Head Shaker

Head shaking is the sudden, intermittent and apparently involuntary tossing of the head. Most horses will shake their head occasionally but abnormal head shakers often exibit this behaviour whilst being ridden or for no apparent reason.

Clinical signs include sudden and apparently involuntary, vertical tossing of the head when ridden (which may be horizontal or rotary), flipping of the nose or upper lip, excessive snorting and rubbing of the nose.

There are many reasons a horse may head shake including pollen allergies, teeth problems, uncomfortable tack and sinus related problems.

Can Equissage help?

There is no definitive answer.

Much depends on whether the cause can be identified but in most cases investigation has proved fruitless. Unfortunately headshaking is a poorly understood phenomenon and treatments have been met with limited success. The fact that in the majority of cases the horse is fine when worked from the ground could suggest that the syndrome may be related to the nervous system resulting in headshaking due to ill-fitting tack or teeth problems, although this is not known with any degree of certainty.

If there is a connection with the nervous system then the effects of the deep cycloidal massage that reaches even the most distal areas of the body may help to stimulate (and repair if that is the case) nerve/nerve endings. If the condition is due to a constriction of fluid vessels somewhere in the body which causes negative response messages to be transmitted to the brain, then again the penetrating massage may help to open up such vessels. However this is speculative and it is really a case of experimenting to see if Equissage can help the individual but its use certainly can do no harm.


As there are no guidelines to work from then experiment with the Pad and monitor the horse on a daily basis. So over equal periods of time, try daily use, alternate days, every two days and look for any significant changes. Your input will prove valuable to the Equissage team.