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A Sexy Rexy Update (with some vids)

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  • A Sexy Rexy Update (with some vids)

    Not sure what exactly the last update was about but I have just been trying to get Rex back into a program since being cleared for work after his broken splint.

    I have been lucky enough that Dean Graham (Mr Trainer) comes out to ride him even if I cant make it due to work so Rex has had good training in the meantime.

    Lately, I have been dealing with this head shaking THING. I cant say that its "head shaking syndrome" as it isnt all the time AND it actually gets better to the point of not happening as he is worked. Everything I have read says that true head shaking syndrome gets worse and worse the more the horse is exercised.

    Until this happened u/s a few weeks ago, you would not have thought any thing of it seeing him doing it in the field or in the cross ties. I have video from even 2 yrs ago with him playing in the field throwing his head and it looks like "sass". Or just standing around and just shaking off the flies. He did do it a few times last summer because my farrier would come later b/c it was so hot and it would be dark when Rex would get done. Being tall under lights means that the bugs flying around kept flying into his face and he doesnt like that at all.

    But now, Ive had a few rides where it really got in the way, to the point I had to get off as he was throwing his head so much I was getting unseated. His teeth were just done (trust me, amazing dentist that he sees every 6 months and was just done in Dec -I am in the human dental field so am uber picky about my horses teeth), feet are fine, saddle just adjsuted and fits perfect, no tack changes or issues, and it isnt every single time either.

    Last Wednesday I only had time to lunge and he was throwing his head so much at times he lost his balance and tripped a little. But again, eventually he works out of it but that time not as much. However 2 days later, it had rained and the dust and pollen was washed down and I lunged him and he threw his head some, cantered really forward on the lunge and blew his nose really hard like 3 times and then that was it. I got on and had a lovely w/t ride.

    Fast forward to last Tuesday and Dean came over for a lesson. I just got on, no lungeing. He started tossing the head and was getting pretty violent with it to the point that I got off and Dean got on to try to work him through it. But even Dean couldnt but it wasnt a "naughty" thing. So Dean took off his bridle and put on his halter and rode him w/t/c in just his halter and he still did it so it wasnt the bit bothering him. I then went ahead and lunged him for like 5-10 mins and then Dean got back on and he did it like 3 more times really small and then that was it. Dean got lovely work out of him. He only threw his head a few more times while I was hosing him off as the bugs were flying around (it was dark).

    It def seems worse when its really dry and dusty and the pollen is bad. I have him on spiriulina and another herb to help his immune system. I also have a nose net on the way along with an ear bonnet. He does it less in the field with his earred long nose fly mask on.

    So fast forward to today (sorry so long!) - I lunged him with a different bit. My current KK is 5" or 5.25" long and I just saw a little rub on the corner of his lips last week. So I ordered a 5.75" KK ultra but it wasnt here yet. I found a 5.5" single jointed snaffle that I put on today to see if the rings were pinching and causing the head tossing. So lunged in just the bridle and attached the lunge various ways and he still did the head tossing and all. After like 10 mins or so, he was no longer doing it. So I tacked him up and got on. Now I know it wasnt bugs bothering him this time b/c the wind was gusting up to 20mph today pretty constant and the bugs just couldnt hang out in the wind like that.

    Anyways, he did one little nose flick when I was trotting and that was it. I wasnt going to canter but he offered a lovely right lead and then we proceeded to the left. I rode a solid 15 mins w/t/c and other than the only little flick, nothing. Just like the other times, lunge him, he does it, works out of it, and then get on and ride with no issues.

    My friend was over and video'd for me. I uploaded it in 4 separate clips but with no editing (to make the files smaller for uploading). Its not perfect or anything but to come out on a just-back-to-work 4.5 y/o with the wind howling at times and w/t/c in the field, I was pretty impressed with him.

    The canter felt lovely. The trot, once I got him forward at the beginning, was wonderful. He was just a really good boy. I know the head tossing isnt him being resistant or anything. So Im just tracking everything I do and the conditions to see if I can pin point something.

    Oh and my holstic vet did stop by to check him out to make sure it wasnt TMJ related (shes dealt with a few head shakers that were due to that) and agreed his teeth are good and its not TMJ. His left sinus was a little swollen and the left eye leaked a little. I have some eye spray I used yesterday and already it looks better.

    So yeh. This got into such a wordy post. SORRY. But its a little complicated in dealing with this head thing esp when Im trying to remember everything Ive tried and all. Ive been researching this and was getting really disheartened because he does that "flicks his nose like a bug ran into it" thing mutliple times but again, the fly mask and work makes it go away, which is totally opposite of what all the research is saying. *sigh* Its always something!

    So anyways, the video clips. I had to lower the quality of the video so that I could get it uploaded in less than 4 hours for a 2 min clip so they arent SUPER clear. I am also in the process of grabbing stills but again, not really clear.

    The beginning - just walking - again no head shaking though

    This is where we pick up the trot. When hes near the tree and is distracted its because there was a BIG pile of dead palm leaves across the street that the wind was blowing all over.

    More trotting (some areas where I still am working on getting him not to blow through the outside rein) and then the right lead canter

    And then this is the left lead and some trotting.

    I have one more of the trotting at the end where I was working on getting him to slow the tempo by waiting for my seat and then stretching. He obviously is still gaining strength and balance and will speed up when stretching. But I still have to upload that.

    I just wanted to share. Rex is making his debut under saddle show on March 24th. Dean will be riding him in Training 2 and 3 and I will likely enter Intro B. Super excited about that.

    Oh and a link to photos from 2 weeks ago when Dean came by and rode him for me.

    And a pic from today - My friend brought her gelding over to board at my place and he and Rex are getting along well. Still a little testing here and there but really nothing much.


    Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!

  • #2
    I always love reading your Rex updates. Even coming back into work it is clear that he is such an athletic and talented young man. I won't even begin to guess about what is going on with the head tossing but I hope it is as simple as needing a larger bit. Hopefully we'll get to hear in a few weeks that his head tossing has totally disappeared.


    • #3
      I hope the head tossing stops, wish I had an idea of what it was or how to help you. He looked good int he video! Congrats! Believe be, I have been in your shoes, I know how thrilling this is.
      ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
      *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
      *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
      My Facebook


      • #4
        Hey, my lease mare also does the seasonal head-shaking thing. I agree, it is super frustrating.

        This sounds really dumb, but have you tried wiping out Rex's nostrils with a damp sponge or rag before you ride?

        I've been doing this before every ride on the mare, and I haven't had a head shaking ride since. We're coming up on Serious Pollen Season now, however, so my new awesome prevention method will be put to the ultimate test.


        • #5
          No idea on the head shaking but noticed one 1 vid right lead trot to canter he was turning nose to inside and brow to outside - so can use outside rein to fix that issue. (Although issue could be related to head tossing?)

          Soory to hear about his issues.
          Lovely horse.
          Now in Kentucky


          • Original Poster

            Thanks y'all.

            Yes I wipe his nose. I've really tried it all from what I've read online. So far just lungeing him works. ???

            Val, that trot to right lead canter was not planned. I wasn't going to canter due to the wind but he offered so I went with it.

            Tracking right he has a tendency to blow through the outside aids (weaker right hind) so sometimes I forget to stop using the inside to turn him when the outside fails lol. This whole riding a green horse thing is a learning experience! Lol

            Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!


            • #7
              I just went through a head shaking thing with my horse. Mine turned out to be from a sore back. He would also start with the head shaking and it was better with work or after being lunged, I guess because his back got warmed up. Hope that's not your issue!


              • #8
                I don't see any signs of head shaking syndrome in Rex. But then, I'm not a Vet.

                Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


                • #9
                  I didn't see a darn thing either--one little head flick in vid 2, but nothing to be concerned about IMO. You weren't showing us these vids to show us the head shaking, were you? Because I saw nothing but a green horse and a lovely amateur rider working well together!!

                  Does he vertically toss his head or horizontally? Because if it's horizontally, that's not head shaking, in the syndrome sense of the word.

                  I do know that my greenies have sometimes tested the contact with the reins and can shake their heads, or pull against them, then quickly release, just because they are unsure of your hands.


                  • Original Poster

                    No these videos are showing him NOT doing it.

                    He does a vertical flick, very violent at times, like a bug runs into his nose. At times it looks like he could fall because he unbalances himself so much. When I've read online about HSS, he does the "tic" multiple times. Its very acute and jerky.

                    Oddly enough yesterday I went to a friends to ride and lunged him and he didn't do it ONCE! But it was cloudy and super windy again.

                    I have some videos of him doing it in the cross ties. Ill try to see if I can get it uploaded.

                    Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!


                    • Original Poster

                      Oh and once he works out of it, he's steady and into my hands etc. Like yesterday once I got him working, we had a lovely connection. I did finally get my "new" kk ultra that is a little longer so maybe its that simple? But doesn't explain why he does it in the field or his stall.....

                      Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!