Should I Buy A Horse With Shivers?

Considering buying a horse with shivers? Shivers is a neuromuscular disorder that affects a horse’s coordination and movement. While this condition can present challenges, it isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Understanding the implications and managing the horse’s care and training appropriately is crucial. In this article, we will explore the key aspects to consider before making the decision to buy a horse with shivers, including the impact on their performance, potential treatment options, and the long-term prognosis.

should i buy a horse with shivers

Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Buying a Horse with Shivers

When considering purchasing a horse, it is important to thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons. One specific condition that potential buyers should be aware of is shivers. Shivers is a neuromuscular disorder that primarily affects the hind limbs of horses, causing involuntary, spasmodic movements. In this section, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of buying a horse with shivers.

Pros of Buying a Horse with Shivers

1. Cost: Horses with shivers are often priced lower compared to healthy horses. This can be an advantage for buyers who are on a budget or looking for a more affordable option.

2. Specialized Training: Since shivers is a specific condition, horses with this disorder may have undergone specialized training to manage their symptoms. This can be beneficial for buyers who are experienced or willing to work closely with a professional trainer.

3. Personal Connection: Some buyers may develop a personal connection with a horse with shivers and feel a sense of empathy and responsibility towards them. This emotional bond can lead to a rewarding and fulfilling ownership experience.

Cons of Buying a Horse with Shivers

1. Limited Use: Horses with shivers may have limitations in their ability to perform certain activities, such as dressage or jumping. The involuntary movements caused by shivers can affect their performance in these disciplines.

2. Management and Care: Managing a horse with shivers requires additional care and attention. They may require specific feeding and exercise routines, as well as regular veterinary check-ups to monitor their condition. This can be time-consuming and may require additional expenses.

3. Uncertain Prognosis: Shivers is a chronic condition with no known cure. The severity and progression of the disorder can vary from horse to horse. This uncertainty can make long-term planning and investment in the horse challenging.

In summary, buying a horse with shivers comes with its own set of pros and cons. While the lower cost and specialized training can be attractive to some buyers, the limitations in use and the additional care required should also be considered. It is essential for potential buyers to weigh these factors carefully and consult with a veterinarian or equine professional before making a decision.

Managing and Treating Shivers in Horses for Optimal Performance

Horses are remarkable creatures, renowned for their strength, agility, and grace. They have been our faithful companions and trusted partners throughout history, aiding us in various tasks, including transportation, agriculture, and sports. As equestrians, we understand the importance of keeping our horses in optimal health to ensure their peak performance. However, there are times when our equine friends face certain health conditions that can hinder their abilities and overall well-being.

One such condition that affects horses is known as shivers. Shivers is a neuromuscular disorder that primarily affects the hind limbs of horses, causing muscle tremors, spasms, and difficulty with certain movements. It can be a frustrating and limiting condition for both the horse and the rider, but with proper management and treatment, horses with shivers can still lead fulfilling lives and achieve their best performance.

Understanding Shivers

Shivers is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions and trembling, particularly in the hind limbs of horses. It is most commonly observed in draft breeds and warmbloods, although it can occur in any breed. The exact cause of shivers is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a neurological condition that affects the communication between the brain and the muscles.

See also  Can Horses Eat Peppermints?

Horses with shivers often exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Tremors or shaking in the hind limbs
  • Difficulty with movements, such as picking up the hind legs or backing up
  • Stiffness and rigidity in the hind limbs
  • Reluctance or inability to flex the hind limbs
  • Difficulty with coordination and balance

If you suspect that your horse may have shivers, it is important to consult with a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis. The veterinarian will perform a thorough examination, which may include observing the horse’s movements, conducting neurological tests, and ruling out other potential causes of the symptoms.

Managing Shivers

While there is no known cure for shivers, there are several management strategies that can help improve the quality of life for horses with this condition. It is important to note that each horse may respond differently to various approaches, so it may require some trial and error to find the most effective management plan for your horse.

Diet and Nutrition: Providing a well-balanced diet with adequate nutrition is essential for overall health and muscle function. Consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to ensure that your horse’s diet is optimized to support their specific needs.

Exercise and Turnout: Regular exercise and turnout are beneficial for horses with shivers. However, it is important to consider the individual horse’s limitations and tailor the exercise routine accordingly. Gentle, low-impact exercises such as walking and stretching can help improve muscle flexibility and coordination.

Stress Reduction: Minimizing stress and providing a calm environment can help manage the symptoms of shivers. Stressful situations, such as transportation or high-intensity training, should be avoided or minimized whenever possible.

Alternative Therapies: Some horse owners have found success in managing shivers through alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, and massage. These therapies can help relax muscles, improve circulation, and alleviate tension.

Medications: In some cases, medications such as muscle relaxants may be prescribed by a veterinarian to help alleviate the symptoms of shivers. It is important to consult with a veterinarian before administering any medications to ensure proper dosage and usage.

Treating Shivers

While there is no definitive cure for shivers, there are treatments available that can help alleviate the symptoms and improve the horse’s quality of life. The choice of treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms and the individual horse’s response.

Physical Therapy: Physical therapy techniques, such as stretching exercises and controlled movements, can help improve muscle flexibility and coordination in horses with shivers. Working with a knowledgeable equine rehabilitation specialist can provide guidance on specific exercises and techniques.

Surgery: In severe cases of shivers where other management strategies have proven ineffective, surgical intervention may be considered. Surgical options include tenotomy, in which the tendon responsible for the problematic movements is cut, or neurectomy, where the nerves controlling the affected muscles are severed. These surgeries aim to alleviate the symptoms and improve the horse’s quality of life, but they come with risks and should be carefully evaluated and discussed with

Selecting the Right Horse Breed for Shivers

When it comes to selecting the right horse breed for Shivers, there are a few factors to consider. Shivers is a neuromuscular disorder that primarily affects the hind limbs of horses, causing them to exhibit involuntary muscle contractions and difficulty with certain movements. While any breed of horse can potentially develop Shivers, certain breeds may be more susceptible or show a higher prevalence of the condition.

One breed that is often associated with Shivers is the draft horse, particularly the Shire and Clydesdale breeds. These large, heavy-bodied horses have a genetic predisposition to the disorder. Additionally, some warmblood breeds, such as the Friesian and Belgian Warmblood, are also known to have a higher incidence of Shivers. It’s important to note that this does not mean all horses of these breeds will develop Shivers, but rather that the risk may be slightly higher.

See also  Why Do People Tape Horses?

On the other hand, some breeds seem to have a lower incidence of Shivers. For example, Arabian horses, Quarter Horses, and Thoroughbreds are generally less prone to developing the disorder. These breeds are known for their athleticism and agility, which may contribute to their lower risk of developing Shivers.

When selecting a horse breed for Shivers, it’s important to consider the individual horse’s genetic predisposition, as well as their intended use. If you’re looking for a horse for competitive disciplines that require precise and controlled movements, it may be wise to choose a breed with a lower risk of Shivers. However, if you’re primarily interested in recreational riding or other non-competitive activities, the breed may be less of a determining factor.

Training Approach for Horses with Shivers

Once you’ve selected a horse breed that may be at a higher risk for Shivers, it’s important to consider the training approach for these horses. The key is to focus on managing the symptoms and maintaining the horse’s overall well-being.

When training a horse with Shivers, it’s crucial to start with a solid foundation of basic obedience and ground manners. This includes teaching the horse to stand quietly, lead properly, and respond to basic commands. Building a strong relationship based on trust and clear communication will be essential throughout the training process.

It’s also important to incorporate exercises that promote balance and coordination. This can include ground exercises such as cavaletti work and lunging, as well as under-saddle exercises such as circles, serpentines, and transitions. These exercises help to improve the horse’s core strength and proprioception, which can be beneficial for managing the symptoms of Shivers.

In addition to physical exercises, it’s important to consider the horse’s mental well-being. Keeping the horse engaged and mentally stimulated can help to alleviate stress and anxiety, which may exacerbate the symptoms of Shivers. Incorporating positive reinforcement training techniques, such as clicker training, can be a great way to keep the horse mentally engaged and motivated.

Lastly, it’s crucial to listen to your horse and adapt the training approach as needed. Some horses with Shivers may have good days and bad days, and it’s important to recognize when the horse may need a break or a modified training session. Additionally, working closely with a veterinarian and equine therapist can provide valuable insight and guidance throughout the training process.

In summary, when selecting a horse breed for Shivers, it’s important to consider the genetic predisposition and intended use of the horse. Certain breeds may have a higher incidence of Shivers, while others may be less prone to developing the disorder. When training a horse with Shivers, focusing on basic obedience, balance and coordination exercises, mental stimulation, and adapting the training approach as needed can help to manage the symptoms and maintain the horse’s overall well-being.

Expert Tips for Caring for a Horse with Shivers: Nutrition, Exercise, and Rehabilitation

If you own a horse with Shivers, you may be familiar with the challenges it poses. Shivers is a neuromuscular disorder that affects the hind limbs of horses, causing involuntary muscle contractions and difficulty with certain movements. While there is no cure for Shivers, there are steps you can take to care for your horse and manage their symptoms effectively. In this section, we will provide expert tips on nutrition, exercise, and rehabilitation for horses with Shivers.


Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in managing Shivers in horses. Consider these tips to ensure your horse receives the necessary nutrients:

  1. Provide a balanced diet: Feed your horse high-quality hay or pasture to ensure they receive essential vitamins and minerals. Consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to formulate a diet plan specifically tailored for a horse with Shivers.
  2. Supplement with Vitamin E: Research suggests that supplementing with Vitamin E may help alleviate the symptoms of Shivers. Talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate dosage for your horse.
  3. Ensure adequate hydration: Keep fresh water available at all times to promote proper digestion and overall health.
  4. Monitor weight: Maintain a healthy weight for your horse to reduce the strain on their muscles and joints. Adjust their diet accordingly if weight management is necessary.
See also  Can You Seed A Pasture With Horses On It?


Regular exercise is important for horses with Shivers to help maintain muscle tone and flexibility. Consider the following exercise tips:

  1. Warm-up and cool-down: Before and after each exercise session, take the time to properly warm up and cool down your horse. This helps prevent muscle strain and promotes circulation.
  2. Low-impact activities: Engage your horse in low-impact exercises such as walking and swimming, which can help improve coordination and muscle strength without placing excessive stress on their muscles.
  3. Consistency is key: Establish a consistent exercise routine for your horse, focusing on short, frequent sessions rather than long workouts. This helps prevent fatigue and reduces the risk of injury.
  4. Work with a professional: Enlist the help of an experienced equine trainer or therapist who can guide you in developing a tailored exercise plan for your horse’s specific needs.


In addition to nutrition and exercise, rehabilitation techniques can play a significant role in managing Shivers in horses. Consider the following approaches:

  1. Physical therapy: Engage your horse in targeted physical therapy exercises to improve muscle control and coordination.
  2. Groundwork exercises: Incorporate groundwork exercises, such as lunging and ground poles, to encourage proper movement patterns and muscle development.
  3. Massage and stretching: Regularly massage your horse’s muscles and incorporate stretching exercises to help alleviate muscle tension and improve flexibility.
  4. Use of assistive devices: In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend the use of assistive devices, such as weighted boots or wraps, to help improve stability and balance.

In summary, caring for a horse with Shivers requires a comprehensive approach that incorporates nutrition, exercise, and rehabilitation techniques. By providing a balanced diet, engaging in regular low-impact exercise, and utilizing rehabilitation strategies, you can help manage the symptoms of Shivers and improve your horse’s overall well-being. Remember to consult with your veterinarian and other equine professionals to develop a tailored care plan that meets your horse’s specific needs.


Should I buy a horse with shivers?

It is generally not recommended to buy a horse with shivers. Shivers is a neurological condition that affects a horse’s hind limbs, causing muscle tremors and difficulty with coordination. This can significantly impact the horse’s ability to perform and may require ongoing management and treatment.


In conclusion, when considering whether to buy a horse with shivers, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons. While horses with shivers may require extra care and management, they can still be valuable companions and working partners. By implementing a comprehensive management plan, such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, and veterinary support, owners can minimize the impact of shivers and provide a good quality of life for their horses.

Additionally, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian and consider the horse’s overall health, temperament, and intended use. Seek professional advice and gather as much information as possible before making a decision. Remember, buying any horse involves certain risks, and it is important to be well-informed and prepared to provide the necessary care and support.