If he's working well, are you sure he's really back sore? I'd be more inclined to say that it just comes with winter, everyone is a little stiff standing around, and if he's been swaddled in plenty of blankets that could be affecting him as well.
And I don't blame you a bit for not considering chiropractic care. I've had far too many 'highly recommended' hacks crank on my gelding with little result.
He was definitely back sore when we shockwaved him. I was experiencing some performance issues (trouble keeping him straight; hard time getting him to give me his really GOOD canter), which is why I had the vet out. He is MUCH improved, and I do think you are right that a lot of this is just his very sensitive body being DONE with winter. He's clipped, but he is shedding, which I think makes him touchy. He hates being cold, but he also hates clothes and is very particular about how the rest on him and if they pull on him at all. I know what he is feeling, because I'm there, too!
Because of who he is (a workaholic with a wicked streak), he does get EXTREMELY bored in the winter, which makes him cranky, too....so, we have all sorts of contributing factors going on.
The general thought process with him is that if he acts like he's considering homicide but improves, it is probably a combination of the heeby-jeebies and his cantankerous nature, but if he does not improve or struggles in his work, he is muscle/back sore. All week, if he came out with a chip on his shoulder, it has gone away as soon as we picked up and started working.
Like I said, he can be a frustrating horse. I may be ultra sensitive about the back stuff because, if I could, I would throw everything I could at it. But it just isn't feasible at the moment.
Well, if the shockwave helped last time but not this time that also leads me to believe he's just as through with winter as the rest of us. But the rest of us don't get to actually see him go, so just remember all suggestions come with a big grain of salt
Seems to me that you have a good handle on it and perhaps have exhausted the non-medical list of suggestions. Which is fine, as unpopular an opinion as that may be.
Shockwave DID help, definitely. His work is back to where it was prior to me noticing it going a little south. He's just still over the top and on edge and very guarded in his body (or was when I started this thread....today he seems to have taken a deep breath and relaxed a bit).
Haven't read through all, so apologize if this was suggested.
My guy has kissing spine - had immediate improvement with custom saddle (I know, you're looking for inexpensive here.) Also very skin sensitive
But he had even greater improvement when I moved away from a quilt and half pad, to a thicker fleece pad. Am a re-rider, and it's what was popular years ago. Expensive "washable" fleece pad fell apart in the wash and was returned. Newer fleece pads very scratchy. I then hit a couple of tack shops and found some used ones. I think they really keep the saddle, as well made as mine is, from any unnecessary movement, any unneccesary sliding around. He seems much happier.
But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson
I equate it to a trigger point therapy/acupressure/massage book for horses, and I find it is extremely helpful for all sorts of areas. I don't know anything about the Masterson Method, but it might be similar. I just also love how Jack's book (at least the spiral bound one) is small and handy enough that I just keep it in my grooming tote and can refer to it regularly when at the barn.
Jack Meagher. Awesome. That's a name I know. I'll look into that!
Just a quick update. We've had a great week. He felt terrific all week and has worked very well, including a very intense dressage lesson followed by a pretty tough jump lesson. I've been able to groom him, including currying his back (a big sign that he feels better), all week. He's been only Quiessence for a week, and I think it has made a big difference. We've also been able to back off his robaxin, and when he's done with this bottle (which should be in a day or two) we'll see how he is without. My vet gave me a couple of different ideas for some other things to try, both for the muscle soreness and for some of his anxiety. So, we seem to be back on the right path and have him at a good, well managed point right now. I will definitely be looking into some of these other ideas still.
Really? Never heard of a horse getting that stiff just because it's winter.
If winter means snow/ice and if that means less turnout and/or the horses just stand by the fence and don't MOVE on turnout-- they can get stiff. Anytime it's cold and my horse is stuck in the stall more, I give him a couple of days of Robaxin. Helps him be less stiff.