Safe to buy this horse?

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Safe to buy this horse?

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  • Buying a horse with headshaking syndrome
  • Buying a safe horse

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    07-21-2008, 10:31 PM
Safe to buy this horse?

I am thinking of buying a horse with a condition called Idiopathic Headshaking Syndrome. He is pretty much perfect in every other way for me, except that he has that condition. His owners say that it doesn't really affect his performance-he will still jump like a champ and everything-except it is a major problem with competitions, particuarly Dressage. I am planning to do quite a bit of Event showing, anyone familiar with this condition? Is it curable, or at least, manageable? And most importantly, what is it exactly?
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    07-22-2008, 12:44 PM
Well, if you're planning on eventing there's always a dressage test in there and you stated that that's a major problem with this prospect. Keep looking, they're many horses out there for sale without this condition. It does get annoying after a while, trust me!!!
    07-22-2008, 01:46 PM
My friends horse has that same problem and he is an eventer and he has always placed. All she does for him is theres a little crochet thing that you can put on their face that reduces them from doing this and theyre fine. If that's the only thing stopping you and you really like the horse i'd buy it bc it is a manageable disease.
    08-18-2008, 02:58 PM

OK thanks for the advice! I did end up getting him! He is just perfect for me, but especially on breezy, sunny days, he seems to get pretty're right, it does get kind of annoying, but he sure doesn't let it interfere with his jumping. Its just the dressage I'm a little worried about. I will try the crochet ear net...I've heard some very good things about those. It looks to me, though, like its mostly allergies that makes him bob and shake his head at himes...any suggestions on how to treat that? I've heard of equine accupuncture...
    08-18-2008, 06:06 PM
We have one that showed all the classic signs of being a Photic Headshaker. For three years we tried everything on the market will little to no results.

On bright sunny days he couldn't be ridden at all. You had to watch yourself if you were working around him as it made him pretty unpredictable.

This spring my mind was made up to get him tested for allergies, both inhalant and food sources. Funny thing it hasn't been a problem this year at all.

We had a cold spring this year, which we haven't had in the past three years. So this is leading me to believe it is allergy related.

I haven't done the panels as it's quite expensive, $600-800 for both panels. We'll see what next spring brings.

You could start with one panel at a time and see if anything shows.
    08-20-2008, 11:22 PM
'Idiopathic' suggests that whoever diagnosed this thought it was a psychological problem rather than physical(tho if he's worse on sunny, windy days...). Many horses can develop this problem with the use of a bit - especially if the horse hasn't been desensitised to it or taught to yield, if the rider is too heavy handed, restrictive or harsh, etc.

You might have success with one of the equine behavioural forums for ideas how to correct or minimise it. 'Why Does My Horse...' is one such list that springs to mind.
    08-21-2008, 02:46 PM
Originally Posted by loosie
'Idiopathic' suggests that whoever diagnosed this thought it was a psychological problem rather than
Actually the word idiopathic means a disease having no known cause. A vet using this term regarding a head shaker doesn't surprise me at all. We had three vet's out for our guy and none could offer us much help at all. We had more results talking to a homeopathic. An immune booster in the spring was a big help.

I agree with the comment about bits. It's very hard to tell without seeing him.

The OP's comment about the sunny days, still leaves me to believe it could be PHSS.
    09-28-2008, 11:27 AM

He isn't so bad that on some days I just can't ride is just really annoying on some sunny, breezy days. I don't think it's a bit issue...I have learned to be very light in my hands, and ride in different bits for eventing (a loose ring snaffle with or without flash for dressage, slow-twist eggbutt for showjumping and X-country, always with flash). I have only recently developed this system, however...before I would just ride with the loose ring, and his headshaking doesn't vary withthe bit/flash, just the weather. Would a UV protection fly mask possibly help? My trainer also reccomended a supplement called Taurine, said it helped one of hers who was really bad. Any advice on that?
    09-28-2008, 11:30 PM
I will admit, I'm not sure what it is but I would stay away from it. If this horse is supposedly not affected by his condition, then why are they selling him?!
There are thousands of horses in the market, so I know you will be able to find a horse that you like without any conditions of any kind.

Good Luck.
    09-29-2008, 09:10 PM
Originally Posted by My2Geldings
I will admit, I'm not sure what it is but I would stay away from it. If this horse is supposedly not affected by his condition, then why are they selling him?!
There are thousands of horses in the market, so I know you will be able to find a horse that you like without any conditions of any kind.

Good Luck.
I'm sorry, I think you misunderstood...I did end up getting him awhile ago, and we know for a fact that it is Idiopathic Headshaking Syndrome...and we looked for months and months for a horse, and I liked him from the mounting WAY better then any of the others :roll: ...he just seemed to click with me. And they never said he wasn't affected...she was very clear that it could be pretty serious with his dressage, but that he wouldn't let it interfere with his jumping, esp. X-country!

I did get an ear net, and it does help, but the vet came out to float him and said that a sun-shield fly mask could help. Any suggestions on those?

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