Head tossing is a very common problem for a lot of Horses and can happen for a variety of reasons and all usually related to pain and when the horse under saddle tosses his/her head we have to worry and look for the reason.
Pain could be coming from anywhere like body,mouth,teeth ,ears,back,foot,legs,from the bridle, saddle for example most people think the bit is for stopping a Horse and if the Horse wont stop they will go to a heavier bit , Horse mouth is just as sensitive as ours is and thats why when we set the Horse FREE there is no more HEAD TOSSING or SHAKING they always want to get away from what ever hearting them.
If we observe carefully we will see some would LEAN on the Reins to gain their balance and proper position not knowing we are LEANING on the SENSITIVE MOUTH.
The only time when a Horse is free and he/she is tossing they are telling us something which is mostly pain related.
Some times you see the Horse is standing and there is no pain but he/she is tossing the head this could be from excess energy , if I give my Horse Grain and do not ride and exercise him/her they would just toss their head up when I work them out or cut off the grain the head tossing will stop.
Most of the rough handlers hit the Horse in the HEAD thats why there are many headshy and ear sensitive.
If we can eliminate pain as a possible cause the behavior is HABITUAL. To modify habitual behavior provide consequence for the unwanted behavior. A great consequence for Horse is movement (work). I suggest trying hind quarter leg yields the moment he/she begins tossing the head. He/She will learn if he/she tosses the head has to pay the consequence and that consequence is to work harder.
A question from one of my friends about the HORSE EARS WONT ALLOW TOUCHING THEM:Something wrong with the ears Nich you should find out what , this could end up to a very bad situation , dose she bring her head down when shaking the ears or she keeps her head up or she keeps the head normally?
Is there any possibility of some how water going inside the ears?
Can you halter her? would she let you to do so?
When she shakes dose she have halter on if yes take the halter off and see how she reacts.
Where dose she sleep ? is it clean environment?
Dose she try to rub the ears against anywhere?
Can you work on her ears if I tell you how to do it and how to take first steps so she would let you to look inside the ears without any kind of force so if the vet would come she would let you go near her ears and touch them.
Are you saying there is nothing wrong with the ears or not are you sure you must be sure, if not do not do anything until some Doc (Vet) would see and examine your Horse.
The firs way or step:
could you touch the ear and do nothing and step pack in five steps?
The horse will realize that you touched her ears and nothing happened.
Do this for sometime touch the ears and step back so the Horse will realize no harm done to the ear.if this would end up to what you want then its OK.but if not do the 2nd step.
Could you find something that you could cover her eyes completely and Desensitize the ears?
How to Desensitize?
1-Rub very gently each ear until there is no reaction in the ear or the Horse you will feel it your self when the ear is Desensitized but if done less instead of Desensitizing it will be Sensitized so be very careful what you do and how long you do it , do not put your finger inside the ear for the first time.
2-After you are sure that the ears are Desensitized start touching the inside but very very gently (in this case you have to be sure by VET that there is nothing wrong with ears) and Desensitize the inside of the both ears until there is no reaction from the Horse.
Always be careful,