Gail and "Shaq"(Majicc's mom, Donna, calls him "Micky" because he will eat
> 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
> 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 arched
> (believe me, I've seen him in that position more than once :) -- it's
> more extended, stretched straight out and slightly down, very relaxed.
> He first started doing it about 2 months ago, only after an hour or so of
> heavy work, so I thought maybe he was literally stretching, in which case
> 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 his
> constantly moving mouth :)
> My second thought was maybe it was an indication of some type of pain,
> but I've no idea what. I haven't changed any tack during this time; in
> fact, we've had the same saddle & pad since I bought him, and it seems to
> fit him just fine. There's no back soreness after a ride when I run my
> fingers down his back -- vet at Long Leaf found no back soreness after
> that ride either. Also, he's not swishing his tail or pinning his ears
> back or baring his teeth -- no other indication of discomfort or
> 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 he
> 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 the
> cause? As always, all advice greatly appreciated.
> Glenda & Lakota (25 down, 1000s to go!)