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

Re: stretching neck & head while trotting

Eric & Gail Hought (hought@humboldt1.com)
Mon, 8 Dec 1997 23:16:37 -0800

had to jump in on this one, because apparently lots of riders experience
this with their horses. My horse, "Shaq" does this, but only when his
riding buddy Majicc is up ahead and out of sight. I've always thought he
does because he's smelling for him. He has proven to be really good at
following a trail of unseen horses(I assume by smell). He doesn't do if we
ride together or within sight of each other. At one ride I was puzzled
because he wasn't doing it and I thought Majicc was up ahead, but as it
turned out he was behind us. He usually does it mostly in the first 15 or
20 miles. Maybe by that time he figures out that I'm real tried of this.
I have never gotten the impression that he was stretching his neck. Has
anyone else felt their horses were smelling the trail?

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!)

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