constant trotting, tossing head in pasture

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constant trotting, tossing head in pasture

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  • Horse behavior tossing head in pasture
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    04-03-2012, 09:51 PM
constant trotting, tossing head in pasture

Hello. My horse has suddenly developed strange behavior. I am unsure what it means.

She is a 25 yr old Appaloosa mare. She is in a field with six other mares. Yesterday and today she has started agitated head tossing, then randomly trotting off by herself. She pays no attention to the other horses. She trots out about a 100 yards, stops for a few minutes, then repeats. She will keep this up for hours. She'll stop for 10 minutes or so and eat out of the hay feeder, then start up again. The pattern seems to be the head tossing first, then the trotting. She's normally a lazy old horse so this behavior is completely out of character.

She is not sweating or acting as if she has colic. She's stabled at night - she ate up her hay and her stall was normal this morning. She was on bute for five days for a sprained fetlock - the last bute dose was Monday morning and this behavior started Monday afternoon. She's been on bute before and not behaved like this.

Has anyone had any experience with this sort of behavior?

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    04-04-2012, 02:01 AM
I have to say, that is REALLY strange especially from a seasoned lady. Okay, this is my total disclaimer that I am not a vet nor try/want to be one. But here is my two cents!

I have seen something similar, but not the same, in three instances.

One - horse had back problems. Acted like a total freak, lots of tossing of the head and being agitated. Just random acts that made you think he was an idiot. Later found his back was totally screwed up from a spring/summer full of intense jumping couples with constantly swatting at flies. He was in pain and angry

Two - horse was acting really weird when off of bute. Was on bute for a week and acted really out of character when he came off of it - like he was 'withdrawling.' Big burly WB, so theres no way we overdosed him. Just acting cranky, tossing head, pawing, and got over it in about two days. I guess its possible they're like us - you go on 800mg ibuprofen, a bit of pain killers for an injury, and the few days you come off it you are a little *irritated*

Three - Insects. Most horses get used to the constant swatting but a couple get really angry about it. Bees make some horses really mad, ESPECIALLY MARES IN HEAT. Is it that time of the year? :)

Are you sure she isn't reacting to any of the other horses? Maybe there is another mare around her that is making her mad? That would be very possible, since head tossing is an act of 'defiance' sometimes. I hope this helps. I am not going to try to connect dots, I just thought you could take or leave this and see if any of these horse behaviors I have seen seem to fit your situation, and go from there. I hope your mare gets to feeling better !
    04-04-2012, 02:09 AM
First thought that came to my mind was partial blindness. Appy's are prone to it... Check her eyes out and see if that yields any answers. Back problems or nerve problems are possible too.

She may have a pinched nerve somewhere.
    04-04-2012, 02:37 AM
I would definitely have the vet check her. There are a lot of things that cause "head shaking", which is a catch all term for just about anything, including pollen, ear infections, reaction to certain vaccinations and dental diseases.
    04-04-2012, 02:43 PM
Thanks, everyone, for the responses. Rosie is behaving like herself today. I've been out to see her last night, early this morning and today at lunch, and she's fine. When I put her back out at lunch she gave one little head toss and ambled off to her friends. So fingers crossed that whatever this is, it's behind us.

Thanks again for all your suggestions. If this does reoccur you've given me something to think about.

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