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Thoughts of a senior rider - Horse's heads and Trauma

Thoughts of a senior rider

Horse's heads

How many of us have seen our horses or someone else’s horse do a number on their head, whether from pulling back or rearing or a fall. I would imagine most of us have seen our animals do that. Until I started watching dissections and taking biomechanics courses, I admit that I did not totally understand the damage and consequences of these traumas on them.

I just attended an online dissection with my mentors from Equine Studies NL and Functional Horse Training on a horse that had such a trauma along with ECVM. The behaviours and physical condition of this horse showed us so much, before and after the dissection.

Which raised the question in my mind, of why I had never thought that horses could have the same head issues that humans have when they have had trauma. Along with the fact that horses have an area just behind the poll that is especially vulnerable to injury if pulled on or pressed on.  (between C1 and C2).  How these injuries affect the nerves, spinal cord and brain just did not enter my mind.  We now have all these protocols in place for humans, but what do we do for our equine partners when they have a head /neck injury? We need to be able to recognize the signs and how to treat them. What is brain trauma and what is injury?  What is affected within the body; neurological, brain-gut connection and what to watch for after an accident?  

Now that I am aware it explains so much in the animals that I have seen over the years.

When I was in college, I was given a foal to work with, that pulled back, during a training session, so hard he fell over. Over the next few days, he exhibited some extreme behaviours including rearing, bolting, running into fences and spookiness at everything. He then ran into a gate and broke his foreleg and was put down. 

In thinking back, I now know that this colt must have had a brain trauma from this incident to have caused such extreme behaviour.  I have and always will feel guilty about this colt but did not understand what could have caused everything. We tied the weanling to a post and let him fight a bit. It was just the way things were done in those days.

As I learn more about this topic I will share, but for now …

Every day I am learning more and question more about these incredible animals that allow us to be in our lives. 



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