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Discussion Starter #1
Hi ... I am a novice rider. Been riding a little since 2006. I'm not a young girl ... late 40s. This one horse I've ridden pretty much exclusively since 2006 is great. Although she has a strange habit (?)

When we are in the ring and trotting, all is fine. When I urge her to gallop she hesitates, drops her head to the ground (or as close as she can get ... but it's ALL the way down) and then THROWS her head back and then gallops. What??? Is this just a behavior? Is her vision impaired? It's all good from there until I tell her to stop or whatever. Just curious ... and I'm not a good enough rider to know what's going on. Thanks! :lol:
 

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Sounds like to me that she's uncomfortable in her hind end for the canter departure, and that she's moving her head that way because she pulls herself into the canter on her front end.

The way you phrased your post makes me think you don't own this horse - is there a way you can ask the owner what she thinks the behavior is?

If it were my horse, first I would ask the farrier if she's stiff or uncomfortable when he trims her hind feet. If he said yes, I might give her a little bute and see if that changes her way of going, and then I might have the vet look at her. But that's me; and if it were my horse.

Anyway you could post photos or a video clip?
 

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Maura, you're right. I don't own Gina. I have asked her owner and he just said ... "that's just her way". Actually I first asked the owner if Gina had a vision problem, and he said "NO ... she certainly sees me coming to get her for trail rides!" ... Gina's about 15 or 16. She is SMART. She is a GOOD horse ... but she isn't in to ANY kind of nicety. I'll feed her apples and carrots ... she LOVES them. Then she'll bite me ... just so I know she isn't going soft. She kicks and bites other horses. She rubs her sweaty head on other horse's butts on trail ridges ... but if anyone gets too close to her ... watch out ... she kicks. She will WAIT (if the last horse behind her) is trailing too far behind, she'll wait 'til ther close so she can kick them. Then I put her at THE BACK of the train of horses and she HATES that. She likes being the lead. OK ... so I know this ornery girl. But she's a GREAT horse. Hope someone out there gets that. Mariel
 

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Welcome to the forum!

It sounds like that is a horse who has had no discipline or training. That kind of behavior is totally unacceptable at my place or with any of the people I ride with. I understand that she isn't your horse so you are limited in what you can do about it also that you are a novice rider, but, with all that baggage, how is she a wonderful horse? What does she do on the positive side?
 

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iridehorses: She is smart, she is alert and listens and is very aware of her surroundings. She has heart, she is stubborn ... sometimes in a goodway ... as in she'll haul my a** up a hill. In the ring, she'll do what I ask. She is REALLY sure footed ... slid down a hill of loose rock/shale. Never stumbled, never trips, I think she's a great horse.

Her owner has told me over and over and over ... NOT FOR A SECOND do you let Gina get her way. I have let her get her way and I've seen what happens and what she does.
Riders were getting on their horses for a trail ride. I was up first, Gina wanted to walk down the hill ... what's the harm? What's the big deal? I let her walk down the hill. Well ... it took A LOT of effort to get her back UP the hill when the ride was going to start. She didn't want to go where the other horses were going, she wanted to go her way. It was another trail. I got her up and headed the right way ... but I saw immediately what the owner meant.
 

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LOL :D

Give them an inch and they'll take a mile and a half. Sounds like you answered your own question. You gave her an inch. You need to ride a horse like this and not just be a passenger. You need to be proactive and anticipate her. You need to "feel" this horse and know what each movement means and absolutely never give her an inch. She sounds like she is taking advantage of you and not that she has a vision problem. Does she have a canter departure problem (I'm assuming that you mean canter and not gallop) when her owner or someone else rides her?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm sure you're right ... canter, not gallop. I don't know if she does that with anyone else. I did ask her owner about it ... but all he said was 'it's her way'.

I completely understand and agree with you. I have ridden Gina MUCH better in the ring than on the trail. I am surprised Gina is a trail horse with children and adults alike riding her. Oh well ... it's not my business and it's none of my business. : ? )
 

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Welcome !!
Have you observed how she transitions to a canter in the pasture without a rider? Does she do the same thing on a lunge line or free lunging in the arena?
 

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Chances are that this horse could be a little awkward with where she places her during the transition. Some horses concentrate so completely on what their rider is doing that they find it difficult when it comes to changing pace. I have a horse like that. He concentrates so much on what I'm doing that he forgets where he's putting his feet. There's nothing wrong with his paces or transitions on the ground. Just with a rider and going from trot to canter, as it is a difficult transition.
As you said your horse is very sure footed, check the hindquarter muscles, she could have difficulty pushing herself forward, hence the head thing. I think someone's already mentioned this.

That's just some suggestions. In the end, there could be nothing wrong with her, it's just how she does things. I have a horse who holds his neck waaay up in air. Not for any particular reason, that's just the way he learnt to do things when he was younger. If it just seems odd (isn't pain) and doesn't worry you, then you're probably best leaving her as is. She's probably perfectly happy doing it, even if it seems unusual. =)
 

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From your post it sounds like you are cueing the canter from the trot. I would do it from the walk and see if that makes a difference.

I never give my horses treats as it makes them bite. I had a nieghbor that kept feeding mine apples and I only knew because the horse started biting. They kept denying it until I caught them. The horse quit biting once the treats stopped. If you must give them treats put it in a bucket or on the ground not from your hand. I was at a stable were the owner kept giving her horses carrots and it would snap at you when you walked by it stall that was open at the top half. I told her it was going to bite someone and she said no way would it ever bite someone. Well about an hour later it picked me up off the ground by the shoulder. I could barely drive home and was lucky that I didn't have a serious injury. She now has the top of the stall not open.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
WOW ... did it break the skin? I had no idea it could CAUSE biting. Yes, when I am out of apples or carrots, Gina will pull at my shirt looking for more treats. AND ... this is only a funny thing ... I feed her carrots first and when the apples come out ... she literally SPITS out the carrots in her mouth so she can have the apples. Obviously her favorite.

Hmmm...good to know it causes biting. I am foolish around ALL animals. Many of the stable horses, I break a carrot in two, I take the really big piece and put it in my mouth and have the horses eat it from my mouth. I think it's a great trick ... YES the owners have cautioned me not to get bit .... I've been luck so far. NO, I have NEVER done this with Gina and I won't.

On the original topic ... I have never seen Gina run in a pasture or a lunge, so I don't know if she does her head thing then. Yes, we do transition from trot to canter. And overall, it could just be 'her' thing. I just thought it pretty odd.

Thank you ... I really appreciate all the info. I won't ride her again until spring/summer. We live in Idaho and the ring they let me use is open and exposed to the elements.
 

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WOW ... did it break the skin? I had no idea it could CAUSE biting. Yes, when I am out of apples or carrots, Gina will pull at my shirt looking for more treats. AND ... this is only a funny thing ... I feed her carrots first and when the apples come out ... she literally SPITS out the carrots in her mouth so she can have the apples. Obviously her favorite.

Hmmm...good to know it causes biting. I am foolish around ALL animals. Many of the stable horses, I break a carrot in two, I take the really big piece and put it in my mouth and have the horses eat it from my mouth. I think it's a great trick ... YES the owners have cautioned me not to get bit .... I've been luck so far. NO, I have NEVER done this with Gina and I won't.

On the original topic ... I have never seen Gina run in a pasture or a lunge, so I don't know if she does her head thing then. Yes, we do transition from trot to canter. And overall, it could just be 'her' thing. I just thought it pretty odd.

Thank you ... I really appreciate all the info. I won't ride her again until spring/summer. We live in Idaho and the ring they let me use is open and exposed to the elements.
I had a knot on my shoulder about the size of a baseball. I couldn't lift my arm to drive home and I was 3 hours away so did everything 1 armed. I was lucky I know people that it ripped ligiments and they had to have surgery.
 
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