Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Foal or Newborn, Spastic Motions with Head

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • If the foal appears otherwise normal, i.e. is active and nursing normally.

I sometimes receive calls from people new to breeding and foaling, who are concerned that their newborn foal is making spastic motions with its head (jerking head movements). This is normal newborn behavior that gradually lessens over weeks to months.

Rarely, congenital neurologic conditions in newborns can cause exaggerated head jerking and head tremors. Foals afflicted with these conditions in most cases, are expected to show other signs of a problem, like wobbliness or weakness.


Assess the overall health of the foal, paying particular attention to their nursing behavior and movement. Young foals should always nurse vigorously and be bright and alert. Share your vet with your findings and concerns.


By evaluating the foal, or even a video of the foal’s behavior, your vet will likely know whether there is cause for concern.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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