West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
Competition-legal remedy for a sore back? HELP!UPDATE - it wasn't her back..........
So I take my training mare to her first recognized show this weekend. I school her this afternoon in the bridle I've used for the 7 months I've had her, in the saddle I've used for the 7 months I've had her. Both fit her beautifully yesterday, and she worked like a dream.
The problem - we get going, and she's working like her usual amenable self. At first. But the longer we go, the p!$$ier she gets. I get off and longe her for a few, thinking she's just got her knickers in a twist. She flags her tail and floats around the circle, but is a bit tight in her back. I check the saddle, and it's ridden up onto her withers, and I was basically sitting on her withers/spine - something that's NEVER happened before.
So, I rinse her down, cool her out, let her stretch and eat. I've got another saddle, and a half pad, that I can try before our classes tomorrow, but I'm really worried that she's tweaked something major because of this. Her withers are so sore that combing her mane out to braid it, made her flinch. And as my working student was leading her away (bless that girl - she's a gift from God!), I noticed that she wasn't keen on bringing her left hind up under her, and was walking unevenly. Just slightly, but I know this mare well enough that I could spot it.
Any suggestions as to how I can make her more comfortable, and still be "legal" would be greatly appreciated.
ETA - other issues surfaced during the course of the weekend. We were horrific on Saturday morning (50+% at TL2), better in the afternoon after a bit change (58%, with a bolt and a spook in the mix), even better this morning (62+% with problems in both canter transitions) and horrific again this afternoon (50% with lots of canter problems, and an attitude). News as it happens, film at 11.........................
Is B-L solution legal? I've never used it as I've always used Bute, up until like 12 hours before competition... otherwise some Yucca? I'm not entirely positive on what to suggest - except definately have the chiropracter/massage therapist take a look at her after the show.
Good luck and I hope all goes well. I hope you can at least salvage a ride or two... cause it does stink having to withdraw from a show and lose those entry fees and all.
West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
I double checked the rules this afternoon, before leaving for the show. I figured since she's doing two tests tomorrow (I hope ), and two tests Sunday, that she'd need a gram (1 gram per 1000 lbs is the legal dosage) Saturday night, and set up her feed accordingly. After this afternoon, I gave her that feed tonight, and will do the same tomorrow, if need be. I was thinking that there might be something topical I can do for her. Mineral ice? Liniment? Vodka? (just kidding) Or maybe, the vodka should be for me.......................
ANY experienced competitor knows that you NEVER change tack, shoes, feed, ANYTHING prior to or during a competition. These issues are worked out during training WEEKS if not MONTHS before considering going to a show. If your training mare is suddenly THAT afflicted, she needs to see a vet immediantly. It is amazing how many excuses people come up with at the last minute.
There could be something else going on. It sux but I'd be ready to scratch on Saturday (depending on how she is) and later in the day try schooling her to see how she is before deciding about sunday. I would not use bute for something like that.
Then again, she may be just fine tomorrow ( oops today, I guess).
You can use Robaxin...it's just not that much. I second the bute idea.
Here's something you can do that provides temporary relief...
You will need, two towels (people size)
1. soak first towel in hot water, lay across back where horse is sore
2. sprinkle salts in a layer over sore areas, don't be stingy, be generous here
3. soak second towel in hot water, lay over first towel
4. lay cooler over towels to retain heat
leave horse in crossties for 20 minutes...repeat after each ride
Disclaimer: this is a bit harsh in tone, but this is a subject I feel very strongly about and have a fair amount of experience dealing with back sore horses.
If you were that sore, would you want to compete? Probably not, so why make your horse go through with it. Dressage is about a nice supple, comfortable, submissive horse working well from behind, etc., etc. None of this really can be done properly or fairly to the horse when their back is sore. Not to mention what could happen to you if the problem continues to get worse and suddenly you find yourself hurled off your horse because you refused to listen to her complaints.
Drugging is merely a way of covering something up UNLESS you know what the problem is and you are using medication to assist in, say, physical therapy for the horse. Example: a horse who has developed a very inverted way of going to compensate for a now resolved back injury may need Robaxin (methocarbamol) to relax some muscles and be comfortable when re-establishing muscles to allow them to go properly again. Medication should *NOT* be used just so some person can go off and win some ribbon that means absolutely nothing in the long run. There are no really good quick fixes when it comes to back injuries. Not to mention that drugs like bute (NSAIDs) should generally only be used under the recommendation of a vet given some of their risks re: colic treatment, etc. Yes, side effects usually require a long term course of bute, but I personally don't like to use these sorts of things just because. Heck, your mare could even have an ulcer, who knows.
Also, if your horse is THAT sore, trailering could make things worse. Consider how much work it is for a horse to stay standing in a trailer, especially if the unexpected happens and you have to turn quickly, brake fast, and so on.
melodi....your post isn't harsh...just real. Obviously the OP intends to show so why not give advice on how the make the horse the as comfortable as possible? She has to live with her choices.
We all hope she will call the vet asap...to rule out ulcers, ovarian cysts, etc.
As an aside...if you are worried about ulcers, give 10 peppermint tums tablets or some maalox in a syringe right before the bute to protect the stomach. also, if you give the bute IV, it is still harsh on the stomach so give the tums as well.
I don't know, if I tweaked something in my back before a show, I'd probably take a handful of Ibuprofen, do some stretching, ask someone to massage the kinks maybe, do the ice/heat/ice route, and I'd at least try and ride.
I don't think that trying the same regime for the horse, and then doing a long gradual warmup to see how things feel is so bad. There's a difference between "a little stiff/NQR but functional" and out and out pain.
I certainly don't advocate showing at all costs no matter how sore a horse may be, but if we never rode a horse who was showing signs of stiffness or unevenness, there'd be an awful lot of wondeful, happy but older & arthritic horses headin' down the road.
ETA, that the wither soreness could be just skin inflammation from the saddle slipping up. It may go away as quickly as it came. Sort of like when you wear a bathing suit or a bra that doesn't fit quite right, and you get a chafed spot under your arm - it's horribly sensitive to touch for a day, and then it's fine if left alone. I hope that's all it is!
I think what really concerns me about the OP's horse is the sudden nature of the pain. If she has the vet come out and clear the horse to go, than by all means go. But personally, if my back suddenly was REALLY bothering me, I'd need to get myself cleared by a professional before I'd go forward with competition (then again, I do have some budged discs in my lower back, so if I suddenly got whomped with pain, I'd be afraid I'd gone a bit too far and herniated one).
As for showing older, uneven horses, and so on, I find there to be a bit of a difference between that and showing a horse that suddenly demonstrates signs of soreness. My gelding has a tight back and requires a good warm up before dressage. I've had it checked out, I know how to manage it as it's just muscle tightness, and I am taking the steps on my end necessary to make sure he is a-okay to go. It's the checking out and the managing that is very important to me, not this oh-god-show-tomorrow-fix-it-now approach. There has to be a certain willingness to forfeit and though the OP may not be a die hard, screw the horse type, it's a type I've seen far too often (a friend of mine worked at a BNT's H/J barn, some of the regiments of drugs these horses were on just to compete was bothersome).
However, a little "NQR but functional" in a way that is new to a horse when we get to cross-country or stadium is completely unacceptable; it's barely acceptable when I get to the dressage ring. I know this is a dressage forum, but from the perspective of someone who goes at solid fences, if my horse has an unknown issue that he doesn't warm up out of, I'm not competing.
But what works for backs in my experience? I agree with a long warm up, starting on a long rein with lots of suppling exercises. Sore-No-More brace/liniment is also great as well as the tried and true Vetrolin.
Robaxin is legal the night before, at least orally. You can use it w/bute.
I am comepeting this weekend and my horse is on 2.5 gr. robaxin (5 gr./1000lb. can be given twice daily) once daily and 1 gr. bute twice daliy. The robaxin can only be given for 5 days before competition and at least 6 hours before competition. I was drug tested for the first time today so, I hope my vet and I read rules correctly. My horse gets massages as well, which helps alot as well.
Robaxin and banamine would be my choice. Check the rules to know how much to give for sure. And read the NSAID rules carefully depending on what you choose - you cannot mix bute and banamine for example.
Last edited by CAJumper; Jun. 16, 2007 at 11:44 PM.
For future reference, perhaps a Thinline or Ultra thinline half pad could help make a difference. They are thin enough that if your saddle "does" fit correctly, they don't alter fit...but provide a huge amount of shock absorption, and prevent any saddle slippage (in your case, onto the withers).
Let us know how it went!