Change his bit?
Some of you might remember I asked about my head-shaking horse in another thread last week. For those who don't here's the short version. 20year old horse started chewing bit and then shaking head with increasing violence till if I didn't keep a hold of the reins they would fly over his head. His teeth was done late november, I gave him December off to recover from quite severe dental work that was done. I saddled him again Thursday am and after about ten mins the head shaking started again. I tried to ride it out, but it got so bad I gave up and got off. I called my vet this morning thinking to get him out to check Hans over for me, especially the teeth, just in case. He sent me a thick snaffle (dad was in town, picked it up). Now apparently like everyone else he thinks there's a problem with the bit I use. He has been ridden in a jointed pelham for the six years I've had him. This is the bit that he was ridden in by his previous owner for the I don't know how long they had him. (They ride all their horses in jointed pelhams).
Now what I don't understand is: Why would a horse who has been happily working in a pelham suddenly have a problem with that bit? Can floating his teeth make that much diffs? I'm not against putting him in a snaffle, but not sure about the very thick eggbutt he sent me, Hans doesn't have a lot of space in his mouth and in general seems to prefer thinner mouthpieces.
The other thing I've noticed is he seems to have a bump on his left elbow, can that somehow cause the head shaking? He is not noticably lame.
Thanks for your reply.
I'm also concerned about remembered pain and am seriousluy considering trying him in a hackamore for a little while - get out of his mouth for a while. Quite severe dental work: His teeth were atrocious to say the least. his canines were extremely long and had to be shortened a heck of a lot. this is only the second time I've had an Equine dentist out, vet recommended her after he tried floating my rescue mares teeth. I live in the sticks with limited access to people like Equine dentists, chiros, etc. I took a look in his mouth this am, cannot see anything obvious. The pelham is a new sweet iron one I had made in a slightly wider size especially for him, his old one touched his lips, this one has a litle space to spare.
the bump on his elbow doesn't seem to bother him or be painfull, he had a run-in with one of my other geldings, he came to me as an adult, wasn't born on the farm so doesnt neccesarily respect "uncle Hans". Some of my mares foaled 3-4 weeks ago and are coning into heat again, so the two older bous are naturally in each others hair. I try to keep them seperated and give each a few mares, but one of our workers left a gate open and Kroon and crew escaped.
The only other thing after much thinking and internet research I can think of is maybe a dust type allergy or flies/ midges going up his nose, he snorted quite violently during our trail ride last thursday, it is unseasonably hot and dust here in the Northern Cape at the moment and flies and company are everywhere.
You can always try and see if it helps. Can't hurt.
I have all my horses dental work done once a year and the changes are amazing. Also, I have a horse who was diagnosed and a chronic head shaker after acting like what you are describing for over a year...I was told to change my saddle. It was actually his saddle bothering his shoulders and withers that had him protesting so much. Who knew!!! We are head shaking free. Try someone else's wider saddle and see what he says...??? Like someone said above-couldn't hurt.
Hi Guys just a quick update, my vet finally came out on Monday to check Hans' teeth. It turns out his wolf teeth are coming in. I honestly didn't know they can still get wolf teeth at 20, but yeah that's why he suddenly wouldn't take his bit and was throwing his head up. Thanks again for all the support and suggestions.
So awesome you got your answer! Who knew Wolf teeth could come in so late?? I suppose it is no different than when you hear about adults suddenly having trouble with wisdom teeth.
That is amazing! Don't think I ever heard of a horse's wolfe teeth coming in that late. That means he is still a young guy!
A horse that already listens to the bit but develops a dislike - for any reason - often does better with a gentle leather bit. I use these on my Quarterhorse and Standardbred now and love them.
Here more information about the leather bits Meroth Leather Bit.
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