Horse head shaking can have multiple causes, and some of them can be serious medical issues. It can point to allergies, muscle spasms, respiratory issues, neurological problems, vision conditions, insect or parasite disturbances, and more.
But sometimes, a horse shakes his head for very simple reasons.
Take Paulette’s Quarter Horse, for example.
Cam suddenly became a head shaker, and it was downright scary for a while.
Just yesterday, this sweet nine-year-old Palomino gelding stood in the cross ties in the barn aisle and shook his head, while his owner gave him a thorough grooming.
After currying off huge clumps of winter hair and mud, Paulette tacked up her horse and led him into the indoor riding arena. Paulette and Cam stood in the center of the ring for a while, waiting for lesson traffic to subside a bit.
And Cam started the head shaking thing again.
Paulette asked a few horsey pals to take a look at her horse. They looked in his eyes. They peeked into his ears. They fiddled with his bridle, checking for proper fit. They examined the bit.
A fellow boarder piped up that it might be EPM. (“Thanks for playing. Not really helpful this time.”)
(EPM stands for Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis.)
The devoted horse owner considered calling her equine veterinarian. But she decided to give it a day or two and see if the situation resolved itself.
The next morning, Paulette went to the stables to check on Cam. A resident trainer pointed out how the barn roof was dripping, right over the aisle cross ties, as the snow on the roof melted. He showed Paulette a big puddle on the floor.
Together, they stepped into the arena and examined the spot where Paulette and Cam had stood on the previous day. Sure enough, the sand footing was soupy in that exact spot. They looked up and saw the drip-drip-drip from the ceiling too.
Another vet call averted!
Sure, horse head shaking can be a weighty matter. But this time, it wasn’t.
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