Why Does My Horse Toss His Head?

My horse often tosses his head to one side when I am riding him. It is very annoying and i'm also worried if he has a health complaint. What could be causing this?

You did the right thing investigating this issue, not only for the horse’s health, but also because in extreme cases head tossing can be dangerous when riding. First of all, check your horse’s riding equipment. Check to see that the bit fits comfortably in the horse’s mouth. Any problem with the fit of the bit can cause mouth discomfort and head tossing. An improperly fitted saddle that is pinching your horse’s back can also cause a number of unwanted behaviors including head tossing. Be aware however, that replacing equipment to solve the problem may just hide the actual problem. For example, the reason a bit may not be comfortable mat be because of your own riding skill or behavior.

Teeth problems such as uncomfortable hooks and edges can make holding a bit very uncomfortable. If you have investigated every other option, it is worth having your horse’s teeth checked. This is recommended in any case every 6 to 12 months. Some horses also toss their head because of insect irritation, which can be physical or mental.