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Head nodding and tossing gelding

Dear Franklin,

I have just spent 3 hours reading questions and answers, that you have provided for horse lovers. I am very impressed but the time and effort that you spend on every question. I want thank you for providing a place where we can some answers.

If I may I would like to venture a question.

I have a wonderful 7 year old Morgan gelding. Over the last 2 months he has developed the of habit of nodding and throwing his head. He throws his head with or without headgear or bit. I lung him - he tosses his head, I put in the round pen, he listens, walks, trots, stops, but he throws his head. Its almost as if he saying, "I'm doing what your asking, but I am not happy." When I am in the saddle and we are in a trot, it goes fine for 1st 20 min and then he will start nodding and throwing his head. This last week I have trainer work with him and after working and playing hard he discontinue this behavavior.

Now, I wonder if it is the level of trust or dislike he has for me. I have never mistreated him, if anything I am guilty of babying him. I used to give him treats every time I saw him and he got pretty demanding, now after reading your advise of this issue, I have stopped.

Any insight we be very much appreciated


Hi Rachel,

It has nothing to do with the horse liking you or not. I would have the horses teeth checked to first rule out anything physical that would cause him pain. This is the first place to look. Next, some horses naturally throw their heads about. Arabians are prone to snaking their heads a lot as are some other breeds. As it seemed your horse stopped or lessened this behavior after he was worked a while, it could be related to having excess energy. If the horse is not being worked much, do not give grain, only hay. If you grain a horse that is not being worked you create an excess of energy within the horse's body that will come as movement you do not want. If there is no grain in the horse's diet and it still does this in the absence of any pain issues as well, I would simply provide more appropriate exercise both on the ground and under saddle. Please keep me posted. Best of Luck to you......

Sincerely, Franklin

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