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View Full Version : Anyone with experience with Sacroiliac area weaknesses and how to strenghten?



cswoodlandfairy
Apr. 7, 2011, 09:16 AM
As some may know, my horse came to me in 2009 with muscle wasting and a very weak Sacroiliac area. After putting some weight on him, I finally had the go to start riding and he has been doing wonderfully (Its been about a year). He had a bit of a relapse at the beginning of winter, which I just backed off his routine and did light hacks for a while until he was better.

After a 3 day show, mostly stalled during the time (he's on 24/hr turnout at home) he came home incredible stiff in his left Sacroiliac. We did light hacks and used Sore-no-more on him and eventually got a bit better. However we then noticed his back was sore so I decided it was time to call the Chiro.

He did some resetting and electro-acupuncture and said to put him on a bute routine for 20 days with lowering the doses every 5 days till he is off it and doing light W/T work and eventually building it up.

What I want to know is we are back to cantering and jumping small fences (ie a cross-rail) but I was curious if anyone knew of some great exercises under-saddle that I can do that will strengthen the area but not put too much pressure either??

He is doing very well and I understand that he will forever have setbacks but I want to make him as strong as possible as then the set backs will be fewer if even at all.

Right now we do leg yielding, cross-rails, transitions and simple changes for leads.

joiedevie99
Apr. 7, 2011, 09:47 AM
Frequent transitions between and within the gait, hills, cavaletti (regular and raised).

Xctrygirl
Apr. 7, 2011, 11:04 AM
You're in VA, that's the good news.

Find a big hill...... start slow... even better would be a LOOOONNNG winding hilly trail...

Go once a week or so and build up so he does more time as his hill fitness progresses.

Sacroilliac weaknesses need transitions (again build up slowly) and any kind of incline work to help.

I am not asking for you to become a total cross country rider, but weak hind ends can be very slow to come around if you stay in a ring or on flat level ground.

~Emily

SonnysMom
Apr. 7, 2011, 12:47 PM
I had a massage therapist show me an "excercise" to do on the ground. She called them butt scrunchies.

Stand behind horse and scratch the butt on either side of the tail dock, the horse will generally scrunch their butt under them and lift their back while you scratch. It almost looks like you are goosing the horse.

She had me do a couple of sets everytime I was out to ride or groom. Start with a couple of seconds hold time and a set of 5. You can slowly increase this over time.

Some horses won't do butt scrunchies and some horses you need to change where you scratch alongside the dock- higher or lower.

APirateLooksAtForty
Apr. 7, 2011, 12:56 PM
I had a very similar case with my horse. The good news is, he returned to the show ring at the 3'6 height; the bad news is that it took a lot of patience and a lot of dedication. Hill work is a great suggestion, and another thing we did was a lot of work over ground poles. Backward, forwards, different spacing. I would also recommend a good chiropractor. Mine is amazing and advised us on everything from diet to turnout. You are welcome to his name and number if you want to PM me. Good luck!

cswoodlandfairy
Apr. 7, 2011, 01:10 PM
Thanks for all the tips! It was hard over the winter to get out in the field with it being dark by the time I could get out there, but fully plan on taking advantage of spring and the hills!

Sonnysmom! I definitely was told to do the same stretches! I'm suppose to do them in sets of 30secs and do 2 before I ride and 2 after to stretch it out!

I do have a good Chiro who has been with Forrest since I brought him home so he has seen him at his worst and has a good prognosis for him and pleased at how well he is doing. At one point we thought Forrest would never be able to just and we're out there doing 3ft!

amberhill
Apr. 7, 2011, 08:44 PM
After working, try a heating pad under a cooler over the area followed by liniment 2 or three times a day. I have had great success with this until the area is strengthened.

PNWjumper
Apr. 7, 2011, 11:36 PM
Both of my big jumpers had serious SI issues when I got them. I've spent a lot of money on chiropractic work and use a lot of flatwork and groundwork to keep them tuned up. Both of mine have competed in the 1.40m jumpers (with my gelding hopefully moving beyond that this year), so I don't think it's necessarily a career-limiting weakness.

I spend most of my energy working on the strength of their hind ends in general since a horse with a weak SI will often trail their hind end out behind them a bit rather than engaging the muscles to really round up and step under themselves. So the normal stuff like hillwork, lots of little gymnastics and jumping, lateral work, canter-halt-reinback-canter, etc. And then the obvious vet/bodywork, plus having done shockwave on the SI area for each of my two.

In addition to what's mentioned above....

--Backing up a hill. I back my guys the 60 feet up a slight incline into the arena every day (before I mount).

--Jumping in hand from a walk--lead the horse up to the fence in hand and send them over it in front of you. I attach a lunge line to the halter so I've got control when they land. I do this up to maybe 3'9" with my experienced jumpers. I also jump from a walk under saddle with some regularity, though usually only up to 3' or 3'3" (it's hard to make yourself do more when a trainer isn't telling you to, lol!).

--Walking over jumps without jumping (small jumps/cavaletti 2'6" and lower) where I make the horse pick up each foot as they step over (as opposed to actually jumping from a walk). I'll do it over single fences and lines of cavaletti.

--Downward transitions to a haunches-in on a circle--example: canter in a circle, bring the horse down to the trot and ask them to swing their haunches in as they transition, then right back to the canter (this gets them stepping through with their inside hind leg nicely). Same with trot/walk....trot a circle and ask them to transition to the walk while asking for the haunches in, walk a few steps then back to the trot....or canter/walk.

--Head-to-wall and Tail-to-wall exercises at the trot. The horse's body is straight from tail to nose and you travel at about a 45 degree angle to the rail (less of an angle if the horse isn't comfortable or willing).

--Lots of changes of pace within a gait. So for all of our warm-up where I have a fairly loopy rein and am looking for the horse to stretch down over their topline, I ask them to shorten in the corners and lengthen down the rail (my two main horses are the dead-type, so it also reinforces that they should always come forward out of the corner, I don't necessarily do the same thing with my hot horses).

--Walking a square with turns on the haunches at each corner.

Ummmm....I'm sure there are more that aren't popping to mind, but that's the core of my fitness program for my two "SI horses."

Good luck with your guy :)

Equsrider
Apr. 8, 2011, 12:55 AM
^^^^^above!!

LookmaNohands
Apr. 8, 2011, 07:00 AM
Both of my big jumpers had serious SI issues when I got them. I've spent a lot of money on chiropractic work and use a lot of flatwork and groundwork to keep them tuned up. Both of mine have competed in the 1.40m jumpers (with my gelding hopefully moving beyond that this year), so I don't think it's necessarily a career-limiting weakness.

I spend most of my energy working on the strength of their hind ends in general since a horse with a weak SI will often trail their hind end out behind them a bit rather than engaging the muscles to really round up and step under themselves. So the normal stuff like hillwork, lots of little gymnastics and jumping, lateral work, canter-halt-reinback-canter, etc. And then the obvious vet/bodywork, plus having done shockwave on the SI area for each of my two.

In addition to what's mentioned above....

--Backing up a hill. I back my guys the 60 feet up a slight incline into the arena every day (before I mount).

--Jumping in hand from a walk--lead the horse up to the fence in hand and send them over it in front of you. I attach a lunge line to the halter so I've got control when they land. I do this up to maybe 3'9" with my experienced jumpers. I also jump from a walk under saddle with some regularity, though usually only up to 3' or 3'3" (it's hard to make yourself do more when a trainer isn't telling you to, lol!).

--Walking over jumps without jumping (small jumps/cavaletti 2'6" and lower) where I make the horse pick up each foot as they step over (as opposed to actually jumping from a walk). I'll do it over single fences and lines of cavaletti.

--Downward transitions to a haunches-in on a circle--example: canter in a circle, bring the horse down to the trot and ask them to swing their haunches in as they transition, then right back to the canter (this gets them stepping through with their inside hind leg nicely). Same with trot/walk....trot a circle and ask them to transition to the walk while asking for the haunches in, walk a few steps then back to the trot....or canter/walk.

--Head-to-wall and Tail-to-wall exercises at the trot. The horse's body is straight from tail to nose and you travel at about a 45 degree angle to the rail (less of an angle if the horse isn't comfortable or willing).

--Lots of changes of pace within a gait. So for all of our warm-up where I have a fairly loopy rein and am looking for the horse to stretch down over their topline, I ask them to shorten in the corners and lengthen down the rail (my two main horses are the dead-type, so it also reinforces that they should always come forward out of the corner, I don't necessarily do the same thing with my hot horses).

--Walking a square with turns on the haunches at each corner.

Ummmm....I'm sure there are more that aren't popping to mind, but that's the core of my fitness program for my two "SI horses."

Good luck with your guy :)

This.^^

But you must make sure the horse is ROUND and working CORRECTLY. He must be stepping under and not hollow or you could make it worse. You must be riding the horse from back to front and not making him "round" by pulling him together.

goodmorning
Apr. 8, 2011, 08:07 AM
PNw has very sound advice ;)

I'll put an extra plug in for the haunches-in work, turn on the haunches, square corners, and add in shoulder-ins, as well as shallow-looping in & off the rail, using it as a way to get consistent gaits & encourage quality transitions both in and between gaits.

Though I would agree with Lookma about being ridden correctly, back-to-front into the contact, I don't think perfection or 'round-ness' is imparative (if it was then there'd be little point to the exercises). When I've worked with some BNR's they encourage this work to have your horse build the correct muscle's and become flexible,strong, useful mounts, its 'jumping dressage' as GM states. It probably won't be pretty to start out with ;)

alteringwego
Apr. 8, 2011, 06:27 PM
my horse had his SI injected and worked in an Aquatred every day for a month. Nothing else like it!