Jack was left neglected by his owner at a boarding barn I was volunteering at when I was in college. He was a 12 year-old Thoroughbred. I started taking care of him personally, and got him healthy and brought him home when I graduated. He started headshaking in spring of 2015. He was light sensitive, rubbing his muzzle, and would violently twitch his head. He was miserable and I was miserable watching him. He was my first horse and I knew nothing about head-shakers.
My vet gave me the usual suggestions to try and minimize the symptoms, but pretty much said that this is just something that we would have to deal with. I tried everything such as body work, chiropractic, cranial sacral work, and dental. While all these things helped some, it still persisted enough that I kept trying to figure out how to help him.
I started researching everything and found a website that addressed head-shaking and nutrition. I tried to find feed that had the ingredients I wanted but mainly excluded the ones that exacerbate head-shaking. I couldn’t find any, so that led me to find Karen Bates, an equine nutritionist that promoted a whole food approach. I switched Jack to a diet of Coolstance, Speedibeet, alfalfa pellets, flax, and salt. I pulled him off pasture, because grass can cause imbalances and put him in a dry lot with free choice hay. She suggested BioStar just as a multivitamin, and it had several ingredients I liked so I tried Optimum EQ. The headshaking ceased in a few months. I put him back out on pasture but kept him on this diet. The next spring it returned, though much milder. I believe with the improved diet his body was able to maintain its balance better, as the head-shaking stayed pretty mild.
This spring I had a feeling may be a hard season for Jack with the amount of rain we had, so I started doing research again to see if I could find something that would help stay ahead of the symptoms. Rebound EQ has several ingredients that are crucial for most headshakers. It has several minerals plus ingredients to aid in detox. It helps with cellular health, muscle health and GI health and none of the ingredients would exacerbate the problem. I started him on it before Spring came and he only had a few days where he looked like he might have a little light sensitivity, but otherwise he hasn’t shown any signs. I plan to keep him on it until the season has changed, but I’ve been so thrilled that he isn’t having the symptoms. Biostar’s products are above and beyond what I could’ve hoped for in helping my guy, and they are my go to whenever my horses need something extra to help optimize their health.”
Thanks to Arielle Sabina for her story and photos!