Bruce the Head Flicker
"Eleven months ago we found Bruce, a lovely big honest thoroughbred that had a scopey jump to match.
He was in paddock condition, lacked fat & muscle but had a beautiful shiny coat.
After a 5 week trial, my daughter was smitten. He was very happy to please in the arena but his ground manners were lacking & he was clearly irritated by our love & pampering.
He was in a grassless paddock, on a very basic hard feed & lots of grassy hay, but not gaining any weight. He was worked regularly & competed up to 1m until we decided to short spell him because he developed a hoof abscess & bruised heels. He was moved to a lush green paddock, put on a fattening diet of triple mix chaff, gumnuts, Zero, Livamol, chamomile, molasses, salt, joint supplement & Lucerne hay.
All this feed was extremely expensive and before long he was being mistaken for a Warmblood!
He looked incredibly fit & with skilful farrier work, his feet had improved dramatically. However, it was then we realised that whilst weight problem was solved, he had become hyper-sensitive & impossible under saddle.
He had started head-flicking under pressure but seemed ok most days with on the ground horsemanship. The changes in him were very unsettling & confusing.
At that point we were willing to try anything to get Bruce out of the distress he was in. We moved him to grassless Agistment with an excellent horse trainer & went back to basics of long reining & work without intimidation.
He was taken off Lucerne & only fed grassy hay, zero & salt. Soon after he had become desensitised but the head-flicking still persisted under saddle.
It was now 7 months on in the Bruce journey & we had only been able to compete him just a handful of times. It was then I read about head-flicking on the Calm Healthy Horses Facebook page & rang Vicky in a desperate mess.
She kindly came to assess Bruce & was able to confirm our concerns, Bruce was a confirmed head flicker.
Immediately he was taken off Zero, put on a Speedi beet, Copra, rice bran pellets, oaten chaff, more salt & CalmHealthyHorses supplements: SOS, Supreme Vit&Min & soon after, Shipshape to maintain his condition.
Within 3 months on the supplements we saw a huge improvement under saddle & he had really deepened in colour. He seemed so chilled we decided to try our luck with a grassy paddock again.
With the added help of GrazeEzy he continued to progress & after all the love, patience, micro management & correct diet, he's finally a happy boy & no head flicking!
Thankfully, we stumbled over the right people for support & expertise otherwise we may have never got through this with such determination.
We can't thank Vicky enough for her empathy, support & step by step advice. Without that, Bruce would've had a very different outcome. Jenny, your supplements turned Bruce's life around, for that we are so grateful.
Denika, Cleo & Bruce xxx