Question: I would love to see a post from a horseman’s perspective explaining the difference between a horses head down (exhibiting “tension release”) and the similar stance when they are “sulking.”
Martin’s Answer: If you just look at a photo of each situation, they may look similar. But the big difference would be the action leading up to this point and the expression and body language performed at the point the picture was taken.
For a horse to be sulking, they would have experienced a certain level of stress and frustration and not finding relief from the pressure situation.
Tension relief, would be just the opposite. The horse experienced a certain amount of pressure, mental or physical, and found relief and so now they can relax and be content. Often in situations like this their head is up and their neck muscles tense. When they find comfort from the stress they stretch their neck and jaw to get more comfort.