Resolute's Story

Since I don't have a rescue horse yet to update you on, in the meantime I'll share some updates on my horse as I try to solve whatever is going on with her head. But don't worry. None of the money made from this site goes to her... she has a human. Any proceeds from the site will be saved for one who doesn't!


I bought her three years ago, knowing that she had some behavioral challenges. I spent a lot of time focusing on helping her relax and settle to reduce her anxiety. As I felt there was a physical cause at the root of a lot of her stress, I explored a number of possibilities: scoping for ulcers, evaluating her diet, regulating her hormones, etc. Eventually, I concluded that a lot of her sensitivity is focused around her head, and I realized that she seemed to fit the profile of a headshaker. Headshaking syndrome is a condition in which the trigeminal nerve in a horse's face misfires, causing unpleasant sensations for them. Unfortunately it's difficult to diagnose conclusively, especially in mild cases, and the factors contributing to it vary widely among different horses, so managing it involves a bit of guesswork and experimentation. Over the years, I've tried allergy medication, nose nets, UV-shielding fly masks, magnesium supplement, and even had a surgery on a potentially arthritic joint in her head this past winter. It really seemed like the surgery helped, but now that spring is here, the issue is coming back... So back to the drawing board of experimentation! I put a message in to our vet today to get her thoughts. I'm thinking I will probably try getting her some allergy pills again since this is now the third spring that it seems to be showing a seasonal pattern... Which could very well be related to allergies. She's a challenge, but I love her, and I really hope that I can help make her more comfortable! I'll keep you posted on her progress while we're waiting for a rescue horse to work with and give you updates on!

If you would like to learn more about headshaking syndrome, here is an article about it! Headshaking in Horses: A Sensitive Matter

JULY 18, 2020 UPDATE:

Resolute's headshaking issues are still bothering her. She's extra touchy/headshy on the ground, and exercising seems to exacerbate her discomfort. Both lunging and under saddle there is a lot of twitching, flipping, shaking, and of tossing her head, as well as a lot of excessive snorting. There has been some facial swelling as well, both on her cheek and through her throatlatch (see photos), in particular on the left side of her face, which is the side she is headshy and panicky about (she isn't always headshy, but periodically at times when her symptoms seem heightened she is). Her symptoms seem to be pretty minor and manageable through most of the year, but it seems like mid-June every year they come back in full force. I can typically ride and train her effectively through the early spring until about mid-June, and then her head shaking/twitching/etc comes back and she is too distracted to focus on the ride. Because of the seasonal component, we are wondering if allergies might be a factor. We ran an allergy panel, and the results should be back any day! Keeping my fingers crossed for some answers!

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