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  1. #1
    hALTer@X Guest

    Default Getting back into work - back sore

    I have a horse that was off all winter that I'd like to bring back into condition, but am having problems even establishing a regular work routine because he's been plagued by back soreness.

    I have had a saddle fitter (a qualified master saddler for what that's worth) check my tack and it fits. He moves well and fluidly on the longe line. He's in good condition in terms of weight and health. His top line needs work but he doesn't have any extreme issues like huge hollows on either side of the wither or a protruding spine. No history of back issues.

    Work has been light - I've been starting with rides of 45-60 min, just walking, working on suppleness and stretching. However, due to bouts of soreness, under saddle work has been sporadic.

    However, now I'm wondering if that duration is too long for a horse that's not been ridden for several months. Should I start with shorter rides - say 15 minutes - to "reacclimate" his back to the weight of a rider?



  2. #2
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    I think you can expect some soreness coming back to work. I know that after I haven't ridden in a while I'm sore afterward, but... I would think that keeping him in work would be better than working him and not working him. I don't think 45-60 minutes of walking is too much, but I would keep my sessions shorter like 30 minutes and get some trotting in there. Lungeing in sidereins will also help build his topline and will help build strength without adding the weight of a rider. Nice long walks out on the trail and some hills will also help.

    Has he seen a vet for soundness? Sore hocks, sore feet can cause a sore back also.
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"



  3. #3
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    I'm just bringing one of mine back into work too after several months off. He's a bit different than yours though b/c he's working his way through foot rehab.

    I found when I first started working him a month or so ago, he got sore very easily - like 20 min. of walk and light trot. I realized he was still sore from the feet and his muscles needed more time heal.

    I started riding him again a month or so later and he's much better this time. His feet are in better balance (but still have a ways to go) and he can handle a bit more work. I ride him about 4x's per week not more than 30 min usually. Walk, mostly trotting on the aids and a bit of canter and some hill work.

    I check him all the time though and give him lots of massages so his back doesn't get too tight.



  4. #4
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    I would also reduce the time and see if that helps -- if not there may in fact be hock issues or even back issues -- sometimes a lack of muscle will bring these things to the fore even if you haven't noticed them before.

    I would NOT lunge an unfit horse in sidereins. This is a lot of stress on tendons and ligaments that need time to be able to carry the horse in self carriage on a small circle.

    Lots of walking, on terrain, first. Then the other stuff.
    The big man -- no longer an only child

    His new little brother



  5. #5
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    I think I'd start over with hand walking for 30 minutes a day, some light hills if you can, so you can get his muscles working without carrying weight.

    After 1-2 weeks, get on and keep the same 30 minutes of walking, nothing different, no flexing, no "on the bit", and see where you are after another week.

    If he's still fine, then start asking for small segments of more correct work in the same 30 minutes.

    keep increasing things in relatively small increments - intensity or duration, never both at the same time. That will help you pinpoint what's causing it.

    I would think that 45+ minutes of active walking with suppling and stretching could indeed make a horse sore when he hasn't worked in 3+ months. How fit was he before his Winter vacation?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by asterix View Post
    I would NOT lunge an unfit horse in sidereins. This is a lot of stress on tendons and ligaments that need time to be able to carry the horse in self carriage on a small circle.
    A few minutes in trot each direction with them adjusted correctly for his fitness level on a 20 meter circle shouldn't hurt him, unless there is a soundness issue.
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"



  7. #7
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    I tend to agree with asterix but it depends on the "when" of doing this. I would NOT put side reins on an unfit horse who is also sore-backed. I'd want him reaching as far out and down as he can go on the lunge to help stretch those muscles.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  8. #8
    hALTer@X Guest

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    Thanks all for the thoughtful responses and input. I had the vet out this morning and she disagrees with the saddle fitter - he's sore on either side of his withers and she says that chances are about 100% that soreness is caused by something pinching him. I have a new saddle coming, and it should arrive soon, so I hope to have all saddle fit issues resolved. We confirmed that he's sound - no issues with feet or hocks. In the meantime, I'm obviously not riding!

    I have been doing a lot of hand-walking, and will continue to do that, with a little longing, because he really is getting the hang of stretching and reaching on the longe, and I agree with JB re: encouraging him to stretch those muscles for the mo. Our outdoor has a little slope to it, and we can walk around the property to get a little more hill work in the meantime.

    When his back is better and we're ready to ride again, I'll keep it short and easy to start, and will gradually add suppling and trot work. He was pretty fit last year - his old owner did a lot with him - trails, jumping, xc, dressage - she's an eventer and had him out and about and going well.



  9. #9
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    Maybe a couple of visits with the MT/chiro would benefit him
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"



  10. #10
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    I almost said something about your comment about the master saddle fitter, but didn't LOL I was going to say:

    I know you said....but there have been SO many people, just on this board let alone others, who have had horses practically crippled because of saddles "fitted" by professional fitters, so forgive me if I'm going to ask - are you 1000% sure the saddle fits? If *you* aren't sure, but are relying on someone else, then I wouldn't assume it does fit.

    I don't trust someone whose work I haven't seen - just the way I am

    So, it's interesting that he's sore along his withers. Any chance of some saddle fit pictures?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  11. #11
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    Since it sounds like the saddle wasn't fitting, even with a new saddle you may need to have a vet/chiro work on him before you see any improvement. Often things like ribs and withers, if caused by a bad fitting saddle won;t fix themselves.



  12. #12
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    My MT/chiro guy said true back soreness is almost always saddle fit.

    You could ride bareback, once he isn't sore, until you get the new saddle checked out.

    You could NOT tell by looking that saddles didn't fit my mare. A sweat pattern was a pretty good indicator, but even that wasn't perfect.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by katyb View Post
    My MT/chiro guy said true back soreness is almost always saddle fit.

    You could ride bareback, once he isn't sore, until you get the new saddle checked out.

    You could NOT tell by looking that saddles didn't fit my mare. A sweat pattern was a pretty good indicator, but even that wasn't perfect.
    Actually a lot of back soreness is caused by lameness also. But if your chiro guy isn't a vet they wouldn't know this?



  14. #14
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    Only mentioning this because it hasn't been brought up. You might want to get him on a Mag supplement. I have a horse who has had a sore back for years and he's not even a riding horse. It was evident because every time I groomed him, even the lightest touch would result in his back sinking down. A saddle would make him lose him every loving mind. Back and hips were both sore. I hadn't had much luck with most Mag supplements but put him on Magrestore and it solved all of that back tenderness. Mind you, I had tried various mag supplements for years to the point I thought, well, it's not a mag problem. But on one last try I tried the Magrestore. Made a believer out of me. This is the first year in YEARS I can take any brush to him and he stands still and enjoys it instead of wincing in pain. Surely it's probably saddle fit or something else, but Magrestore is cheap enough to give it a whirl to see if it will help. I've got my guy on one heaping scoop per day. Saw a difference in two weeks. Here's the link if you're interested

    http://www.performanceequineusa.com/...iummalate.aspx



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by davistina67 View Post
    Actually a lot of back soreness is caused by lameness also. But if your chiro guy isn't a vet they wouldn't know this?
    No, I think by "true back soreness" he (and I, btw) meant soreness that actually originates in the back.

    While he isn't a vet, he "diagnosed" the root cause of a friend's mare's issues, based only on my description, while her vet and the local vet school spent thousands of dollars and months to finally reach the same conclusion. Not that a horse chiropractor is any replacement for a vet in most situations, but that doesn't meant they can't contribute to overall good function and health.



  16. #16

    Default

    Anyone calling themselves a 'chiro' has to be either a DC or DVM. (either licensed on humans or a vet-if not, they legally cannot call themselves a chiro).
    Anyway..if it is saddle, just changing saddles won't fix this problem-you will need most likely a MT out to work out the soreness created by the first saddle. Spasms and soreness do not go away on their own.
    Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MassageLady View Post
    Anyone calling themselves a 'chiro' has to be either a DC or DVM. (either licensed on humans or a vet-if not, they legally cannot call themselves a chiro).
    Anyway..if it is saddle, just changing saddles won't fix this problem-you will need most likely a MT out to work out the soreness created by the first saddle. Spasms and soreness do not go away on their own.
    Actually in many states, even if you are a DC you can't call yourself a chiro, or even work on horses. In Colorado, they changed the law last year so that DC's can work on horses but they have to go to school first. Up till then, only a vet could adjust a horse unless a vet traveled with to every appointment. Not many DC's have went to school yet but these idiots are out working on horses, I guess worse yet, people pay them to do it without checking out their credentials.



  18. #18
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    I had a gelding that was backsore a lot and it was actually caused because his selenium levels were too low. Now hes on a vit. e, selenium supplement and it did wonders. Also doing stretches with him to build muscle. Run your finger down the center of there belly from front legs to back and it makes them round there back and stretch out those muscles. It really helped my guy.



  19. #19
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    Magnesium and selenium ran through my mind, but it sounds like he's not sore all the time, just after he's been ridden correct?? You could get his levels checked just to rule it in or out I guess.

    Here's my sore back story...
    I had been in the sore back battle with Boy for over a year (maybe closer to 2), ever since my MT/chiro started getting him straightened out and the vet said sore hocks. He came to me with an old SI injury that included a rotated pelvis and a dropped hip. He didn't start having problems with a sore back though until his hocks started bothering him. He didn't look lame behind btw...he just stopped picking up his left lead. Leads had never been an issue until then. Hock injections, regular visits with the MT/chiro didn't take care of it. He would be a little better for a while then get worse. I figured he was so out of whack for such a long time it would take a while for everything to start working right again. Started him on E/Se, that helped a little and he went from laying his ears and smacking me with his tail during grooming to tolerating it. This spring I decided to get his lower back injected. That helped a little but what really seemed to work was the E/Se Mag. He starts off a little stiff now, but works out of it beautifully and is not the least bit sore after work. He went from tolerating his grooming sessions to giving me the "lip" and letting me know he's in heaven by grooming me too. He even enjoys the soft horse hair brush now...he used to snap his teeth at that one

    Good luck and I hope you get your boy figured out. I know it must be frustrating.
    Boyle Heights Kid 1998 OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
    Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
    "Once you go off track, you never go back!"



  20. #20
    hALTer@X Guest

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    I don't think it's an E/Se situation - the horse (TB gelding) loves being groomed, and especially when I really get going with a curry. He drops, his eyes go half mast, the lower lip droops - no sensitivity whatsoever.

    We are doing belly lifts, and he has a masseuse.

    I am pretty sure we're not looking at a complex issue, since the issue seems to be caused by the combination of my saddle, and the fact that he's not terribly fit.

    Thanks all.



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