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View Full Version : How much body work for your youngsters?



InsideLeg2OutsideRein
May. 10, 2011, 07:39 PM
Just wanted to see what others thought is routine in body work for their young dressage horse. :)

Mine is living out 24/7, is in correct Training/First level work 4-5 days a week with lots of trail riding and a little jumping (tiny) in between, and who plays pretty hard! :winkgrin: I pretty much alternate chiro and massage so she has one per month, and that seems to work well for her. And she always seems to need (and like!!! :yes:) it, so I feel it's money well spent... (sigh ;))

Perfect Pony
May. 10, 2011, 08:00 PM
None.

netg
May. 10, 2011, 08:11 PM
My horse hadn't really carried himself properly before I got him, so despite the fact he was 7, I consider him my "young dressage horse." He lets me know.

With a super willing attitude, I've discovered that the biggest things slowing our progress are NOT my riding, as I expected, but rather his muscular development, and soreness as he strengthens new areas and tries to give me more than he's physically ready to give. When he gets resistant, uneven, unbending, unwilling to go nicely into transitions he used to do well, etc., it's time for something. Usually massage for him, not chiro - but chiro was definitely needed as he started trying to collect and his back was out of whack from a fall in turnout. As he gets stronger and more consistent in his collected work, I'm finding how much massage he needs decreases, but keep paying attention to what he tells me. Now we're more at every 3 months-ish, if that often, where we were at monthly if possible before.

Leprechaun
May. 10, 2011, 08:12 PM
None unless injured or sore for some reason. A few years ago one of my boys got out and flipped over our stone wall - forgot it was there when spinning to visit the next field over. He needed come massage work. I've done a bit of chiropratics for a horse with a back issue many years ago.

If you like it, your horse likes it and you can afford it, go for it. You don't NEED to however unless there is a reason.

Elegante E
May. 11, 2011, 12:51 AM
Yeah, can't see doing anything unless the training is incorrect or they hurt themselves. Not a bad idea to check for soreness regularly.

thatsnotme
May. 11, 2011, 10:52 AM
I had my filly checked over before starting her, then again about 90 days in to make sure everything was ok. The chiro comes to my barn pretty regularly, so I have had her checked once since then.

merrygoround
May. 11, 2011, 11:06 AM
Unless you count daily grooming as massage. None!

I think that if you train slowly, introduce movements in a logical order, are not afraid to back up and wait on "bad" days, give them plenty of turn out and take care of the basic vet and farrier care, you can dispense with the "body work".

Mr.GMan
May. 11, 2011, 01:06 PM
My 12 yo spring chicken usually gets once a month chiro. I have a friend I call for adjustment checks in between the monthly visits if needed and the past couple of months, we must be doing something right as he is staying in alignment. I thought his back end was out this week, she came over, she is a chiro too, and said he was more tight/sore, so off to call the masseuse :-)

cyberbay
May. 11, 2011, 02:16 PM
Wow... realize the thread is about young horses, but I think body work is a great way to stay on top of any brewing issues.

And my horses (older, not 6 yr. olds) get body work b/c they are not perfect conformationally, and the work we do with them is not natural. Horses just don't do what we do with them -- think 20m circles, etc.) and not getting ahead of the curve on their care makes me wonder...

Anyone over the age of 40 will know what I'm talking about!!

Oh - MGoRound: a thorough (mostly) daily currying really does do a lot! To me, it counts, but I'm talking about 15+min., and reaching all the joints, etc.

KrazyTBMare
May. 11, 2011, 06:56 PM
I havent had any work done on my coming 4 y/o. But I was regularly getting my mare adjusted, massaged, or acupunctured when we were in serious work. She was 15, already had a bone spavin and changes in her hocks, and previous injuries that led to issues every once in a while. Usually we were about every 8-12 weeks depending on how she was feeling.

HCF
May. 11, 2011, 07:07 PM
My young horse (he just turned 7) is working 4-5 days a week, schooling 2nd/3rd. He gets chiro and accupuncture once a month. Sometimes the month rolls around and he feels so good under saddle that I don't think he "needs" it but he always feels even better afterwards. And, he gets so excited when he sees her walk in the barn, I know he feels better, too!

NorCalDressage
May. 11, 2011, 09:38 PM
I use chiro on young ones if they have any accidents - i.e. hard falls in pasture or cross-tie freak out - that kind of thing where they had a wrenching type of incident.

Also before starting under saddle I think it's great to have a good chiro check them over. They can pick up on some things I may not catch.

Also, just like humans - I think they are more flexible when babies - less physically set in their body issues. Easier to fix a problem early on rather than when the horse has gone in the same way for many years.

JB
May. 11, 2011, 09:45 PM
Wow... realize the thread is about young horses, but I think body work is a great way to stay on top of any brewing issues.
Amen.

These are athletes. Professional human athletes get a LOT of massage work done, and serious ammies do as well. Preventive maintenance is just as important as knowing when to take care of obvious issues.

KrazyTBMare
May. 11, 2011, 11:52 PM
Heck, I get a weekly deep tissue massage just to FUNCTION. I *do* work for a dentist so am not sitting in the best positions all day though lol. I have learned a lot of the massage techniques and I massage my own horses in between professionals. Thankfully my saddle fitter is also a massage therapist and can hit them with a 1, 2 punch lol. So far, neither of us have found any knots or problem areas on the baby horse though I know regardless, it feels good.

jenm
May. 12, 2011, 02:56 AM
I use chiro on young ones if they have any accidents - i.e. hard falls in pasture or cross-tie freak out - that kind of thing where they had a wrenching type of incident.

Also before starting under saddle I think it's great to have a good chiro check them over. They can pick up on some things I may not catch.

.

I've only done chiro on my four year old once and it was only because he did something silly while in training.

However, I have a different routine with his mom who is in training for dressage and jumping; she gets a nice full body massage every other month.

I've been told by both my chiropractor and the person who does the massage that too much chiro work is not good for the horse and it really shouldn't be done more than 2-3 times a year.

If your horse needs chiro work as often as every other month, you should really look into saddle fit. I think it's great your horse is getting such good care, however. I do find it interesting that your chiropractor has no problem seeing your horse six times a year or on a somewhat regular basis.

JB
May. 12, 2011, 09:24 AM
I've been told by both my chiropractor and the person who does the massage that too much chiro work is not good for the horse and it really shouldn't be done more than 2-3 times a year.

If your horse needs chiro work as often as every other month, you should really look into saddle fit. I think it's great your horse is getting such good care, however. I do find it interesting that your chiropractor has no problem seeing your horse six times a year or on a somewhat regular basis.
Not all horses are created equal. Some have issues that just cause they to be "out" on a more regular basis, either short-term or long term, no matter how well you ride them. Or they play very hard in the field.

It may not be big issues that are uncovered every other month, but for some horses, letting them go for 6 months might turn them into big issues.

SaddleFitterVA
May. 12, 2011, 10:56 AM
Massage monthly. It is an excellent way to have another set of hands-on for how things are going.

Chiro - as needed, in one case, her first chiro visit is in a couple of weeks, she's 7.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
May. 12, 2011, 01:54 PM
I've been told by both my chiropractor and the person who does the massage that too much chiro work is not good for the horse and it really shouldn't be done more than 2-3 times a year.

If your horse needs chiro work as often as every other month, you should really look into saddle fit. I think it's great your horse is getting such good care, however. I do find it interesting that your chiropractor has no problem seeing your horse six times a year or on a somewhat regular basis.

Hm, I've never heard this before, and I work with two chiropractors (one of which is a vet, the other a human chiro also), and a highly trained massage therapist, none of them have ever mentioned that -- but now I will ask!

The power in her transitions AFTER a massage and the way she's able to come over her back is AMAZING!!! Just developing her muscles evenly and correctly and helping with the natural one-sidedness makes me feel that this is something I do not want to skimp on. It's basically one lesson less that month, and I feel that is soooo worth it -- and it will hopefully help keep her sound and healthy for the next 35 years! :yes:

Actually, it is a bit of a pet peeve on mine when people complain for YEARS that their imported $$$$ WB is an a$$ b/c he doesn't want to bend a certain way and they spend easily 1500 on a clinic with a BNT in one weekend, but say they don't want to spend any $$$ for some bodywork. To each their own, I guess.

Velvet
May. 12, 2011, 02:54 PM
I'm with those who do none, unless there's a reason/problem/injury.

My horses all think grooming is the best massage they can get.

Velvet
May. 12, 2011, 02:56 PM
Preventive maintenance is just as important as knowing when to take care of obvious issues.

A good grooming and knowing your horse's body very well does this as well. It

JB
May. 12, 2011, 07:06 PM
I agree, a lot more could be done during the daily grooming session, or at least a few REALLY good grooming sessions a week.

But not everything can be found or fixed with a curry comb. Small muscle spasms may not bother the horse now, not even for a deep curry, but over time, they can build to a major issue that a few grooming sessions cannot fix. There's a reason pressure point therapy is around, to fix the small things :)

rainechyldes
May. 12, 2011, 07:22 PM
all of our horses, regardless of age get massage therapy. Even the broodmares appreciate one!
Although being that I'm certified as an equine massage therapist (don't practice professionally- I got certified so I could do my own competition horses) , it doesn't cost me anything but time to do so.

Massage therapy is a pretty valuable way to help your horse along , both young and older ones who are in training even if they haven't had an injury. I tend to think of massage therapy less as a rehab option, and more as part of an overall approach to aiding each and every horse to reach that 'potential' we all hope they can. I've yet to figure out a reason to not use massage therapy - we ask horses to be strong, flexible, and responsive - I'd rather help a horse achieve that then hinder them in it.

Bogie
May. 12, 2011, 08:01 PM
I learned some massage techniques and give my horse a massage at least once a week but check him every time I ride for soreness or tension. My saddle fitter does body work so I have him check what I'm doing.

Right now he's getting acupuncture because he pulled a muscle over the winter on the ice. It really seems to be helping but it's not something I will do indefinitely.

I don't do chiro after having a very bad experience. I think that a good massage therapist can achieve very similar results.

The key with any of this is to find someone good. I really like knowing some fundamentals because it keeps me on top of potential issues and able to discuss any soreness with my vet. I'm always amazed by horse owners who don't know where their horses hold tension or where they are sore.

EqTrainer
May. 12, 2011, 08:18 PM
I find it infinitely easier to figure out *whatever* maintenance a horse requires to do his job at his best - teeth, chiro, massage, accupuncture, injections, whatever - and put him on a schedule. Waiting for a horse to show that he is sore means he has been working in pain. The biggest downside to not understanding a horses work needs is that when he is evasive, you cannot be confident that he is not being evasive due to pain. If you have been diligent, and know your horse, you can confidently push thru evasions and train much more efficiently. Its otherwise called being in a program.

I dont view young horses any differently, in fact, I am more apt to assume they are MORE in need of body work because they are young and developing and do stupid things to themselves. Given the number of "made" grown horses I have ridden with chronic stiffnesses and other issues, I would hazard a guess there is some truth there... Also that a lot of people have no idea that their horse even has a problem, which is directly related IMO to regularly riding only one or two horses.... Those horses would so benefit from being in a program. You cant be expected to identify/feel what you dont know.

LarkspurCO
May. 12, 2011, 09:44 PM
My youngster got his first chiropractic today. He will turn one next week.

I was having my older horse worked on and figured I might as well get the little guy checked.