Head Shaking/Tossing

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Head Shaking/Tossing

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  • Horse shaking head when leadin
  • Head shaking in yearlings

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    11-08-2009, 12:25 AM
Question Head Shaking/Tossing

Ricky has been head tossing/shaking really violently when I lead him. Its only been like this for the past 3 days, and I've been dealing with it by a strong yank on the lead rope and a NO!. And I'm not kidding when I say violently. He's shaking it like a bee flew up his nose! I can't find a reason for it. There are no flies, he isn't sick.
Is it just a phase?
Also, what can I do to stop it?
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    11-08-2009, 01:25 AM
My first guess is that it is a pain response. Especially if it has just suddenly started. I would just put a lead rope around his neck (away from his head) to keep him close then thoroughly check his entire head; poll, jaw, nose, throatlatch, etc. for anything that could be causing him pain such as a cut, burr, or lump. Make sure that you are thorough in your check. Run your hands along feeling for any obvious anomalies then begin to apply pressure to the entire area a little bit at a time. My next course of action would be to have the vet come check both his teeth and ears as either one could be causing the problem.
    11-08-2009, 05:20 AM
Could the pain possibly be caused by ticks? I drenched him for ticks, and a few still get on him. I've heard ticks in the forelock create head-aches.
Its definitely not his ears.
It could potentially be his teeth. When he gets angry, he makes a parrot mouth kinda face.
The Vet's coming out in 2 weeks, to do his shots, so I'll make sure he brings his dentistry equipement too.
For the time being, would it still be wise (for me and Mav) to halter him?
    11-08-2009, 10:55 AM
It is possible that it could be ticks in his forelock. If you are able without getting hurt, you may want to go through his forelock and see if you can get all the ticks off. If you get a lot of them together in a small area, it can get very painful. As for haltering him, does he lead with just a rope draped around his neck away from his head? If so, that may be best for the time being until you can find out if he is having pain.
    11-09-2009, 12:40 AM
He's ok to just stand for a little bit, its when you start walking he does it. So it could potentially have something to do with his poll.
    11-09-2009, 01:00 AM
Firstly I would have his teeth checked. Have his wolf teeth been removed?

Also I see he is a yearling. Sometimes yearlings go through strange defiant stages, it could be as well that he is just being a bratty little boy, and tossing his head as he is feeling good, but doesn't want to rear or kick up when leading...(my stallion actually does that.)
He could just be going through a phase.....my yearling Tux (now Two) went through a phase similar to this.
I Did the same thing, checked for pain, no teeth problems, so just dealt with it as a training issue, and he stopped doing it after about few weeks
    11-09-2009, 03:52 AM
Checked his head for pain this afternoon. Couldn't find any tender or sore spots. Had a quick look at his teeth, nothing I could notice but I'll still get them checked.
He didn't toss his head. I even walked him outside of his paddock and let him socialize with some new horses. He did very well, after a few snaps of the lead rope when he didn't know what stopping was.
I guess time will tell whether this is a phase or something much more serious. In the mean time, I'll be keeping a very close eye on how he eats his food etc.
    11-09-2009, 04:01 PM
Have you changed anyhting about your equipment or does he have an injury? Also, and this is less likely, if you're keeping a choking hold on his leadrope (and I mean really micromanaging, like having your hand right up by the halter), he could be getting irritated. Hope you find your answer:)
    11-09-2009, 04:04 PM
Super Moderator
Did you check his ears for mites?
    11-10-2009, 12:46 AM
How long since ha last had his teeth done? Sometimes when they have longer sharp or un-even teeth they will shake their head heaps.

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