ridecamp@endurance.net: RE: stretching neck & head while trotting

RE: stretching neck & head while trotting

JERRY BARFIELD (barfield@primenet.com)
Mon, 8 Dec 1997 15:00:32 -0700

Glenda, I would not worry about Lakota's new habit, unless he does it =
so much as to make you uncomfortable. Just so you don't feel alone, my =
horse SA Dust Devil+/, who has over 2500 competition miles without a =
sore back or other mechanical lameness does the same thing, although it =
is usually only a couple of times and after 3 or 4 miles of a =
conditioning ride. Since I don't notice it during a competition, I =
think it is just a way of relieving the tension of a boring conditioning =
ride down the same old road. Good luck.

Jerry Barfield
Southwind Arabians

From: Glenda R. Snodgrass[SMTP:grs@theneteffect.com]
Sent: Monday, December 08, 1997 5:43 AM
To: Ridecamp
Subject: stretching neck & head while trotting=20

Lakota has picked up a new habit over the last couple of months that has =

me completely mystified. I've never seen another horse do this, and no=20
one at my barn has either.

It happens most often while trotting, though he sometimes does it at a
walk or canter. He will stretch his head out and down, nose out, as if =
were stretching his neck (or maybe sniffing the ground like my dog does =
-- stretch, release, stretch, release. It's not at all the
head-down-ready-to-buck position, which is nose tucked in and neck =
(believe me, I've seen him in that position more than once :) -- it's =
more extended, stretched straight out and slightly down, very relaxed.=20

He first started doing it about 2 months ago, only after an hour or so =
heavy work, so I thought maybe he was literally stretching, in which =
it's a good thing for him to do and I should allow it. However, he's
gotten to where he does it quite often now, and frankly it's a bit
irritating, because I have to constantly adjust my arms to accomodate =
constantly moving mouth :) =20

My second thought was maybe it was an indication of some type of pain,=20
but I've no idea what. I haven't changed any tack during this time; in=20
fact, we've had the same saddle & pad since I bought him, and it seems =
fit him just fine. There's no back soreness after a ride when I run my=20
fingers down his back -- vet at Long Leaf found no back soreness after=20
that ride either. Also, he's not swishing his tail or pinning his ears=20
back or baring his teeth -- no other indication of discomfort or=20
displeasure. I've tried both loose reins and more contact on the bit, =
that doesn't affect the 'stretching' at all.

So now I'm wondering whether it's just a nervous tic of some sort that =
has acquired to make our rides more interesting <g>, in which case I can =

make him stop it.

Has anyone else ever seen this, or have any ideas about what could be =
cause? As always, all advice greatly appreciated.

Glenda & Lakota (25 down, 1000s to go!)

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