Horse showing signs of Equine Shivers

Equine Shivers is a confounding disorder in horses which causes them to pause with their rear limb flexed out behind the body after which the leg is forcefully placed back to the ground. Backing up and picking up the rear limbs are the most common triggers for Shivers and most horses walk forward with a normal gait. Signs of Equine Shivers can appear at any age, with cases reported from one year of age through adulthood. While the syndrome is most commonly seen in draft horses, Shivers has also been reported in warmbloods, warmblood crosses and occasionally light horse breeds. The cause and treatment for this condition is unknown.

In an effort to determine possible cause(s) of Shivers, researchers at the University of Minnesota are collecting information and data from horses that show symptoms similar to those expressed as a result of Shivers. You can learn more about this research by visiting the University of Minnesota’s Equine Center Equine Shivers page.


Learning Objectives:

This lesson was developed to help educate horse owners about the condition known as Equine Shivers.

  1. Provide horse owners with basic information on Equine Shivers.
  2. Describe the option of becoming involved in the research of Equine Shivers.

This project is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grant no. 2009-55205-05254 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Animal Genome Program.



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