Headshaking - why do horses headshake?
Headshaking can make a horse or pony
almost unrideable - it certainly limits his competitive abilities.
A horse will headshake for a number
- Irritation in the nasal tracts This irritation can
be caused by an allergic reaction to dust, pollen spores etc.
- Discomfort in the mouth due to tooth problems,
badly fitting or sharp bit
or bridle - have the horse or pony's teeth examined and check the fitting
of his tack. he presence of wolf teeth can create discomfort
and result in headshaking.
- Ear disease. Middle ear disorders, guttural pouch
infections and ear mites can all cause headshaking in a horse.
- Other disorders - nasal disease and eye disorders can
also be causes of headshaking.
- Spinal pain or impingement such as kissing spines.
If the horse's spine is out of alignment or the nerves are pinched this
can cause sudden headshaking or twitching. Have the horse examined by
a vet, or equine chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist.
- Stress or anger. Some riders complain
that their horses headshake when schooled but not when being ridden
out. This could be for several reasons, but it is possible thart the
arena surface, if dry and dusty, could be irritating the horse.
Another cause could be that the horses is put under additional mental
or physical stress whilst being schooled
and develops the habit of headshaking as an evasion
or in response to muscular or nervous tension or pain..
- Mineral deficiency. It has been suggested that some
horses may develop headshaking if their diet is deficient in magnesium.
In very wet areas where minerals are leached form the soil magnesium
deficiency can occur in pastures. Some vets have linked this deficiency
with headshaking. This would make sens as magnesium is vital for proper
muscle and nerve function.
- Exposure to light - Some vets believe that in some
horses light over stimulates the eye, which leads to irritation similar
to hay fever. This is referred to as photic headshaking
Stop Headshaking - why do horses headshake? What a causes a pony to