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  1. #1

    Default Why is he shaking his head?

    Hi all,

    Since coming back from holiday I noticed that my horse has started shaking his head when he's ridden. It's become more violent and he also sticks it up high and to the side sometimes. He's done this both out hacking and in the school and has never done anything like this before.

    It's not the flies as we put repellent on and tried a nose net and he did the same thing when it was windy. He's fine to tack up and okay when led. We've checked all over for any lumps/bumps etc. and his tack all fits correctly. I did try riding him with a headcollar and two leadropes jinstead of a bridle and he was much better.

    So we got the vet out but she found nothing wrong with his teeth/general mouth area and he's eating fine.

    Also, he's 18 so I don't think hes developed an allergy or anything. Anyone got any ideas? The next step would probably be to get the back lady out although I don't think this it the problem.

    Thank you in advance!
    Last edited by FunkyFilly28; 05-05-11 at 04:48 PM.

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  2. #2
    Old nag Damnation's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is he shaking his head?

    Could it be his bit? Or his back?
    However you say he is better bareback, perhaps it is worth getting the saddler back out to check, just to be on the safe side.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Why is he shaking his head?

    Has anyone been riding him while you were away?

    Definitley get back and saddle checked, you never know with headshaking..

    On getting the vet to check teeth, alot of people disagree because they dont have as much training or experience as dentists, and usually people get the vet to do it if they need doping, because the dentist cant do that (correct me if i'm wrong please). So if you dont find the root of the problem soon, it might be worth finding a dentist with a good reputation. The fact that he was better without a bridle makes it almost definite that its the bridle, prehaps poll pressure?

    'make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant' Moshe Feldenkrais
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Why is he shaking his head?

    Thanks for your suggestions.

    Someone at the yard has suggested using vulcanite bit but he's only in a loose ring snaffle which he's always been in.

    Nobody was riding him whilst I was away but he was turned out everyday and isn't the type of horse to get naughtly with lack of riding. At first I thought it was just due to lack of work but I think it's got progressively worse.

    We got the vet out because they would be able to see him quicker than the dentist and also be able to check his general health which was fine.

    I think the back lady could be the next thing though.

    It's not as though he's just being a typical headshaker though because he's also sticking his head up at and angle and sometimes opens his mouth too - just generally seems a bit unhappy.

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Why is he shaking his head?

    Definitely get back checked, even if there's nothing wrong, much better to be safe than sorry, an you never know

    That said, I went own all the normal routes with Len's headshaking and had pretty much given up all hope. Changing his bit helped a tad (it has really helped his schooling in general, much better suited to his mouth, but that's another thread ) but what struck me was that it was almost as if he was trying to get something out of his ears when he shook his head, not a 'normal' head shake. It was bad though, sometimes he had to down tools for a minute or so and shake and shake and shake before going back to normal.


    More careful observation of the silly sod, and I noticed how his forelock flopped behind his ears when he moved and was annoying him. He only shook his head when he could feel it and stopped when it was clear of his ears now his forelock and the top of his mane are plaited before I ride or lunge he hasn't even though about shaking his head since!

    It may be something as easily fixed as that, have you tried a fly veil? (As in the type that showjumpers use)

    J&C
    "Those who stop being better stop being great."

  6. #6

    Default Re: Why is he shaking his head?

    JessandCharlie - thanks for the advice, I shall try a fly veil and get his back checked

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why is he shaking his head?

    Is there much rape growing in your area? Does he try and rub his nose? Head shaking is a very distressing condition to try to get to the bottom of.

    Are you able to ride in an indoor school to see if that makes a difference?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Why is he shaking his head?

    Eggs - thanks for the suggestions. We did think it might be rape as there's lots in the area but he's been at the same yard for the last four years with rape growing around and he's never reacted to it. Unfortunately, I don't have any access to an indoor school either.

    I just can't seem to find the cause of this headshaking!

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  9. #9
    Old nag
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    Default Re: Why is he shaking his head?

    Agree with the poster who said about getting his back checked as it could be that his poll is out.

  10. #10
    Schoolmaster Circe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why is he shaking his head?

    Whenever my tb is sore in the back or neck, he shakes head when ridden or lunged. Usually its worst in trot. He also tilts his head to the side and sometimes chews alot on the bit.
    Ive learnt that this is how he shows he's uncomfortable.
    Definately worth getting your saddle checked and a physio or chiro to check his back.
    Kx

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