View Full Version : Ace for rehab after injury or winter off

Jan. 19, 2012, 07:12 PM
What's the current feeling about giving ace while bringing a horse back into work after injury or having a winter off? Are people for it or against it and why? I've ridden for years, mainly greenies and never ace'd anything, but seems like it might be more common now?

Jan. 19, 2012, 07:16 PM
I've never had to ace a horse who just had the winter off....just haven't needed too.

But have aced and used stronger chemical assistance when re-habbing a horse....especially ones on stall rest.

Not all of them...I've had a few who were really easy even on stall rest.

You use it if you need it to keep them from hurting themselves or you....not because a rider is to timid or weak.

Jan. 19, 2012, 08:29 PM
Drugs to safely rehab horses that have been on stall rest to ensure they don't reinjure themselves is a major yes in my book. No point in anybody getting hurt.

I've never needed to give drugs to a horse who has just had time off (meaning they have been able to be turned out and there there is nothing wrong with them). If they are physically fine but very frest then I will make friends with my lunge line if needed:lol: It's never a bad thing to take horses back to quality lunging to establish the rules before starting up your riding program again.

Jan. 19, 2012, 08:42 PM
Thanks- my problem is that I have a 3 (almost 4, by JC standards she is 4 :) ) yo OTTB. She had the last 3 months off (but with T/O) due to RF hoof unsoundness (came off the track in July). She's sound now, but seems to be quite sore in her hind end- pelvis, I think. I'd like to do some slow rehab- walking, some trotting with her, but not on the lunge. I've long-lined her, but it's tough in the winter with a packed indoor. Since we've had so much ice in the past couple weeks, she's been in a lot- with no end in sight to the ice. It's frustrating. So, I need to exercise her, but in a safe way so she doesn't cause more damage to her hoof, or pelvis, but at the same time strengthens her hind end. The solution that the vet and I have come up with (temporarily) is to ace her and ride her at the walk and trot, but not to trot any corners- just walk those. I wondered if this was a reasonable approach, or if I should just get on her without ace. I'm not a huge fan of drugging her, but want to keep her and myself safe. She can "play" (ie. buck) quite a bit in long lines and when I have lunged her in the past. Honestly, while I realize that bucking is totally normal, with her, I do strongly believe that she's sore and that's the root of HER bucking. :( And, I don't want her to make her SI worse by bucking. So, there we are back at the ace. Thoughts?? I'm open to suggestions!! Thanks! :)

Jan. 19, 2012, 08:49 PM
Big old yes for rehab.

And, not afraid to admit this, but I gave Toby a tiny bit of ace for a couple of days after his summer vacation. He is just NOT FUN (and probably won't ever be truly let off ever again) with real time off and while I was able to ride it all out, it just wasn't worth it to me. A little ace took the edge off, got us through the first few days, and got him back in work mode without me hitting the deck. He is not typically one you can lunge into submission...if he's going to be wild, he's going to be wild, and there isn't anything you can say or do to convince him otherwise! :lol:

I don't advocate using ace in such a fashion, but sometimes you gotta not be a hero...in fact, I think that was exactly what was said to me after the first wild and crazy ride after his summer vacation!!!!

Jan. 19, 2012, 08:50 PM
OP, I think that is a very legitimate reason to use ace. Go for it.

Red Horse
Jan. 19, 2012, 09:03 PM
I am rehabing a horse with a damaged collateral ligament in her left front. I have just started walking her, in hand. After two months of stall rest, she is wild. Not only do I not want to get hurt, but I have to be careful that she doesn't re-injure herself. I started with 1 1/2 cc of ace. She was still rearing up and pushing me around. Then I upped it gradually to 2 1/2 cc's. She doesn't rear up so much, but still is flighty and pushes me around. I am short and she is tall. Obviously I can't ride her, but after the snow goes away, I hope to pony her. I need to go in straight lines and not put too much stress on her leg. What other chemicals are you using to help? I am tired of worrying that I can't control her without hurting herself or me. I do use a stud chain, but I still don't have her whole attention. I don't see any reason to avoid using chemicals in moderation to keep both of you safe.

Jan. 19, 2012, 09:11 PM
BFNE is a big fan of SediVet, and I used it for the first time yesterday (for a vet procedure) and am now a big fan, as well (didn't make my cheap date horse wobbly like dormesdan does, but made him VERY sleepy). I also like recerpine, but it is probably milder than SediVet, so probably not going to do it enough for you.

Jan. 19, 2012, 09:23 PM
Having rehabbed a horse recovering from suspensory surgery, I have become a fan of Reserpine. It worked for us. It took a far bigger dose to keep things steady, than we anticipated and yes, we at times used Ace along with it.

I want you to realize that this is coming from a long time, hard nosed "no drugger", with many years experience in rehabbing. But sometimes, and with some horses, it only makes sense.

Ride On
Jan. 19, 2012, 09:24 PM
I have a big 1500 lb Friesian that I am rehabbing. I am not young and he can be a bit of a jerk at times. I use Reserpine and on him it works fine. I also use Ace if needed. He tore his Meniscus and had surgery so lunging and being stupid was not an option. Being safe for horse and rider is very important.

Jan. 19, 2012, 09:33 PM
I'd say Ace her, or a 30 day tranq. Not sure what they are called, but a horse here was on stall rest and got that to keep him sane. I've galloped horses on Ace with no ill effects to get them over something at the track. As others have said, her sanity, your safety, and her soundness are what you are going for. There are also Ace pills, a lady here used it when her stall rested horse started getting turnout. Took effect x hours after eating them in his breakfast so when she came out he was good to go out for his allotted time. Good Luck!

Jan. 19, 2012, 10:10 PM
Sedivet was the only thing that kept my last rehab sane. He was so weird on the ace and would go from walking along to bucking bronco. He was a puppy on just a tiny bit of sedivet.

Drugs are not a sign of weakness. Use them and stay safe!

Jan. 19, 2012, 10:33 PM
Thanks everyone! I'll look into the Sedivet, maybe that could do the trick too! Here's to a healthy rehab/strengthening and a happier, stronger, sound horse on the other end! She really is quite sweet- her body just gets the best of her sometimes. I can see her thinking, "I'm trying! Really, I'm trying to behave!"

Jan. 20, 2012, 03:54 AM
The solution that the vet and I have come up with (temporarily) is to ace her and ride her at the walk and trot

Common scenario, very reasonable situation where a mild tranquilizer can come in very handy and be safest for horse AND rider.

When I was in this boat I used oral Acepromazine powder compounded by FarmVet. It worked well but the horse did develop significant tolerance to the drug over time and went from needing 20-30mg to about 100 to keep all four feet on terra firma. By then he was just about past the worst of the confinement, able to be turned out, and that helped IMMENSELY, as did treating him (empirically) for ulcers. In fact, the very week he got turned out and put on omeprazole, the rehab-riding shenanigans disappeared like magic. :lol:

Fluphenazine and Reserpine are the "traditional" long term tranquilizers, but in reading the potential side effects I decided the risk/benefit ratio was way too much on the "risk" side and the horse's vets agreed that these would be best only if the Ace completely failed.

Jan. 20, 2012, 10:39 AM
Thanks deltawave- I have wondered about ulcers. I treated her with a compounded (generic) omeprazole, but am not convinced that it actually worked. Do you (or anyone else) have any experience with GastroGard vs. generic omeprazole? Maybe I should start this in a new thread :) I'd be interested to hear opinions on this.

Jan. 20, 2012, 10:44 AM
I used reserpine to keep my stall-bound TB's feet vaguely near the ground when he was rehabbing. It worked well (better than ace) and while there are potential side effects, my vet recommends it regularly and says they are rare (these drugs all have rare side effects- ace poses a risk of sheath paralysis).
Anyway, one of my reservations about using ace for the rehabbing purpose is that it can affect coordination and so if their athletic enthusiasm for being finally out their stall is impressive I would be concerned that a lack of coordination would cause a re-injury. Of course, there are people who go foxhunting on ace so there are clearly people for whom this is not a concern :)
there are lots of threads in horse care on GG v. generic omeprazole- the long and short of it is, I think, GG is the only thing proven to make it to correct part of the gut and actually heal ulcers and there are concerns that generic omeprazole does not make far enough down their digestive system to be absorbed where it would be helpful. You might want to look into "pop rocks"- lots of COTHers have had success with those (the threads in horsecare actually call them pop ricks so search for htat)

Jan. 20, 2012, 11:20 AM
I've used ace, SediVet, and chlorpromazine.

I love SediVet, you only have to use a tiny amount, esp if you can give an IV shot. But, its hard to get, and it is expensive.

I used chlorpromazine in a big young tb who was coming back into work, our vet recommended it because it didn't affect motor skills the way Ace can. We gave it orally (2cc's) about 1 hour before work.

Ace gets the job done and is cheap.

I believe in safety for horse and human, talk to your vet about options and pros/cons.

Good luck!

Big Spender
Jan. 20, 2012, 11:47 AM
Wish I knew then what I know now...I had a mare that had an injury that required stall rest. The vet NEVER said anything about drugs for turnout after the stall rest was complete. Turned the horse out after stall rest and permission from the vet...ran like an idiot...re-injured herself to the point that she was no longer rideable :mad: I always wondered where we would have gone and what else we would have done had we done things differently....now, I'm talking about 30 years ago...so much has changed with treatments...definitely wouldn't do it that way again!

Jan. 20, 2012, 11:58 AM
Big Spender-Back then, I don't think we had the range of sedatives, we have now.

Has the big 45 caught you yet;), If not it's soon.

Jan. 20, 2012, 12:19 PM
I've used ace 20 mg tablets--I find a single dose works well in most situations. It's quite mild but effective. Give it an hour before. You can use two tabs if necessary.

Jan. 20, 2012, 02:27 PM
Thanks deltawave- I have wondered about ulcers. I treated her with a compounded (generic) omeprazole, but am not convinced that it actually worked. Do you (or anyone else) have any experience with GastroGard vs. generic omeprazole? Maybe I should start this in a new thread :) I'd be interested to hear opinions on this.

I use and am convinced of the efficacy of the product sold by Omeprazole Direct (www.omeprazoledirect.com) for horses. There are BUNCHES of threads in Horse Care on this topic; the product is locally referred to as "blue pop rocks".

I'm a little anxious that my latest shipment went astray as they didn't arrive in the normal 14-17 day time frame, but we're out of town with mail on hold this week so I wont officially be worried until I get home and check the mail. ;)

Jan. 20, 2012, 05:02 PM
I read many of the threads on "pop rocks". They sound quite promising. I think I may give them a try. What dosage did you start out at? The website is recommending 3pkts/day- I've got a 16.2h TB mare- but many of the posts on COTH have mentioned using only 1 packet. What's your recommendation?

Jan. 20, 2012, 05:06 PM
3 packets a day is equivalent to the full "treatment" dose of Gastrogard, whereas 1 packet a day is more or less equivalent to the recommended "maintenance" dose or what would correspond to Ulcergard.

I always have used 1 packet a day, in the absence of ever having scoped my horses. One can go overboard with PPIs and expose the animal to risk of rebound acid hypersecretion if high doses are suddenly stopped. And I like to use the least amount of any drug that gets the job done. :)

Jan. 20, 2012, 05:15 PM
I'm currently using ace on a rehab of a bone chip removal from an ankle. When he was on 24/7 stall rest we used reserpine and while is seemed to settle him in the stall I still needed Ace for handwalking (part of physical therapy) as well as even just hand grazing.

He's on limited turnout now which helps, but I still am finding a cc of ace for his limited required riding VERY useful!

Better living through chemistry!

Red Horse
Jan. 21, 2012, 02:30 PM
Thanks everyone for the input. I will check with my vet and offer him some of your suggestions. I am comfortable doing IM injections, but IV is more than I care to try. I agree, staying safe both for me and her is the most important thing.

Jan. 21, 2012, 02:58 PM
I've also used Ace and reserpine for a susp rehab. He re-injured same susp a year later and got parked in a field for 8 months. The first day under saddle he was Not Drugged and such a pig (flinging himself up against the fencing in a tantrum). That I aced him on the second day and asked a pro to ride him for me. I have a young child at home and no one but me and the hubby to care for her. So getting injured on a rehab that's just going to be a pasture pet isn't worth it to me. I was strongly anti drug before but now recognize the benefits. I say use it when you need to stay safe.