Head shaking

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16 Apr 2010 13:52
Hello, I haven't really used the forum before so I hope you will all be happy to read on and maybe help with any advice you have :).

I have just got back my loan pony, Kenny, who has been out on loan for the last year to someone else while I finished my degree. Kenny has begun head shaking while been ridden. Now he is very unfit so at the moment he is just walk out on the roads (he is completely fine in the field). I have had a look on different websites and seen that a lot of cases are seasonal which I think is the case with Kenny as I had him over the year of 2008 and he did show signs of it then but it completely disappeared by autumn, however I have no recollection of him doing it all the year before. Trying to get in contact with the lady who had him over the last year to see if she had any problems with him. Also going to ride him in a local indoor school to see if he does it in there because he is a pony and could be just being naughty and averting any contact (hopefully the pollen count will be a lot lower in there), but I don't think this is the case.

Has anyone else any supplements or nets to aid there horse through the summer?

Thank you for you time xXx
Horse Hero Guru
16 Apr 2010 15:37
Hi Beckaroo

Headshaking seems to be an increasingly common condition. Some people have linked the problem to allergic reactions to pollen or vaccination shots, and it looks as though you have researched these aspects yourself.

However one common (but often overlooked) cause of headshaking is teeth problems. If your horse is uncomfortable in his mouth then the only way he can express this is through headshaking. I would suggest that you get his teeth checked properly as soon as possible.

Even if the cause of his problems does prove to be an allergy, it is still beneficial to have his teeth checked, particularly since you do not know when they were last done, or by whom, if he has not been in your care for a while.
16 Apr 2010 23:37
Smashing. Will get in contact with our dentist! Thank you for your help :D! xXx
shans mum
17 Apr 2010 09:20
Hi Just a thought. When working with horses with 'odd' issuses I have found it really helpfull to keep a diary. Note down when you rode, how long for, what time of day it was, the weather, what work you did, what tack the horse wore, were you on your own etc etc etc. Also note down any changes in routine ie feed or differand fields grazed. This will help you discover a pattern. My head shaker was much worse when ridden just before dusk on a warm day and could cope with hacking but was really bad in our school. Some things you just have to work with! but saying that a nose net really helped.
20 Apr 2010 10:40
My mare shakes her head when she gets flies/midges in her ears. Since she has the biggest ears known to man, the flies seem to love them! I've found those over-ear fly fringes that are popular with showjumpers help in her case. I think the 3 most common causes of head shaking are teeth, ears and nose. So my suggestion after the dentist would be to experiment with nosenets and fly masks.

A cheap alternative to ear masks are a pair of old tights or some light cotton socks. You might look a bit silly but it saves spending £15 on something only to find it doesn't help.

Let us know how you get on!
20 Apr 2010 19:22
With mine definately seasonal...as soon s the sun came this weekend, so did the headshaking. Net back on, headshaking stops. That's us sorted until Autumn.
03 May 2012 13:54
I have a rising 8 draught X mare, I purchased her at Christmas and she was primarily bred/used for hunting - or so I'm led to believe. She has a problem with head shaking, especially when schooling, she will start off working quite well but as soon as you start to ask more of her her head shaking begins and it's only up and down never side to side, she's had a new saddle fitted, her teeth done, and properly shod, it seems to me although I might be wrong guessing that it's a way of evading the contact. It's really hard to ride her once she starts this as there is no contact and I'm at a loss to know how to resolve this.

Any ideas or advice on this would be warmly welcomed.
Horse Hero Guru
08 May 2012 19:40
Hi Jani

Are you sure your horse is head shaking? From your description it does sound as though this might just be a way of evading working on the bit. Have you got an instructor who could watch your mare working and see what is happening?
09 May 2012 13:34

I'm really not sure, when I start schooling she's very accepting and forward moving, and has no issues with the contact or bit.......unfortunately after a while she starts shaking her head up and down (not side to side) so that there's little or no contact, it's really disconcerting, I'm currently riding her in a French link fulmer bit. Do you have any suggestions as to a different bit? She is just in a normal snaffle bridle, with no flash. I will ask an instructor to watch my next session and see what they say.


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