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wticer

Head Shaking After 10 Minutes Of Work On Lounge Line, Bridle Or Halter

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My mare starts work on lounge line wearing a break away halter without complaint. After several minutes, she violently shakes her head every couple of steps. Under saddle she does the same thing whether riding with a bit (snaffle) or hackamore. Any thoughts as to why?

She is a healthy 10 year old.

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I've got some ideas I'll mention for your consideration. Since she does this with halter and bit/bridle and whether she is ridden or not, I wouldn't think it is a mouth or saddle issue but something does appear to be going on with her head. Perhaps her ears? Also, have you looked into head shaking syndrome? www.headshakingsyndrome.com I assume you've ruled out bug avoidance and tack fit.

Questions: Does she shake her head at liberty? At what gaits (all or only the faster gaits) does she shake her head?

Others will have more, and/or better, suggestions and questions to narrow the parameters by getting a closer look at what you and your horse are doing so they can answer more completely. I hope someone is able to help you both.

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Thanks for the idea. I can rub her ears and put a finger inside and rub without any difficulty. The head shaking gets started after about 10 minutes of work (liberty included). I will look at the headshaking syndrome article. Although I have no evidence to back me up, I'm beginning to think it is a case of being barn sour. She was getting a good deal of work over the winter and early spring, but the heat the last month has caused me to really cut back on riding. If the weather cools a bit, I will try a longer ride (2+ hours) and see if she quits.

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Better idea would be to see if she is out at the poll, and the headgear is causing pain there.

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If she's not flinching or reacting at ear pressure, then I suspect ozland is on to something.

If she only started doing this when it got hot, then I WILL ask...how bad are the flies?

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I would highly reccomend having a chiropractor or equine body worker(massage) work on your mare. I would strongly suspect that your mare is having muscle tension issues. These issues can lead to more serious problems of not taken care of. You have a great opportunity to work on this since you have been so observant and noticed that there is something going on! Kudos to you for being so observant.

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We have one I can only describe as his forelock blows like open curtains and annoys his ears I think. I tuck his forelock under his brow band or plait it and he is fine, no head shaking.

Other normal causes however are pain, allergies or tight fitting browbands/tack fit. Rule out them and see what you're left with :) physio, dentist etc for pain, nosenet and allergy relief if it could be that and double check your browband and fits ok and the rest of your tack.

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