Twitching?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by eventinggal58, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. eventinggal58

    eventinggal58 Senior Member

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    How exactly does twitching a horse work? I have never done it....
    but when I was little I was told it just "keeps the horse distracted".
    Is that true? or does it hit a nerve that kinda "calms" them?
    I am just interested as I was suggested to try a twitch on my filly next time we get he feet done, shes great about letting me mess around with her hooves, but whenever we get the farrior out she has a spazz attack.:rolleyes:
     






  2. Blistering Winds

    Blistering Winds Senior Member+

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    There are theories of "endorphins". They "calm" the horse.

    There is the lip twitch, gum twitch, ear twitch, skin twitch.....(found on shoulder/neck)


    Ever notice if you get "hurt", you then reach a "calming" sensation? (If you've been hurt a lot....you'll know what i"m talking about)


    it is the body's way of shutting down the area so you can "Fly" from the area and survive if you are hurt....

    http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=55001


    Some horses it works great on. Others it doesn't. Sage, my old mare...wouldn't respond. Blister, you can do open heart surgery on him.... LMAO
     
  3. calypsoscarnivl

    calypsoscarnivl Senior Member+

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    Twitching supposedly releases "feel good" endorphines.

    When my gelding coliced last week and had to have a naso-gastric tube passed the vet twitched him, and it relaxed him significantly (he already had max drugs allowed on board)

    He had never been twitched before and I was actually impressed with it's efficacy.
     
  4. eventinggal58

    eventinggal58 Senior Member

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    Ohh alright I can understand why they recommened it to me now... thanks for the info!
    ahahaha thats hilarious about Blister! rofl!! haha that made my day!
     
  5. eventinggal58

    eventinggal58 Senior Member

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    Glad to hear it does help! So it is something you would recommend? anyone ever had a bad experience with it?
     
  6. calypsoscarnivl

    calypsoscarnivl Senior Member+

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    I would definatly twitch my gelding again and I would try it on my mares if a need arose.

    I can see some horses really hating it, though....
     
  7. Rusti0183

    Rusti0183 Senior Member+

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    Lol funny that a threat about twitching popped up, I had to twitch one of my mares for the first time today to worm her...I didn't use an actual twitch though, just my hand. Took her wormer like a champ once I had ahold of her precious little nose :)
     
  8. Fasterhorses

    Fasterhorses Full Member

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    Also, the effectiveness time varies and can be fairly short on some horses and releasing and reapplying sometimes no longer works.

    At an endurance ride several years ago one of our local vets did some testing with a nose twitch. Horses with a high pulse would have the twitch applied and the heart rate would drop 20-30bpm in 20-30sec and the horse became visibly calmer. When the twitch was released the HR would rise but not as high as before. Not scientific but interesting.

    One good use of a twitch can be to get an injured (or scared) horse to stand still for a minute so you can untangle them from something or give a trank shot.
     
  9. blakhawq

    blakhawq Senior Member

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    My friends got a horse that was ear twitched excessively, and he became horribly head-shy because of it. Reversing the damage and getting him over it took a lot of time and patience. Don't know how tall he is, but boy could he lift that head into orbit if he didn't know or trust you and he thought you were going for his head!

    I much prefer the neck or nose/lip if a twitch has to be used.

    On a side note, if you got a hold of Deuce, (the donkeys) ears, and stuck your fingers IN them and rubbed the insides and outsides at the same time, you could do anything you wanted to him, he'd lean his head on you and fall asleep standing there. No twitch needed, lol.
     
  10. silvia

    silvia Senior Member+

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    A nose twitch (a proper one with rope not those humane twitches that don't really work) works by crushing the skin of the nose. It is quite uncomfortable for the horse as the nerves go into overload, and then the pain gives them I believe a rush of endorphins. So you are kinda making them stoned :wink:

    The correct way to employ a twitch is to use it before the horse gets upset. Once the horse is agitated he has adrenaline going that will ruin the useful effect of a twitch.

    The twitch should be applied until the horse rolls the white of his eye, and then backed off until the white disappears. Then you wait about 3 minutes for it to take effect.

    The twitch can be clipped to the halter or the lead rope can be wound around the shank of the twitch handle to ensure it doesn't come off, should the horse throw himself about.

    When you get started doing your job (be it clipping etc) the person in charge of the twitching can begin to play the twitch. By loosening and tightening it as needed, the opportunity becomes available to help the horse learn to cope with the procedure by itself, while keeping it under control. This is far better than just leaving a twitch on 'full bore' which will not allow the horse to learn anything, although he will stand still.

    A twitch should only be on for a maximum of 40 minutes after which you are risking permanent nerve damage to the horse's nose. If a procedure is going to take longer, then sedation or doing the procedure in parts should be considered.

    Removing the twitch should be done slowly, and then the horse's nose should be rubbed gently to help circulation and ease discomfort.
     






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