I am doing a research on muscle spasm on horses. 


My gelding has started to show a very light 'trembling' all over his body every time I get him on a rope, catch him...saddle him...even when riding, when I stop ...or have a break, a light tembling is all over his body...I am being very concerned and can't tell what this could be. (We are starting to joke saying he has got 'Parkinson desease").

It is not at every time...but most of the times these last few weeks. He started showing this a couple of years ago. My husband who knows him well too, tells me that it is his hot-blooded arabian side who is doing that when he gets excited. He thinks this is only link to excitement. I am not sure...

The gelding is mix arabian-quarter horse and morgan (half). He is 14 years old now. In great shape.


So I found so far discussions on:

**HYPP is characterized by sporadic attacks of muscle tremors (shaking or trembling).

But this doesn't seem to be what it is. 


Anyone ever experience that? I would gladly have your opinion. THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE. 


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You might want to search the web for "shivers in horses".  I do not necessarily think your horse has this syndrom, but the first article I looked at had a nice list of other symdroms/diseases that are similar.

I do not think it is just because the horse is 1/4 Arab.  Definitely look further into it, I worry about your safety riding if it gets worse. 

Thank you Jackie. I have found that article too and read everything about the 'shivers' and syndromes link to it. Nop, it doesn't sound like that...at all. It is the entire body...The riding is fine, the trembling is very minimum, nothing high density. Sometimes I put my head against his neck, put my hands on his belly and try to figure out where that comes from...trying to feel what's going on inside there...! I read toxicity in plants, see if I didn't have any poisonous things around...that he was eating.


I have never seen or experience that with any other horses....unless they were scared, cold or super excited...

His movement is great all round. Sometimes I stop to talk to someone...and I don't like to feel his 'trembling' so we keep moving and as soon as he moves, everything feels smooth again.This condition has never cross my mind that riding could be bad for him or unsafe for me, he performs so well. After riding, he is all good every time. After his shower, he rolls in dirt and he is always super relaxed, happy dude.

In the pastures, he never does that. When Farrier works on him, he never does that either.


I keep asking around, we'll see.

I will let my Vet know next time she comes by.


sounds to me that he has a muscle injury somewhere and the shivers is a pychological reaction to being ridden, which affects the muscle injury.

do deep palpation of his muscles and find where he reacts, you will locate one or more problem areas.

When was the last time you had your saddle checked by a saddler? What type of saddle do you ride him in?

Good point.

I had my saddle changed this winter.I had the saddle fitting person coming last November. We checked all his back and pressure point. Good.

Amon had no measure muscle injury since I have him (6 years now).

I will point the psychological reaction to muscle injury to the saddle fitter-physio woman next time she comes (luckily in the next few days).


After and before rides I check his back regularly, do some check up along his spine.

One thing that he does every time I start brushing him is pounding with his right front leg...when I brush his right side, I told that to the saddle -physio woman and she checked his front right, she gave him a massage. He seemed quite happy.

She said that changing saddle would be a good thing as it needed to be re-stuffed.We then checked all my different saddles and I am aware which one is good and not.


I was using a saddle pad shock absorber in foam between my saddle pad and the saddle that was tipping the whole thing slightly forward and she told me not ot use it anymore, which I did.


His back has changed and it was time to change saddle for us. SO I did.

She found some points that were sensitive (but nothing serious) and she thought that changing saddle would fix it. So we are checking the fitting of the new Treeless and the physio pad I have again soon.


I am glad you point that out to me, it can be what it is. I am very aware of it, I will do my best this week to find out what can that be as the riding season is only starting. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your Experience sharing.



What ever you do DONT ride him in a treeless saddle, they cause more problems than they are worth. Get a Saddler to check your saddle , in my experience most saddle fitters only have a rough idea on how they are supposed to fit a horse.

Have a read of a blog by Jochen Schleese , he explains why treeless is no good.

Cheers geoffrey 

After weeks and weeks or searching...the spasms have pretty much stopped in general (good news) ...sometimes it comes again...but for short period of time, a good friend of mine told me after riding him that it is probably Adrenalina...!

I believe that!

In any ways, we pulled all "weird" plants in his fields...ferns, etc are non existant now! Not that he was feeding on it...but just to make sure.

I rode him with many different saddles in the last 3 months, it doesn't seem to come more from one or the other in particular. 

So far so good. He did it the other day with the farrier first time...he was lifting one leg and the other one (the muscles above the shoulder) started shaking...still a bit of a mystery. Only for a very short period of time...

In general, it is much better than it was in the spring. Thank you for your feedback. Still searching!

I would have a look at the calcium/magnesium balance in his diet. Usually this type of mineral shortage would be more likely in a nursing mare, but it could happen with any horse. Magnesium and calcium work together. Lack of calcium can make a horse twitchy, lack of magnesium can also. This may not be his problem but it is worth having his hay/diet analyzed for minerals, rather than randomly just adding whatever, and then ask vet how much of what to supply.
Ok, will check what his grains have in them as calcium/magnesium-wise. Thanxx.

This horse is just FINE. He has a high level of Adrenalina in his veins...he is now known as a strong  FIRE in the shiatsu world...Amazing what excitement can do to you sometimes. Thank you for all advices and replies. I am confident that he is in great shape mind and body. Happy winter.


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