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The tack room

Head tossing

4 replies

MyLifeNow20 · 27/02/2022 20:30

Hi. I have a rescue pony that ive had for 18 months now, she is lovely but she head shakes/ tosses when we hack.
She starts off fine and after about half an hour she throws her head around, up and down, drops her head really quickly down so I feel like I have no control. When my friend has watched her while im riding she says its like shes trying to get her tongue over the bit.
In the summer I have a nose net on her due to allergies but I am tempted to put it back on her,
She is in a snaffle bit. I have got used to her behavior but it does get annoying and wondered if anyone had any other advice, thanks!

OP posts:
Lastqueenofscotland · 28/02/2022 09:24

Have you had her teeth looked at?

maxelly · 28/02/2022 09:42

Was just going to suggest teeth! Def get the dentist out to look at her, maybe physio also and perhaps a bit/bridle fitter - we all (hopefully) know the importance now of a properly fitted saddle but increasingly it seems as though bridle and bit fit are important too, it may be the bridle is putting pressure on her somewhere that's bothering her, some horses go amazingly well in a micklem or other 'specialist' bridle... If the net helps also then for sure put it on as well.

Does she only do it hacking or in the school as well - interesting you say she starts after about half an hour, is this when you usually turn for home or does she always start at the 30 min mark regardless of where you are in the hack? Pretty common for horses to start to get keen when they know they are heading towards home even if you always do circular routes and vary up the length/route - it seems quite likely there's something going on physically with your mare but if it did turn out to be behavioural I've had some bouncy/over excitable/PITA hackers in the past and the answer always was to really 'ride' them every step of the way, so insist on a proper contact, ride leg to hand, responsive to light aids, lots of transitions and lateral work where safe to do so, make them concentrate on you basically just as you would in the school, it's annoying because it's easier and more pleasant for everyone to just potter along on a loose rein and enjoy yourself but sometimes needs must, one of mine would usually settle after 10-15 mins good solid 'work' and could then be allowed to stretch and relax, another had to be ridden like that pretty much from the second his hooves touched ground outside the yard until he was back in his stable, so exciting did he find the world at large (he wasn't dangerous as in a bolter or broncer but would be bouncing all over the road, jumping shadows/speed bumps, spooking at anything that moved so not great around traffic or with another horse that could be wound up by his antics so had to be prevented one way or another).

Pleasedontdothat · 28/02/2022 12:52

My dd’s newish mare was very fussy with the contact when we first got her. After going through what felt like a whole tack shop’s worth of bits we discovered that she loves a Pelham 🤷‍♀️ She is light as anything, beautifully responsive and is a joy to ride. This isn’t terribly helpful right now as she can’t compete in a double bridle yet but it’s good to know for the future! We also discovered that she gets bored really quickly so if she’s doing what she considers to be boring basics she’ll start fussing with the bit and head tossing but if my daughter gives her something to think about then she just gets on with it - so their lateral work is improving hugely. They end up doing quite a lot of schooling on hacks as well. Fortunately she loves competing so as soon as she’s at an event she’s hyper-focused and never does it. We had teeth etc all checked and all good, she’s just a very busy, quite intense character and you have to be ‘on it’ all the time!

Leafytrees · 03/03/2022 19:05

I ride one who does this if your hands aren't still enough and with any bit but a pelham as she also likes the bit to be still. You can get hanging cheek snaffles with a straight mouthpiece though which I imagine would be similar.

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