Suddenly head shy? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 01-15-2011, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Port Orchard Washington State
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Unhappy Suddenly head shy?

Caleigh has suddenly become what looks like..uh..head shy? She tosses her head as high as she can, pins her ears, bugs her eyes, and flinches whenever she is bridled and haltered, or brushed on the face, or someone gives her a pat on the cheek, or if I turn around fast she'll balk and take a few fast steps backwards with her head in the clouds.

She has no reason to be head shy and from watching her I'm starting to think it might be pain related and not head shy at all? Has anyone had a horse that acted head shy but wasn't? I'm at the barn everyday so I'm with her every day. We don't have grooms or anyone outside of my barn owner and her family and the boarders at the barn and I know everyone of them. I get there before most of them do anyways. I'm at the barn a steady 8-10 hours and I honestly don't think anyone would be messing with her.

In my massage training I'm learning trigger point therapy, where on a horse a lot of triggers are along the back, the hips, high points on the neck, and the jaw muscles. I checked out Caleigh looking for trigger points but I wasn't getting any feed back. She still puts her head in my lap and loves hugs on her face but she balks at the littlest things now? This just started within the past 3 weeks.

I was thinking she was just acting up and was jealous of the attention Legacy is getting but this has gone on too long. I called the vet and scheduled her earliest appointment Wednesday at 10am for some Chiro work. I'm starting to think she might be out of whack maybe? However pressure from my hands when I was poking around on her looking for a trigger didn't get any sort of response. Tomorrow before her bath I'm thinking I'll give her a full massage and see if I find anything. I was thinking it might be working on collection but I've been doing the same thing with her for 5 months now and she's on regular chiro work every 2-3 months depending on her work load. The only thing I can really think of is she might need some chiro work. I'm hoping that will fix it?

Anyone had a mystery thing like this?

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post #2 of 29 Old 01-15-2011, 06:49 AM
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Hmm. I'm interested to see what the vet says. How about her teeth? Is she due?

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post #3 of 29 Old 01-15-2011, 07:00 AM
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When I got my horse she seemed head shy. I could never get a bridle on her because I could not reach her head. She has actually pulled muscles in my arm because when I do grab her head she lifts it up very quickly and lifts me with her! So I had to start leaving the the head collar to put her bridle on.. She puts up less of a fight with the headcollar on. She then started to get better but if you do anything at all like pulling her head down etc she goes back to square one. I tried to put the bridle on without the headcollar the other day and it was just not happening..

Also when I got her I could not even put a headcollar on..It was hard to even do that. I had to put the lead rope over her neck and pull it down. Now she sticks on nose into the headcollar herself so at least that is fixed. I got her teeth done 2 months ago and I thought that would fix a bit of the problems but it didn't.

I can now even touch her head and stuff without her pulling her head away which she used to do. So it is just the bridle that is the problem now.

So I dunno if she is headshy, if she was treated badly around the head or if she is just doing it on purpose.
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post #4 of 29 Old 01-15-2011, 07:06 AM
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Vida did the same thing a year or so ago. She had a tick bite way down in her ear that had gotten nasty. I and the vet tried everything to get down in there and medi it. Finally had to sedate her so she would stop freaking out.
Yours may have an ear infection or something similar. Make sure the vet checks way down in the ear canal. Here's hoping its something as simple as that.
You might also have him take a look at the eyes. If there is a peripheral vision loss, that can also cause a problem when your working from the side. See if she is as fitful if you work from in front of her.

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post #5 of 29 Old 01-15-2011, 07:17 AM
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Mine has just gotten slightly headshy...just from me accidentally giving him a little shock when I went to pet him on the nose.....poor thing. Something so simple.

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post #6 of 29 Old 01-15-2011, 09:27 AM
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If it continues, I would have the vet out to check her eyesight, teeth, and for any other abnormalities in her head or mouth.
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post #7 of 29 Old 01-15-2011, 12:18 PM
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If the chiro work doesn't show anything, then I'd definitely look at getting a complete physical to figure out whats wrong. My mare has started to get head shy, and its just because she's in a pasture with 4 other horses, and they tend to crowd the gate when one is leaving, so she's never actually been hit by the rope, but a rope is used to make sure the handler has space to get out. My mare just happens to be uber sensitive, so thats why she suddenly became head shy. She's fine though as soon as I get the halter on.
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post #8 of 29 Old 01-15-2011, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DunOverIt View Post
Hmm. I'm interested to see what the vet says. How about her teeth? Is she due?
No she just had her teeth done in November. I'll have the vet check those too
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post #9 of 29 Old 01-15-2011, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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I'll have the vet check her eyes too. She has a small clouding in her right eye but that was checked recently and she wasn't having problems then. It could be getting worse though.
I'm hoping she is just needing an adjustment.
I trimmed her ears the other night and she wasn't bothered but I'll ask the vet to take a look in there as well.
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post #10 of 29 Old 01-15-2011, 08:23 PM
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Check her ears. I have had horses get sore ears and they didn't like thier head being touched. Bugs are what caused the soreness so it doesn't seem likely this time of year but maybe something else caused the soreness.

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