Head shaking while being ridden

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by TraceyT, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. TraceyT

    TraceyT Full Member

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    A friend of mine just bought a Hungarian warmblood. He is 5yrs old and green broke. She bought him sight unseen from another friend of mine through video.
    As a two year old he cut his hind leg in a fence (grass being greener on the other side) the cut left a nasty bump on his cannon and the vet thinks maybe some kind of other damage but can't really say.
    He is sound to jump and has never really been lame. Just a few days after it became infected. That was 3 yrs ago that this accident happened.

    He has a great temperment and other than the odd buck when fresh he is fine to ride. He can jump the moon and that is what sold him to my friend. His knees are text book perfect.

    Now the problem. The sale videos only had a small clip of him tossing his head and I know the friends who took it and they would not doctor it so that is not the problem. I know this horse as I have seen him since he was a yearling and he had no issues.

    His new owner noticed him tossing his head when she first rode him after he arrived at her place.
    He does it now whenever he is ridden, even with different riders. Saddles have been changed, bridles changed. bits switched, different pads, you name it everything.
    Lungeing with tack, without, free lungeing with and without tack. Everything.

    She just had her vet out to do a complete exam and he has no soreness anywhere. Back, legs, whithers, teeth have been checked. You name it full run up.

    She is now to the point of defeat and not knowing what to do.
    I am posting a link to his video from yesterday that the vet took.

    With all this does anyone have any ideas?????
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE6NFBm4lyU"]YouTube - Remington - CSHA Gelding[/ame]

    She really likes this horse and does not wish to give him up without it being her last resort.
    He is wtc and jumping but he is very green so should go back to being flatted.
     






  2. JBandRio

    JBandRio Senior Member+

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    I can't see YT from work :( so will just offer up this until I can see it later tonight:

    Has she tried riding him in a fly mask? I ask because it is possible you're dealing with a photosensitivity issue. If the head tossing is reduced or eliminated with the mask, this is most likely the issue.

    Alterantively, it would be worth riding him without a noseband on the bridle to see if that has been pressing on a nerve.
     
  3. BriLeigh

    BriLeigh Senior Member

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    Those are some really good ideas.
    My mare tosses her head when she gets excited and wants me to let her go, like when we would jump or getting ready to start drill or something. She would usually only do this if my reins have contact. My jumping and dressage instructors both told me that when she throws her head up to thump her with my leg or to circle her.
    Although, this seems to be different.

    Just thought I would share my experience with the head tossing.
     
  4. poajumper

    poajumper Full Member

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    We have an old gelding who had always tossed his head and shook his ears, till we got him a different bridle. Since this horse is a warmblood, I'm guessing he has a pretty big nogin! Make sure his ears aren't being pinched were the browband is. I see you said all different tack has been tried - but it may take a while for him to realize it. Otherwise, I used to ride a mare who would shake her head and I would fuss and try to "fix" it for her, poor baby ....till her owner told me she was just goofing off and being naughty and as soon as I got firm and told her to quit she never did it again. Best wishes with him!!
     
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  5. dare2ride

    dare2ride Registered

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    my friend had this horse that started shaking his head occationally at first but as he got older it became so bad that he was unridable. I forget the name of the condition he was finally diagnosed with(it was rare) but it was caused by sunlight, which majorly triggered pain and sensations in the nerves of his face. they couldn't ride him because the bridle or halter applied pressure to the nerves increasing the head shaking vigorously. they found that tinted fly masks helped a little but that there was no cure to the problem. they ended up stalling him in the day in a DARK stall and turning him out at night. I dont know if your horse has this condition (because it is rare) but this is my two cents for unexplained head shaking.
     
  6. royalrox

    royalrox Senior Member+

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    are his teeth ok? JB had some really good ideas...also not to be pessimistic or anything lol but one of my friends had a horse who started this, turned out he had a neorological problem...along with a lot of other issues but hey lol...hopefully its not that though, he's lovely:)
     
  7. jackiesbabyjet

    jackiesbabyjet Senior Member

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    My sisters 2 year old slings her head all the time. She does it when you lunge her, ride her and lead her... Its just a bad habit. We are fixing it with a standing martingale.. to keep her from slinging her head up..
     
  8. Appylvr

    Appylvr Senior Member+

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    I have dial-up, so it makes it practically impossible to watch videos... It looked like it was in an arena? Is it enclosed? Has your friend noticed if the horse tosses his head the same way when he's just turned out?

    I saw the first few seconds and I agree with the photosensitivity idea...

    A friend has an older QH/Arab gelding with this. It took them a long time to diagnose it and when they did it was because the vet had just seen it diagnosed in another horse.

    She rides hers in a hackamore with this little net over his nose. On really sunny days she will keep a fly mask on him when she's riding. Otherwise when he's turned out, she keeps him in his stall on bright days with two fly masks on and he's fine.

    He was getting so bad that she couldn't ride him anymore... but as soon as she put those little things on his nose he was fine. (I don't know what they're called or where she bought them... they kindof look like a flymask that fits around the nose)

    Oh! And I almost forgot... he also has cancer in his jaw... so that pain sometimes makes him shake his head. I remember my friend said it's like a different shake or something though. I'm sure that's not the problem with your friend's horse though... this gelding is in his mid twenties.
     
  9. JBandRio

    JBandRio Senior Member+

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    Ok, I saw the video - cute horse!

    This isn't a photosensitivity deal, this is a greenie/training deal. What *I* would do for a while is lengthen the reins and ride him on a loose rein at the walk and trot - weeks if you have to. Use one rein to slow him down if he gets jiggy like he did a bit there.

    He is tense and "up", taking short quick steps. He's faced with a rein that is too short for what his body is doing. The reins would be a great length if the rider had leg on him, he was engaging his hind quarters, lifting his back, and working up over his back and neck into a receiving hand. But he cannot possibly do that while being this tense/nervous.

    So, loose rein, w/t, countless w/t transitions, lots of changes of direction, serpentines, figures 8s, etc. He has to learn to relax. If that doesn't come, NOTHING else will come, period.

    A big mistake many people make on a horse like this is to take their leg off. Put it on and keep it there, softly hugging his side - like a wet towel. Do not take it off if he speeds up, just quietly use your body and one rein to slow him down again. If he just walks faster, for example, that's fine. But if he jigs or breaks to a trot - one rein. If he's trotting and gets nervous/tense and breaks to the walk, that's fine - re-establish a relaxed walk and ask for the trot again. If his trot gets speedier and speedier, bring him back to the walk, but don't let it get speedy to begin with. Every time you can interrupt the speedy/nervous/tense pattern, you create a better frame of mind.

    As he relaxes and stretches out his body and figures out balance, his head tossing will stop. Just ignore that for now though, it's not the problem, it's just a symptom.
     
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  10. tbtrainer

    tbtrainer Senior Member+

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    I agree with JB... and I have to say cute horse too!

    What is it with these Hungarians??? My friend has a very nice stallion... he was supposed to be her upper level Event horse...he tore off half his back leg in a metal gate...he survived, and has thrown some nice babies, but never was able to be ridden.

    She just lost a two yr old Hungarian a few months ago... practically ripped off a hind leg getting hung up on a fence he was attempting to jump...

    I'm wondering if you know who the sire is of this one?
     






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