Head Twisting - lengthy - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 01-03-2012, 08:51 PM
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Mine will do it on the lunge or inhand sometimes too...

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post #12 of 18 Old 01-03-2012, 09:17 PM
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I'm interested to see more replies as well...

I used to school a green hunter pony that did this at all gaits, throughout the entire ride, as well as on the lunge line. We tried different theories and tried different things. We finally came down to him simply evading the bit in his own way.

I put him in a smooth copper roller-It stopped.

Once he went in that bit, he started softly mouthing the bit more and actually settling quietly in the bridle, which also led to more basic collection. But he quit the head twisting.. He'd do it once or twice during warm up, but mainly out of habit, or just testing out the bit. After that, he was quiet in the head the whole ride.

Interested to see some more replies. Finding a bit, that that pony found comfortable in his mouth worked for him, but I wonder for others if this is injury related, or bit evasion, or what. We went through quite a trial figuring out what the twisting was about. It's certainly annoying while you're riding, and they never fully focus on you, when they're so worried about their head.

"You're just as sane as I am."~Luna Lovegood.

Last edited by DejaVu; 01-03-2012 at 09:19 PM.
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post #13 of 18 Old 01-03-2012, 09:48 PM
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I would have the horse thoroughly vetted by an equine specialist with strong credentials before going any further. Bring a video of the behavior to show to the veterinarian at the appointment.
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post #14 of 18 Old 01-04-2012, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your replies!! As much of a concern it is, I have to admit, it’s a relief to hear he’s not the only horse in the world to do this – and also very interesting that some of you have seen this type of behavior after an injury! Based on your responses, it sure leads you to believe it’s a pain and/or balance issue...

Mom and I discussed getting our vet out to see him shortly. In the meantime, we are planning on trying to get some good video footage of over the next couple of evenings (dang work gets in the way of precious riding time!), and as mentioned free-lounge him to see if he does it without a rider on his back.

I wish it was just a bit issue. We literally have tried every bit under the sun – copper roller, jointed, un-jointed, double jointed, rubber, happy mouth, low and high ports, so on and so forth. Never any difference.

We also have considered the ‘crookedness’ aspect, but he still twists with different riders on his back but it’s great suggestion!

Anyway, I will post an update in the next day or so...with my luck he won’t do it at all tonight – typical! Ha-ha

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle ~ Winston Churchill"
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post #15 of 18 Old 01-04-2012, 12:49 PM
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I'll be interested in seeing the free lunge videos....does he do it when you lunge without a bit?

have you tried a chiropractor yet? When I had Clark's teeth floated, I had my vet watch him on a lunge line he did the head twist and the vet said...he's lame .... he needs a chiropractor.... I'm still battling his lameness which goes beyond just head twisting, but it's worth a shot.

good luck!
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post #16 of 18 Old 01-10-2012, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Update! Hi everyone, sorry it’s been so long getting back to you. We have had some progress in the last week with some answers to the ‘head twisting’!
We free-lunged him in the arena – no head twist. Watched him playing during paddock turn-out – no head twist. Also have not witnessed him doing it in his stall since the one occurrence, which I am starting to believe was a fluke.
He was examined by the vet with no significant findings – teeth are perfect, gums are good, no sore muscles, stifles are great, etc, etc. The vet himself was a bit stumped and suggested we start playing with different tack to see if that’s the problem – try bitless, try different saddle etc. We felt like we were back to square one. Until, we had another idea…
On Sunday, we shipped out and had a well established, long-time pro ride him. EVASION! He was downright evading moving forward off her leg, so he would head twist. When she got firmer with him and ignored his head twist, he got even more ticked off, stopped head twisting then started to swap out in hopes he could evade in another way. She was positive he is downright being naughty. I very much trust and admire this pro. She can watch a horse that she has never seen before, flat around for all of five minutes and peg every under saddle issue it has. She really is amazing in what she does and is also a wonderful coach. We have lots of homework over the next 30 days, at which time she will re-assess him.
At this point in the game, we are going to start to treat it as a training issue. Of course, we are not completely ruling out a soreness that would be causing him to evade, and will be keeping our eyes peeled for any signs of discomfort or pain. On a side note, he does have a Chiropractic appointment next week, so we will see how that goes as well.
Anyway, wish us luck! And thank you again for everyone’s responses, they are very much appreciated! I will post another update should the Chiro find anything. Cheers!

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle ~ Winston Churchill"
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post #17 of 18 Old 01-10-2012, 01:26 PM
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Beauty did it a few times in her stall but not often. I think I concur with the evasion thoughts. My Beauty is a BEYOTCH. I if anyone pushed an issue with her she'd toss a rider in a heart beat.
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"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
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post #18 of 18 Old 03-15-2012, 01:06 PM
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I see some time has gone by since you started using the trainer who identified the head-twisting problem as an evasion technique. I'm curious as to whether pushing your horse through his head-twisting/evasion behavior has helped? I have a horse who does exactly the same thing (also like the one in the video without the rodeo bucks!), and it makes riding so miserable I'd rather just walk him out--when he doesn't do it--at least not until you ask him to take the bit. I haven't yet solved the problem, so I'm anxious to hear how you/your mother are doing.
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