit more level. The rider is not being tilted
fore and down.

2/ We bought a 5 inch Myler snaffle bit at ginormous expense. She is easier with it than the previous 5'5 French Link.

3/ We called the horse physio and she found two sensitive areas - one up by on the shoulder blades where it seems there was some time ago a slight tear either as a result of her running about and turning too quickly
or
a horse bite. There was an incident last March and this could be scar tissue from it

3b There is a lump back up by her sacrum - perhaps the legacy from a fall earlier in her life. Massage it deeply and DiDi goes all mooney and she wiggles her butt. She loved the massage.


4/ There is an imbalance between the level of muscle on the left side and the right side. She needs building up a bit on the weaker side.

Overall the Physio gave her some massages and some heat treatments.


5/ The vet whilst given her the annual anti flu jab felt the scar tissue and said: "there is no problem now but, repeat, but - it might have been a painful area whilst the tear was healing."

So, if it was painful and she got used to reaching down to ease it, then maybe it became a habit.


But who now cares - for the last three days - she hasn't stretched down.


So - cross fingers - we have found it.

Now if she starts it again, then just maybe I'll believe she is being cussed. But if she wants to be cussed then there are loads of other ways of being cussed - why would she only be cussed in this respect?


If she was in pain, then she was telling me by reaching down - and for sure I had to listen and if necessary give her the benefit of the doubt.

Now, how much of this all applies to your horse, I don't know. But sorting out what might be wrong is a pain in the neck for the rider especially if there are several possible causes. The easy way out is to say "The horse is being cussed". But the longer the horse keeps reaching down the more likely it is going to become a habit and then that really is a problem - you'll have the equivalent of a nervous tick and for no curable reason.

After what I have learned with my own horse I'd say:
Check and re check.
Allow the horse specifically at regular intervals to reach down during the ride especially if you ride on collected reins.
Don't ruin the mouth by trying to stop the reaching and jerking the bit.

And try to make a record of exactly when she reaches.

No specialist is going to say : "I have found the cause" but one day if you persist in looking for the answers she might just stop reaching

B G

Written with fingers crossed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,225 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Everyone jumps straight to soreness somewhere with issues like this!! I personally don't think there's much of a soundness issue with this horse, sounds to be more of an evasion IMO. If it was a mouth/head issue, you'd certainly know about it, VERY rarely is a horse going to strech down and push into the bit. It is going to go around with it's head stuck up, or it's going to suck back from the contact, not stretch into it. Same with a back or neck that is out, a horse with a bad bad is most certainly not willing to stretch their back and neck out, they are going to step short behind and have a very tense back, and unwilling to relax. I really don't think this horse is sore unless to OP cares to explain a little more when this problem is happening and if it is accompanied by any other behaviour.
Yeah, that's what I was thinking. He definitely wouldn't be reaching into the bit if his mouth hurt. I don't think anything is hurting him because he's pretty intolerant of discomfort and he throws a fit if something's wrong.

I have him in a jointed copper D-ring, and he's gone really well in it for the past year or so. It's just in the past couple months that he's been stretching excessively, and it's usually only at a working trot. He stretches normally on the lunge line and he rarely does it at the walk or canter. The last time I rode him was when it really started to bother me. We were trotting for most of the lesson and he was very forward and seemed perfectly happy to keep going. We had had really bad weather at the time and he'd been in his stall for a couple days, so I was thinking he might have just been stretching because it felt good to get some exercise. He behaved perfectly (except for the stretching thing), so I don't think he was in any pain. I think it he might have been trying to evade the bit, but that doesn't make complete sense since he seemed to really enjoy the workout. He's so confusing.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top