Head Twisting

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welshie
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Head Twisting

Postby welshie » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:56 pm

Hiya,

I wondered if anyone has come across this before - I have a TB on full loan, and I've noticed he does a weird thing with his head, where he twists it right round -- he sticks his nose up and out and twists his head right round (so the flat of his cheek is right underneath and almost parallel to the ground!) It looks really weird. He only does it when he's frustrated with something (say, if another horse is taken out of the field and he gets anxious and starts pacing, or if we're out on a hack and I ask him to walk apart from the others). I know he has an issue with separation and we are working on his independence but I just wondered if anyone had seen this really weird behaviour before??

ilovecandy
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Re: Head Twisting

Postby ilovecandy » Wed May 23, 2012 1:44 pm

It sounds like he is just expressing himself when he is irritated, he may have learnt that this technique can get him out of having to do what you want. I have seen horses and ponies do this, particularly naughty ponies who just dont really want to do as they are told. Horses that grind their teeth seem to favour the cheek down head twist as well.

It may be worth getting his teeth checked out just in case.

Expert_LizPitman
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Re: Head Twisting

Postby Expert_LizPitman » Thu May 24, 2012 8:06 pm

I'll nudge John to answer this, but in the meantime it is something I've seen a couple of horses do in the same situations, so separation from others. To be absolutely honest, I'm not sure why they pick that particular movement, especially those who do it in the field, but it is their way of expressing their worry.

Just picking up on ilovecandy's reply, I personally don't see any horses as "naughty". They are horses, who will generally do as they are asked if they are asked nicely to do something that they understand, that they don't have a reason not to do and that they do have a reason to do, even if that is just to please us. Horses who don't want to do what they are told and try to get out of things are saying something is a problem for them, and it is our role to listen, make what they find hard achievable and give them reasons to work with us.

Rather than working on his independance, I'd be working on upping your leadership so that it's you he relies on, not other horses, especially when out hacking. The more he can feel safe because he trusts you, the less he'll need other equines.

Absolute_shambles
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Re: Head Twisting

Postby Absolute_shambles » Fri May 25, 2012 1:50 pm

I've seen horses do this when they are trying to evade something too

Expert_LizPitman
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Re: Head Twisting

Postby Expert_LizPitman » Fri May 25, 2012 4:18 pm

I've seen horses do this when they are trying to evade something too
Which then begs the question "what's he trying to evade?". An uncomfortable bit? A heavy hand on the reins? A request to do something he doesn't think he can or has other reason not to want to do? So yes, I agree a horse may do it to evade something, and it is then up to us to establish what and why, and then work to address that so he no longer has a problem with it.

Expert_JohnJones
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Re: Head Twisting

Postby Expert_JohnJones » Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:02 pm

Hi Welshie,
Apologies for not replying sooner, I suggest you get your TB's teeth, back and tack checked to eliminate any sources of discomfort. If he has any thing uncomfortable then when he is stressed it might be more annoying for him hence his head movement. Take a look at this website: http://www.acpat.org/ to find a fully qualified physio in your area. If they find anything they are not sure about they can work alongside your equine vet to help him with any tension in his back and the best course of action. It might be a habit or a memory of past discomfort but the best thing to do is to get him fully checked.
Once you are certain there is no discomfort there you can then work on building his confidence in learning to cope with being on his own. Building up the time gradually so he learns he always goes back to his friends.
Obviously without seeing him I can only make suggestions
Good luck and keep up posted
Best Wishes
John
[email protected]
www.horselistener.co.uk


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