Podcast Episode 8: Ghost in the machine (spooky horses)

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Are horses supposed to be spooky?

Yes, they’re “flight animals” so they can be “reactive”.

But if your horse (or horses you know) are super-spooky, there’s a few things you want to check.

These include:

    Head misalignment (yep, the head can be “on crooked”)

    Weird teeth and TMJ issues

    Heavy metals in the brain

Listen to the Horse Mysteries Solved podcast episode about the super-spook now.

Links mentioned:



Renee Tucker (00:01)
Hello, my friends, Dr. Renee Tucker here just wanted to do a quick podcast about the super spook horses. Alright, so we all know horses can be spooky some more than others. And by spooky I mean, they get startled easily, they jump sometimes they run off, kind of get that tension in their body, and they just kind of freak out basically. And all horses can do this to some extent because they are, after all, fight or flight animals.

Renee Tucker (00:32)
So when they’re scared, they would like to run away. But hopefully they’ve been trained well enough to not run us over and stuff like that. But you probably may know or at least have heard of some horses that are so spooky, it’s like their brain has left the building. I was working on a horse one time. Oh, shoot.

Renee Tucker (00:54)
I was doing some acupuncture and he was perfectly fine. And then something else spooked him and he literally ran through the cross ties. He was cross tied, ran through the cross ties and then kind of hit the arena wall. It was like he was blind, but he was just freaked out. And you know how people if a horse is running around, like to kind of stand in front of them and wave their arms to try to get them, hey, pay attention, calm down.

Renee Tucker (01:22)
Yeah, that didn’t work. The horse was literally like gone. It was so weird. So I’ve known a few horses like that. I didn’t know what was wrong with that horse at the time I saw it.

Renee Tucker (01:34)
But I have some good clues for you now if you happen to know one of these super spooked horses. So the first thing to look at is going to be alignment of the Atlas and occiput . The second thing is some weird things like terrible teeth and TMJ issues can get some nerve pain to the brain and head. It’s too intense. They just can’t even deal with it.

Renee Tucker (02:00)
And they go into a super spooky episode. And then the third thing is heavy metals or toxins that can be in the brain, affecting ability to think. Okay, so just a little bit more detail on those three things. First of all, the alignment of the Atlas and the occiput . The Atlas is the first vertebra of the neck, and the occiput is actually the back of the skull.

Renee Tucker (02:25)
So that area is right where the spinal cord goes through from the brain to the neck. So if you can imagine, there’s a nice little spinal cord where all your nerves are at and it’s twisted. All right, if things are misaligned, they’re not connected properly and that can put stress or tension or pressure literally on the spinal cord. So I definitely know some horses just by aligning their Atlas and possibly the occiput, they get so much relief and they can sink and they just calm down instantaneously when you fix that. That can also happen to horses which are head shy I’ve seen so many horses, hundreds easily.

Renee Tucker (03:10)
But I’ve gone to take a look at them and the owner was telling me, be careful because they’re a little head-shy. I’m pretty sure they’re probably eared as a baby. And so eared, at least in the US, refers to people who are restraining baby horses by holding onto an ear and a tail, but definitely twisting the ear. So then the theory is that they get head-shy, which who can blame them? However, 90% of the time they’ve actually had their Atlas misaligned.

Renee Tucker (03:41)
So that’s not an ear problem. It might have happened when they were earned as a baby. It could work as a theory, but actually they just need their head straightened because their head is literally crooked when the atlas or occiput is misaligned. So that’s the first thing to check if you’ve got a spooky horse at all or a super spook. The second thing is just weird stuff with the teeth.

Renee Tucker (04:06)
Teeth nerves, TMJ teeth floating. I knew this horse one time was an older horse and she just liked to keep him checked out. And she said, well, you know, he’s perfectly fine. I want to say he’s 28, like really older. He’s perfectly fine.

Renee Tucker (04:23)
She said, except when you back him up, I’m like, okay, so what do you mean? She’s like, I don’t really want to do it. She said, okay, that’s fine. But do you want to just tell me? Well, he kind of like rears up and flips out.

Renee Tucker (04:36)
And so long story short, I saw this horse several times and never saw the problem. And what it turned out is that when he went to back up, he lifted his head a little bit, which tipped the angle of his jaw. And this poor guy had the hugest hooks. So that’s extra improperly grown teeth, like two inches or like four or five centimeter hooks. I’m not joking.

Renee Tucker (05:05)
They were that long that they were literally pushing into the upper jaw. So the teeth on the bottom, the hooks were pushing into the upper jaw. So he somehow managed to eat. He didn’t lose weight. It’s so weird.

Renee Tucker (05:22)
I don’t know how he did it, but when he went to move back, it just tipped his head in this angle and it actually made him rear up and sometimes flip over backwards because the pain was absolutely unbearable. Intractable. And he just flip out, literally flip over that poor thing. Oh, my goodness. So yes, after those hooks were removed, he stopped doing that.

Renee Tucker (05:47)
So that’s a weird one. But there are a lot of weird things that go along with tooth pain. If you’ve ever had a tooth abscess yourself, tooth pain can be really intense. Same thing with TMJ temporal mandibular joints, the Jawbone or the hinge of the jaw. Rather, there’s so many nerves in there that that pain also can be just terrible.

Renee Tucker (06:10)
So sometimes I’ve had clients say when they pull on a certain rain or move it in a certain manner, the horse will freak out and just spook if they move the rain. Funny, I thought that was the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard. Well, actually, I’ve heard a lot of weird things, but the point is that’s very weird. And yes, that did turn out to be teeth related as well. I think that horse had a broken tooth, but you couldn’t see it unless you have an X ray, because if you just looked in the mouth, it looked perfectly fine, but you had to Xray and see that it was broken down underneath the root.

Renee Tucker (06:44)
So tricky stuff like that, it’s weird, but if you know something’s wrong with your horse, just keep looking. And these are some ideas. And so the last one for super spooks or even regular spooky horses can calm them down is if you try to detox heavy metals or toxins or chemicals from the body, because some of those can get stored in the brain. Heavy metals, chemicals, toxins, they don’t have a normal storage area for the body. They’re not supposed to be there.

Renee Tucker (07:17)
So the body is like, what do I do with this? So some things are stored in the fat, some are stored in the joints, some are stored in the crest of the neck, some are stored in the liver or the brain. There could be anything in any way. Unfortunately, when heavy metals primarily are stored in the brain, it can start affecting the brain’s ability to think, it affects nerve transmission and that type of thing. One of the simple things you can try is to do a liver detox so you can get herbal liver detox from many companies.

Renee Tucker (07:54)
One of the ones I recommend in the US is Silver lining Herbs. These are really good quality stuff, and that’s going to detox the liver, which is the clearing organ for the system. So the theory is that I’m hoping that if you detox the liver, then the body will be able to take some of the toxins chemicals from the brain and get it out of the brain to the liver to be dealt with. So it might take a little while. It certainly does not hurt to do a liver detox on your horse, just to let you know, you always want to do herbal products 30 days on.

Renee Tucker (08:34)
So putting them on the product and then 30 days off, it’s kind of similar to caffeine, or if you have caffeine all the time, everybody just kind of gets used to it and it doesn’t really affect you that much. So any herbal product, 30 days on, 30 days off, and you can put them back on again if you want to and see if that helps out. So basically I just wanted to get you aware of there can be things making horses that are normally reactive, super spooky. And some of the more interesting ones are the Atlas, occiput alignments, the weird ones with the teeth and TMJ and the heavy metals that can be in the brain. So keep that in mind if that’s any of the problems with your horse and I wish you the best of luck fixing that and please let me know if you have any other different questions for our horse mystery solved podcast and I’ll talk to you guys next time.

Renee Tucker (09:31)

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