Head Shaking *Update*

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Head Shaking *Update*

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  • Horse head shaking ring sour
  • Horse shakes head with bridle on

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  • 2 Post By Clava

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    05-05-2013, 02:59 PM
Unhappy Head Shaking *Update*

I posted a thread a while ago about my horse shaking his head whenever the bridle is on him, so I decided I would do an update because we sti'll don't have a clue what is wrong with him.

He did in fact get his teeth done (about 2 months ago actually, I didn't even know!) so I've ruled that out.

So I'm taking his feet and ears back into consideration. He had shoes on last summer because he has some problems with his sole not being thick enough. I took them off when Winter started and he was fine. Now that it's warming up again he's been a little off, so I'm going to put the shoes back on. The head shaking started before his shoes were put on the first time however, but has gotten worse now that they're off.

It's gotten really bad to the point where he flails his head up and down at the canter (very, very annoying!) and will NOT put his head down for me. He just locks his jaw and pulls (he's an English horse btw).

So I'm stuck again :/ I was thinking about maybe switching his bit, but I don't see how that would be the problem since I've been using the same bit since I got him and he's been perfectly fine before.

Any ideas as to what it could be?
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    05-05-2013, 03:06 PM
Green Broke
Is the bridle maybe poking/rubbing or squeezing him some how? I know a horse who's brown and was too tight and she would shake her head around like crazy. Could you maybe get a video of what he's doing?
    05-05-2013, 03:09 PM
It's possible. I've been using the same bridle on him since I bought him over a year ago so I kind of just ruled it out, but I can always try a different one.

I'll get a video tomorrow!
    05-05-2013, 03:10 PM
Super Moderator
Sounds like headshaking syndrome...many triggers but they all lead to pain in the trigeminal nerve in the face and the horse shaking his head. Triggers include, sunshine, pollen, flies, tack, stress, cold, rain, the list is almost endless. I firmly believe that mineral imbalances may contribute to it.
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    05-05-2013, 03:34 PM
Could be. I might have a homeopathic doctor come take a look at him (my trainer calls her "voodoo lady", and her remedies seem to help a lot).

He does seem to enjoy the outdoors much more than inside. Our last show was outside and he was perfect, little to no shaking.

I really would like to show him more this summer and get him in the best shape I can but it's really holding me back from doing so.
    05-06-2013, 07:42 AM
Green Broke
I too was going to suggest head shaker syndrome. Very difficult problem. Good luck.
    05-06-2013, 08:51 AM
It can also be stress related. Have you tried riding her in a halter or side pull? A halter with an adjustable noseband works better or a knotted. It's worth a try. How much are you schooling him as different issues often show up when a horse has become ring sour.
    05-06-2013, 08:58 AM
Does the saddle fit properly?
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    05-06-2013, 02:46 PM
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
It can also be stress related. Have you tried riding her in a halter or side pull? A halter with an adjustable noseband works better or a knotted. It's worth a try. How much are you schooling him as different issues often show up when a horse has become ring sour.
I'll try a side pull. He's not too responsive with pressure but I'll give it a shot. He's schooled 4-5 times a week mostly by me, but sometimes he's used as a lesson horse for a college eq team. We're starting lessons outside this week for the first time this whole year so I'll see if that makes a difference to him.

Originally Posted by CLaPorte432    
Does the saddle fit properly?
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Yes, he's ridden in either a Pessoa A/O or an older Stubben and both fit him very well, the head shaking doesn't begin until he is bridled.

I like to ride him with a fly veil on, and sometimes he'll shake so bad the bridle will slip over his ears!

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