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Head Tossing Behavior on left lead only

Hi Franklin!

I found your site while looking for information on head tossing.

I have a 4 year old filly that has developed a nasty habit of head tossing on the left lead canter departure. She picks up the lead easily and beautifully and then raises her nose to the point where there is no rein control at all. When I ride it through she will eventually bring her head down but does not seem relaxed at all. There is absolutely no problem going the other way. She has also started pushing out her nose (same lead) at a trot almost like she is evading her bit - 0 Ring Snaffle.

I have had her teeth floated and checked with a certified equine dentist. She has regular farrier work and does not give any evidence of lameness. I am using the same saddle I always have so fit does not appear to be a problem.

I am concerned that this is her idea of trying to get out of working on her less balanced side. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this?

Many thanks, Anne

Hi Anne,

Try working her to the left on the ground for a while. Short line and long line longeing and even ground driving to the left a lot. Of course you will work to the right as well. But, the goal would be to soften and actually attempt to make that side stronger through easy but very consistent work to the left. As that side got stronger I would gradually increase the tone of the work to the left, all the while looking for balance between the two sides. Horses learn on one side of their brain and then have to learn it on the other side as a separate issue. Taking a horse back to a basic training exercise as I am suggesting, helps to make it safe for them to move up to a higher level over time.

Good Luck and please keep me posted.
Sincerely, Franklin

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