Thoughts About Twitching - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thoughts About Twitching

So while Koby was recovering from surgery, my BO gave (tried to give) him shots of antibiotics as instructed by the vet. I would have done it myself if I knew how...she was kind enough to help me. So anyways, I went to the barn the day that he was supposed to get one of the shots and the BO told me that he was kicking out, and rearing, and wouldn't let her give him the whole shot (she got about half of it in him). My thoughts for why he was doing this were because he was traumatized about the surgery and associated getting shots with a scary, painful experience. She told me she tried making a twitch but it wouldn't stay on him. I kinda knew what a twitch was at the time, but I wish she would have asked me to help or even asked me if she could use one before trying to make one and put it on him. Since then I have looked up was twitches are and it kinda made me sick to my stomach to know that Koby had that on his nose...From what I have gathered, a twitch is supposed to cause enough pain so that the brain releases endorphins which calm the horse. Can someone please explain to me a little more about what it does exactly and if you think they are humane or not? I have't had any experience with using them so I could be totally wrong about this. I would love to hear everyone's thoughts. Thanks!

PS: I'm sorry if this type of thread has been done before. I couldn't find one like it.

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post #2 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 02:32 AM
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Use them pretty much everyday - have no problems with them if used correctly.
We get horses scoped often and there is no way we would be able to do it without a twitch. We use twitches for all sort of reasons and without the aid of a twitch the situation would have turned dangerous.

Just remember, when you are the one holding the twitch stand to the side, had too many close calls of horses striking out.
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 03:39 AM
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I don't like twitches and probably never will. Maybe on the right horse in the right hands they're okay? But my horses will never need twitches. I was angry when I found out my horse had to be twitched when getting hocks injected(never doing that again, with or without a twitch) because she always stands still. Apparently it's illegal not to do twitch them while doing hock injections in Ohio? I think it's an incorrect generalization. That's like saying the same training program is going to work for every horse, in my opinion. I just think they're cruel. If your horse is crazy and dangerous, do what you have to do. Not that all horses that have to be twitched are crazy and dangerous.
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 07:50 AM
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If a horse was rearing and striking at me you bet your boots I am going to twitch it and I might do a few other things to it. I use twitches nearly everyday at work. There are some horses that are twitch wise who have been twitched poorly. That said its a good way to control a horse for a few minutes when you do a veterinary procedure. It gives them something to think about other then trying to kill you or the vet.

That said some of them look mean but its a lot less painful then an ear twitch. Its also less damaging to the horse in my book. The fact is that some horses need more then a hug and butterflies to tolerate necessary medical procedures is just a fact of life. If you tell your vet for vaccines that you won't permit a twitch on your horse then good luck finding a new vet.

The twitch creates a numbness in the nose and releases endorphins that relax the horse.
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 08:00 AM
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I agree with Rookie. Just like any other tool, they have a time & place that they are needed. I haven't had to use one in a long time but do have a few should I need to.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 08:06 AM
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Twitches don't hurt the horse. They his a pressure point that releases endorphins.
I wouldn't use twitching for every single thing where my horse wants to misbehave or react negatively, but for something like clipping or giving shots it could be extremely helpful. It gets the horses mind of what you are doing.
When used incorrectly is when it becomes the problem and if you don't know how to use them then you shouldn't be using them.
I don't like those twitches that are made to be able to be used by one person, they are designed funny and REALLY hard to get off in an emergency. I actually use a blanket clamp/clip to twitch myself, works awesome and is quick and easy to remove if I need too.

Originally Posted by Black Out View Post
I was angry when I found out my horse had to be twitched when getting hocks injected(never doing that again, with or without a twitch) because she always stands still. Apparently it's illegal not to do twitch them while doing hock injections in Ohio? .
It's foolish to NOT do it without a twitch. Injections are in a very delicate spot and anything you can do to minimize negative reactions you do. My mare stands perfect too, doesn't mean she would when a big needle is being injected in her - even if she is sedated.
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 09:04 AM
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i use twitches on one of my horses. he can be a bugger when strangers are coming towards him to look him over especially when shots are involved.

it might look cruel but endorphines are a good thing especially when a horse cant seem to relax. it puts them at ease. the first time i saw one used i was mortified until my vet explained how it works and why they use it etc.. after that it has been a normal thing to have at my place. couldn't imagine not using one :/
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 09:13 AM
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I agree with all the above.
Twitching is a great tool in a situation like yours and that's about the only time I need to use one. There is no sense in your horse or barn owner getting hurt when a twitch could be used to keep everyone safe.
If a horse isn't too bad I will just do a neck twitch. I will grab a handful of skin on the neck above the shoulder blade. A blanket clamp works good for this area too.

If you are using a nose twitch or a gum line, like bold start said, never stand in front of the horse so he can't paw you in the head if things go wrong.

When I take a twitch off, I also rub the area that I had the twitch applied to. That way everytime I put my hand in that area he isn't anticipating being twitched.

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post #9 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 09:15 AM
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I've seen many twitches work wonders in my day. They can be life savers, literally, in situations where you're working with aggressive horses, clipping, or doing vet/farrier work. There are some horses where twitching doesn't work, but in my experience they're few and far between. I wouldn't hesitate to twitch my horse.
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-09-2012, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by KaylaMarie96 View Post
My thoughts for why he was doing this were because he was traumatized about the surgery and associated getting shots with a scary, painful experience.

She told me she tried making a twitch but it wouldn't stay on him.
First of all - no the horse was not reacting due to the hospital experience. The horse was not aware of the surgery thus not in a position to be traumatized. There are horses who do not like shots and a very small percent that are so sensitive they can feel the medication from the injection as it flows into their system. Some drugs do have a bit of sting to them but I can't recall an antibiotic that does.

Some horses need a handler as well as the person giving the injection. Even tying the horse can help while the injection is given. However if the person holding the syringe is the least bit hesistant, the horse is going to start moving, shifting, twisting in anticipation.

What type of twitch did she try to make?
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