Head Tossing

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Head Tossing

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    08-11-2012, 08:21 AM
Green Broke
Head Tossing

I have noticed Apache toss his head a bit of the last 7 months or so but I have no idea why he does it.

He only does it occasionally sometimes he will do it all day every few seconds, others he maybe does it twice all day and there can be weeks between the days of head tossing.

The first time he did it he had some bad scratches on his nose and there were flies that we thought were annoying him. The second time he still had the scratches and he was eating hay, so I thought maybe it was poking his nose.

But now I realise he does it standing in the paddock, eating, being led, being ridden etc. On his bad days I don't like to ride him because I constantly have the reins/leadrope pulled out of my hands, though he never takes advantage of this. He acts like something is anoying him and he is tossing his head to get rid of it.

He rarely does it and when he does it is impossible to get him to stop. It is really annoying me because I don't know what to do about it. Today was his worst day because at times he was even getting his front legs involved a couple of times like he was striking which he never does.

I don't have a video of him but this video shows a horse doing the same thing a lesser extent.

Apache is a bit more violent/sudden about it and it is much more obvious when he chucks his head up.
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    08-11-2012, 09:26 AM
That can be a tough problem to diagnose.

The first thing I would do would be to check his ears, which you of course may have already done, to make sure he doesn't have mites or some other issue with his ears. Next I would try to determine if he has any kind of nervous or anxiety issue...think about any changes that might have occurred like losing a barn buddy, change of location or diet or anyhthing that might be unsettling him. Next I would consider whether he may have a back/neck kink or alignment issue that a chiropractor might be able to resolve. Also, consider whether he has any front end problems - sore or swollen joints or hoof issues in the front. And of course check his mouth to make sure he doesn't have a tooth issue such as a spur or wolf tooth bothering him, a mouth sore, etc., or anything that might be bothering his throat. There are other reasons he might be head tossing, but those are some of the first things I would consider and check out...
smrobs and Can He Star like this.
    08-11-2012, 05:27 PM
Green Broke
He doesn't normally have anything in his ears but I didn't check yesterday when he started up again so I'll check today. I can't think of any changes in diet/location/buddies that could have started it, only a few changes have happened after he started it. He also normally shows anxiety by fidgeting and calling out.
He hasn't seen a chiro in awhile so he could maybe be out somewhere. He has had two abcess' very recently. He is also due to see the dentist again soon and when she did him the first time she said his teeth couldn't have been done in years. She greatly improved his teeth and from the checking I can do at home he doesn't appear to have any problems.

I think what is getting at me the most is it isn't constant its all over the place when it happens.
    08-11-2012, 09:40 PM
Green Broke
No one else?
    08-13-2012, 06:24 AM
Hmmm sounds like head shaking syndrome......not good.
Hard to diagnose.....hard to fix! My friend had a horse that head shook and it got so bad she couldn't ride him. There really isn't a cure as such.

Try to find the source of it. Some horses will do it out of stress or pain. My friends horse was a TB and his was mainly caused by stress. She had this kind of 'net' attached to his nose and that seemed to help it. As well as putting him on a lot of supplements etc.

Go talk to vanilla bean! She may be able to help you as I believe sheen is a head shaker :)

Goodluck !
    08-13-2012, 07:41 AM
Green Broke
Thanks I'm trying to think of any similarities throughout the months but I honestly can't think of anything.

Is it something that develops over time? Wouldn't it constantly happen when you don't know what causes it?
    08-13-2012, 07:45 AM
Hmmm can't say. I have never experienced it so I wouldn't know.

I would just get him checked out to make sure theres nothing hurting him. And make sure theres nothing that could be stressing him out

As I said - maybe ask vanilla bean ?
    08-13-2012, 08:39 AM
Green Broke
I will ask Vanilla Bean.

Just to give an idea as I have been researching a bit. I found this website Welcome to Headshaking Syndrome Center .

The shaking itself can range anywhere from a 1 to 5. Just this most recent time he did seem distracted and distant, he also was striking as he was walking or just standing. Other times he has been known to stomp, constantly rub is nose on his leg or objects and has not liked his face being touched which isn't normal.

I also noticed the most common thing to happen is he has sores on his nose. They do not appear every time but have occasionally and this time he did have them.
    08-13-2012, 09:04 AM
Apache, my horse does something similar (she has shaking head syndrome that came out of nowhere 2 years back and it happens usually Mar through Nov). Using nose net (Cashel Quiet Ride Nose Net - Adams Horse and Pet Supply) while riding solved the issue for us (I also put a short riding mask with ears on her to protect eyes and ears). In a field you can look into using long nose fly mask.
    08-14-2012, 02:17 AM
Green Broke
Thanks, would this sort of thing only be worn when he is actively being irritated or all the time?

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