View Full Version : Twitching...how does it work?
Following on from post re:Sedatives...what is everyone thoughts on how twitching works. I have been told that it is not through pain factor but in fact twitching encourages the horse to release endorphins which relax them. Which would stand true of my guy as he gets quite heavy eyed with a twitch. Also been told by a well qualified vet that ear twitching is a major no-no as more often than not it severs the tiny bone/tendon (cant remember which) that no-one ever thinks about being there! Not that I ever ear twitch anyway...to me that is purely a pain infliction! Bit like being a bully maybe!!
that's correct re: endorphins. Sometimes though it works better on some horses than it does on others.
There's also a spot in the neck that if you pinch it, same thing happens with muzzle twitching, endorphins are released and the horse relaxes. (Similar to what showpony was talking about in the sedatives post).
My horses are completely different in how they react to muzzle twitches. The big boofy TB goes into the gooey trance, supporting the release of endorphins theory.
The other one, however, hates the twitch and really only stands stock still because he's too scared to move (in pain?) - hence I'm not keen on using the twitch on this horse if I can get away with it. This horse has a really short muzzle, so much so that even experienced vets find it difficult to get the twitch to stay on and not slip off. He just doesn't seem to have enough lip for it to get a firm grip so I wonder if this effects his potential for endorphin release?
My horses are also different in the way that they react to the twitch. My TB mare, goes all dopey and stands totally still. However my filly can not be twitched at all and reacts quite violently if you do so, so I no longer even attempt to twitch her any more. She also reacts violently if you attempt to pinch the pressure point in her neck.
If the twitch supposidly releases endorphins then would not that mean that it should work on all horses and encourage them to relax??
When the twitch is applied, the pressure hurts, it's like someone grabbing your own lip and constricting it.
Basically it hurts enough to make the horse release endorphins to ease the pain.
It does take a few minutes to kick in, and some horses have higher pain thresholds than others, so there is no hard and fast rule as to which horses it will work on.
Ear twitching is a NO NO, delicate muscles can be crushed and damaged permanently very easily around the ear. Don't ever let anyone do this to your horse with their hand or a twitch.
I hate twitching (because I'm a soft c:::) but it often works wonderfully. I actually know a filly who is 'addicted' - if you come near her with a twitch or look like you may grab to her, she pokes out her upper lip in anticipation. Once the twitch is applied you should wait until the horse begins to look a bit dreamy. Even though I hate twitches, they are certainly much kinder than fighting with the horse or grabbing it by the ear (apart from potential damage, usually just makes them headshy).
Alternatively, a neck twitch works pretty well also .. grab a fold of skin (about middle of their neck) and twist, hang on tight because the horse may try to shake you off at first, but then should settle. Again, one very smart-alec gelding that I was obliged to wrestle only needed that once and from then on stood beautifully with only a finger touching his neck - not really the way it is meant to go but who cares, no more fights.
My farrier will use a twitch on my boy when putting back shoes on because horse tends to pull away just as the nail is driven in and leaves quite a nasty gash on farriers leg. I don't like the twitch either but i have only had to use it once. Since then my boy has decided it's not so bad behaving himself. My husband strictly prohibits the use of the twitch because he loves horsey's big flapping lips and thinks they will get damaged ( lol, this is coming from someone who thinks motorbikes rule the earth)
I had the same problem as Rosco, farrier couldn't get the back shoes on (& lost his temper & whacked her which did not help things...) Tried a twitch but she just thrashed about and then sat down on her haunches. Found out by new (and very welcome) farrier that she has very small feet & therefore needs very small nails - poor thing. I now know to specify this to any new farriers (& make sure they are gentle handlers before beginning).
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