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The Hoover

Hoover's Before and After Video, from being completely unrideable to a great riding horse.

The Hoover came to me in April 2016.

He was a confirmed head flicker and after having a horse put down many years ago due to head flicking, I wanted the chance to see if we could get it right this time.

Hoover was also explosive and anything but calm!

It was a bumpy road, the slightest bit of green grass would set him off every time I thought we were on top of it.

He was able to live out on pasture as it was a very dry year and the grass was old and dried off, but as soon as spring hit, with the accompanying rain, he was taken off the grass and the herd went into my large dry lot for the remainder of spring on 24/7 hay.
He was a fed a plain feed (twice daily) of oaten chaff, linseed meal and beet. To this I added salt, Premium NZ Horse Minerals, SOS and GrazeEzy.

His progress was up and down but after a couple of months he was no longer flicking while free in the dry lot - this was great progress.
The problem was that, as soon as I started to work him and put any pressure on him, the flick would be back.

The answer; as frustrating as it was - more time.


Hoover Head Flicking while loose in the round pen.

Finally, about 6 months into his rehab, Hoover stopped head flicking altogether.

After another couple of months to make sure there was absolutely no sign of any flicking, he went to Abigail Smithies to be retrained as a riding horse.

Abigail rang me this morning – “he is brilliant’ she said, ‘nothing wrong with him, we’ve been cantering him around, have jumped him on the lunge and not a flick in sight, he’s a lovely horse’.

It was a long road but well worth persevering.

The longer a horse has been flicking, the longer it takes to turn around and this has taken the best part of a year.
I just wish I'd known what to do before I lost my beautiful Tb, Phantom to head flicking all those years ago.

Compare the first video when we tried to ride him after only 6 weeks of rehab, with the second video of him taken this morning.

*Another point is that when he came he also was very 'slack' in his hocks and down on his pasterns. Overall now he is a lovely strong and sound moving horse."

Cathy Dee

photography Cathy Dee


Hoover when he first arrived, on his toes, flighty and head flicking. Note also the lax pasterns.


Several months later & hoover has improved out of sight. You can see even in this photo that his pastern strength has improved. His coat is shiny despite it being winter and he is no longer head flicking.


Hoover became quite the 'ladies man'.

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