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Horse gallops with a very low head?

This behavior has only recently begun. When I get my horse up to a full gallop, he lowers his head to within a foot of the ground. It is extremely unnerving. I have spoken to the vet and a couple of farriers but no one has any comments on this. Do you?



Hi Adam,

You donít say how long you have had this horse, what sort of bit you are using, your level of equestrian expertise, the type of horse, its age, riding style (discipline), saddle type, the purpose for your galloping around (just flat out running the horse for the kick or is there some plan?), Generally, great riding is not about full galloping very much. For me, good riding is about doing a dance with the horse that is conscious. Most galloping, unless purposeful and conscious on a race course, polo or polo cross field, team penning, cow work, reining, etc. is balls to the wall, unconscious and done simply for a thrill for the human. Horses only do it in the wild when running scared from a predator. I started out as playing polo. There was a reason to gallop during a game. But it was only a 7 minute period and we were not galloping flat out all the time. Anyway, back to your question. If you are merely running around balls to the wall, you are probably out of balance. This could prompt the horse to carry his head low to assist itself in balancing. If you are hanging on to the bit (the horseís mouth), its head is down to help alleviate the discomfort it is feeling from your hands pulling on the reins. If the bit is an incorrect bit for the horse this could be another reason. When it is galloping, its head needs to be carried in a certain way to help it balance. If the bit is incorrect, the horse may simply be trying to carry its head is such a position that the bit itself is not hurting its mouth. Saddle fit is another thing to check out. If the saddle is not fitting correctly it is impeding its natural movement. Too narrow, too short, too long, too wide, not placed correctly on the horseís back, improper pad, girth or any of these equestrian tools not being applied properly could cause the behavior as well. Any pain in the mouth, neck, back. legs or feet can prompt a horse to carry itself in unnatural ways to assist it to not feel the pain so much. Sort of like having a very small pebble in your shoe or even a little tooth ache, makes you walk funny or carry your head in a strange way.

I suggest you check out all the things I have suggested. After you absolutely know all is correct and there is no pain, I would look at how you are riding. I would suggest you school your horse properly for natural collection and proper carriage. Your horse (and you) may have never been schooled in these correct ways of riding. I donít know. I do know that most horses will stick out their necks (noses) to help themselves balance when in gallop. Watch race horses sometimes. Anyway, if you slow down and ride really consciously and well for sometime and school your horse for good rounded carriage and moderate collection, he will go better at any gait. Galloping with its head too low can prompt it to stumble which is very dangerous for you. You can try cantering and if it begins to carry its head below its chest, take one rein and gently BUMP it straight up (not back to your belly), just lightly. This will cue the horse to pick its head up. DO NOT PULL ITS HEAD UP WITH TWO HANDS. Use one rein to intermittently and gently bump the head to a better position. You can try this at a gallop as well, but you give me so little info that I am reluctant to advise you to do anything at a gallop, other than not to do it very much. Appropriately riding/schooling your horse at the trot, canter and then fast canter will be better for you and your horse. Youíll become a better equestrian and your horse will move better too. If you want to have a run after you have schooled your horse for a while, very gradually move the horse up to a gallop as gently and consciously as you can. But only after some good solid schooling for both of you.

I appreciate all donations. But I do not require them to respond to a question. The donation page (payment portal) works securely and just fine. I hope you do not get offended by my comments. By not providing additional and more complete information, it is difficult to advise you. So, I have taken a very general approach from the little info you have provided. Good luck and be careful and as thoughtful and considerate of your horse as you can. Let the animalís well-being safety and health be the big agenda (also that he trusts you). Galloping around should actually be low on your priority list if you are a serious and caring equestrian. If you are merely a thrill seeker, get a motorcycle. No offense.

Sincerely, Franklin

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