View Full Version : Stiff Butt Question

Oct. 3, 2011, 04:20 PM
I am asking here because this is regarding a horse that has been in pretty serious dressage training since May. He started more collected canter work in July and was SO awesome and then about 3 weeks into it - he seemed to stiffen up in his right hind butt muscles. Vet says he is not 'lame' and he is tracking under - and he will work forward and there is NO complete indication to someone who doesnt know him - someone might suggest he is weaker on one side... if they did not know him.

However, I know there is a difference and the trainer I have been working with notices it too - he is just tighter in that buttock area.

So I have a call in to a reputable sport horse massage guy but in the meantime:

1. Who has dealt with this?
2. Should I bute?
3. Should I ride through it?
4. Should I give him a week off?

PS he does have a show in 2 1/2 weeks...

Oct. 3, 2011, 04:32 PM
I can definitely tell when my horse is body sore due to increased work. I treat it just like I treat myself in the same situation; massage, liniment and ease up on the work just a little bit less maybe for a couple days. I've found just using a rubber curry on his butt really helps and he loves it. We love Sore-No-More. He also seems to bounce back with even just 1 day off. We all need time to recover.

If you have a show in 2/5 weeks, you and your trainer might want to think about adjusting your training schedule so he's peaking at the desire time.

Oct. 3, 2011, 04:41 PM
Tricky question.

Has anything changed prior to the butt stiffening episode?
New farrier, shoes, shots, new saddles, pads, unsuspected fall, whatever?

Of course being trained harder is probably the answer of that butt stiffening. We all have a weaker side that needs more time to develop. And yes, in training, there will be some muscle soreness episodes.

What kind of training have you done since july, since you found that stiffness?
Do you feel it improved or stayed the same? Does it improves as the training session goes (warming up and loosening) on or getting worse?

Massage therapy is good but I would also ride a little less hard on the collected movements and do more suppleness stuff.

Oct. 3, 2011, 04:59 PM
I did get a new saddle BUT BUT BUT he did not get sore until 1-2 months later which is right after I upped the work and I brought the saddle fitter BACK out and she triple checked everything and we are sure its not the saddle.

I feel it is likely the harder work. I will liniment him - and the massage guy is looking at him Wednesday. I have eased up his work some in the case of collected work.

He looks very even though - I dont think the chiro would say he's 'out'...

Heinz 57
Oct. 3, 2011, 05:16 PM
Massage therapy is good but I would also ride a little less hard on the collected movements and do more suppleness stuff.

I'd agree with this, and also talk to the massage therapist about specific warmup/cooldown exercises you could be doing to loosen up those muscles. Some thing it's total hooey, but I've had good results with doing some of the manual stretches on my gelding that gets tight behind.

Oct. 3, 2011, 07:59 PM
We have a massage therapist who comes out to work on the horses in training about once a month, and one of the most valuable things she does is give us a heads up when some stiffness is just starting to develop. I think we are able to avoid a fair amount of lameness/soreness issues with these horses because she can sometimes clue us in to some new stiffness before we would have noticed it ourselves. I bet he'll really be able to help you get your guy in much better shape by show time, and you might want to consider infrequent visits in the future to avoid having something like this happen again. Hey, it's a lot cheaper than having to call the vet!

Give and Take
Oct. 3, 2011, 10:37 PM
there was just an article in Practical Horseman about galloping to loosen butt muscles.

Oct. 3, 2011, 11:31 PM
nothing wrong with a day or so of robaxin and see what happens.

Oct. 4, 2011, 11:05 AM
I say get him good chiro and a couple of massages and see if he still has the issue. My mare had the same thing and she ended up having a rib out of place and very stiff muscles.

Be sure you use a lot of long and low and don't work on uber collected canter every day so you give the muscles a rest.