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Tell me what you do to keep your mid teens horses limber

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    Original Poster

    #21
    Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
    I always try to focus on this kind of stuff so I applaud your attention to detail and making sure you are doing all you can to keep your horse comfortable and happy in his work!

    As mentioned, plenty of turnout, good farrier care, and proper work - including a proper warm up and cool down - will go a long way toward keeping a horse sound. A lot of people *think* they do a good warmup, particularly - but I was taught to use a watch to time it, and was amazed at how "long" 20 minutes feels like until I got used to it! So something to think about. Likewise, taking time to really stretch your horse after work, and then do a proper cool down is super important.

    Other things I have found useful: I bought a Sports Innovation blanket which was a big investment, but one that has paid off in spades. I use it before getting on and also on days off as part of the horses' "super grooming" that happens on the days I don't ride. (Basically I spend the same amount of time I would spend riding doing a really deep grooming on the non-riding days.)

    All my horses get regular (monthly) body work from an FEI qualified therapist. That usually includes magna wave as well as hands on work depending on what each horse needs.

    Hope that helps!
    Thank you!

    I'll never be more than a decent rider despite 30 years trying, and I'll never have more than one horse to ride at a time, but I figure I can be an excellent horseperson and keep the horses comfort paramount.

    I recently read about the 20 minute warmup, so I've been conscious of that. Though tbh, at home, our whole ride is basically a warm up. I like to wait until I have eyes on the ground for a lot of stuff. I also have been doing the "super grooming" - good way to put it. I feel it must have some massage/inflammation-relieving benefits.

    Well, if I only get a few short years out of him before his past catches up (if it does) at least I'll know I did my best! The plan is for him to become my kids horse when he tops out with this kind of work.

    Comment


      #22
      If you decide to try the oral supplement my vet at the time advised me to pick one, double dose for two weeks, and if I didn't notice a difference I should try a different one.

      I'd had my horse on a glucosamine supplement for about a year when the manufacturer changed their process - the appearance and scent of the product changed. Despite the same content claims this altered product did not work for my horse. I did find another one that worked very well for him.

      I don't know where you are, but Pureform Glucosamine is what cut the walk until he feels loose and ready to trot time in half. Pureform is Canadian and may not be available where you are. Whatever you choose feed 10,000mg of glucosamine per day (which may mean feeding more than one scoop of whatever - I have to feed more than one scoop of the Pureform) as ongoing maintenance, so double that for the first two weeks.

      Comment


        #23
        Besides good management and other ideas here, correct and good dressage is the very best thing you can do for your guy. Its like PT for your horse; promoting flexibility, strength and balance. Remember that dressage was originally intended in cavalry to prolong the health and well being of a horse, increasing longevity of their careers. Make sure you have a coach who understands that and is also sympathetic to where your horse is. Some days he may be more creaky or tired, those might be days to go for a walk or do light work. Build on his strengths, don't drill over his weaknesses. Some things he may not be able to do, but you'd be surprised at what he can. I have a lot of experience with these kind of horses, including currently a 16 year old who had been standing and breeding live cover and not much else for six years, before that did crazy parades and exhibitions. He has wear and tear but the work has made him stronger and happier. He is doing 3rd/4th level work now happily and well. I don't expect anything from him but that he enjoys himself, which he does. He loves learning and loves to work. So listen to your guy along the way, and have fun.

        Comment


          #24
          Originally posted by Pehsness View Post

          Thank you!

          I'll never be more than a decent rider despite 30 years trying, and I'll never have more than one horse to ride at a time, but I figure I can be an excellent horseperson and keep the horses comfort paramount.

          I recently read about the 20 minute warmup, so I've been conscious of that. Though tbh, at home, our whole ride is basically a warm up. I like to wait until I have eyes on the ground for a lot of stuff. I also have been doing the "super grooming" - good way to put it. I feel it must have some massage/inflammation-relieving benefits.

          Well, if I only get a few short years out of him before his past catches up (if it does) at least I'll know I did my best! The plan is for him to become my kids horse when he tops out with this kind of work.
          You are very welcome and my guess is you may enjoy many more years of productive work with this approach than you may expect. My oldest current horse is 26 now and although he is slow to warm up, he is still quite sound and enjoys some light work. (Until last winter, my oldest was 34; although fully retired, he was sound as could be when he passed away in January. )

          I do think one of the benefits of the "super grooming" is that you get very, very familiar with your horse's body, particularly their legs, and thus you notice things earlier than you might otherwise. A little filling, a little heat, something that maybe just doesn't feel quite normal - you notice these things and get on top of them before they become big issues.

          Best of luck with your fellow; he sounds lovely and fun and I wish you many years of happiness together.
          **********
          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
          -PaulaEdwina

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #25
            Thanks all - truly appreciate this. And to think I've always been intimidated by the dressage board

            Red horses I'm in Ontario, I'll have to check out the Pureform. The cosequin ASU is $250 at Bahrs. Yikes!

            Oranges - thanks! He does like to work. I'm sure he'd probably prefer that I was working him the way he was used to, but he tries very hard and is a quick learner. And safe safe safe, which is why I like him so much. I just want to cut my teeth in the dressage show ring and build confidence before moving onto a younger horse.

            Comment


              #26
              Originally posted by Pehsness View Post
              He lives out, so we've got that going for us.

              How frequent for regular bodywork do you think? Monthly? Swap chiro and massage each month?
              I’m a certified equine massage therapist and my horse is 22 and still going strong. Regular massage does wonders for all ages!

              Comment


                #27
                My mare is 18 this year and moving better than ever. She would probably be considered low mileage as I have had a lot of physical issues and she hasn’t had much consistent work over the last 6 years.

                Last year, a friend was riding her and she came in with a slightly swollen fetlock. No one (friend, vet and myself) could detect any lameness although there was some heat. I chose to start her on Legend at the recommendation of the vet. The swelling and heat resolved within 2 weeks and has never recurred so I have kept up with the injections.

                In the last
                couple years I have spent lots of time on ensuring she is straight and have done lots of lateral work both on the ground and in the saddle (when I could ride). I think the lateral work has greatly increased her flexibility which goes back to helping her stay straight. She is out 24/7 so can she can move at will. I agree with the motion is lotion thought.

                I tend to be stiff after lessons too. For the post lesson ride, I would do an easy mostly walk with lots of loosening (some LY) and lots of stretching. Maybe back off and do 1 lesson per week? Certainly your instructor could give you homework. You don’t say how much he is schooled other than the lessons. I agree with the people that do cross training and making sure you hit the trails.
                When I was last taking lessons, I was plenty busy and making good steady progress with one lesson every other week (caveat, I had trained/ridden dressage for years before starting with this instructor and already knew the concepts).

                Susan

                Comment


                  #28
                  Originally posted by Pehsness View Post

                  I'll have to check out the Pureform. The cosequin ASU is $250 at Bahrs. Yikes!
                  I'm not sure if they ship to Canada or what the price difference might be, but I had great success with Equithrive as a joint supplement, and it was around $100 every two months auto-shipped.

                  Comment


                    #29
                    You've gotten excellent advice here. My 4th Level gelding is now 19, has had Laminitis, Cushing's and all that. Got that under control now. My goal is to keep him going as long as possible because he's being leased to a lady (88 years young!) to learn dressage with. He's on Adequan two times a year. Really, it's no problem to inject it. Have your vet show you how. I used to do Legend injections, but since that is IV, THAT did make me nervous. IM, not a problem. He and my younger PSG mare get bodywork and Chiropractic as needed.

                    I brought up an older ranch gelding from my cousin's place years ago. I always liked "Tom", so when Cousin said he was looking looking old and sore, I took him. All he needed was a good trim (long, long, cracked toes putting stress on his joints). He was one-sided, as many ranch horses are, and my vet discovered he had a little bone spur (maybe an arthritic change) in one hock. Tom was reluctant to canter right. Left, no problem. But that's a ranch horse thing. He got Legend shots and regular hoof care and was back to work and happy. Adequan would have done the same for him. I also fed a joint supplement, but can't remember which one now.

                    Agree with others who say correct dressage work is the bes thing you can do for your horse. Listen to him and give him easy rides the day after a hard lesson.

                    Comment


                      #30
                      Another experiment you could try is going for a hand walk or tack walk within 24 hours of the lesson for about 30 minutes letting him stretch and move forward. I think about how tight and stiff I get after a really hard workout, and the best thing to help is to go for a moderate walk. Going for a walk and then doing carrot stretches after is probably the best way to loosen and stretch him the day after a lesson.

                      Comment

                        Original Poster

                        #31
                        Originally posted by theresak View Post
                        Another experiment you could try is going for a hand walk or tack walk within 24 hours of the lesson for about 30 minutes letting him stretch and move forward. I think about how tight and stiff I get after a really hard workout, and the best thing to help is to go for a moderate walk. Going for a walk and then doing carrot stretches after is probably the best way to loosen and stretch him the day after a lesson.
                        This is a great idea, thanks. I have been giving him the day off altogether but maybe active recovery is a better idea.

                        Comment


                          #32
                          I bought my PSG schoolmaster when he was fourteen, and retired him due to arthritis at twenty-two and a half, last year, so joint management was a must do from the start.

                          It was really a combination of good farriery, [horse had near turned in toe, which was the feltlock where the changes started]; good surfaces; hardly any lungeing [!] long walk warmup; regular physio with acupuncture; MSM and Glucosamine in nightly feeds; monthly Pentosan [IM injections, my barn owner taught me how to do them properly, and for the first few months if I wasn't confident she did them for me] and later when it came available, the 'wonder gel' 4Cyte's Epiitalis Forte.

                          I also liked to vary our working week, with Friday hack outs, Tuesday trot poles; Wed/Thur dressage but doing different things on both those days. The darling boy 'told me' when he wanted to retire [that near fore fetlock!] but really until then he could still crack out a beautiful canter pirouette. Certainly well worth it keeping a much loved, highly educated chap like him going. x

                          Also fyi found this comparing joint treatments if anyone's interested.
                          https://www.equisearch.com/discoverh...pentosan-16151

                          Comment


                            #33
                            OP: I hope you are realizing that there are a wealth of options today to keep an older horse comfortable. A good vet will know about these and help you make choices, as well as do a helpful lameness exam to help you assess the situation.

                            I continue to use oral supplements (resveratrol makes a big difference for my mare, plus high levels of MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin). Some horses respond very well to Cetyl M products. At age 18, I started her on Pentosan. That is helping her feel even better. Other horses do better on Adequan or Legend or other.

                            Comment


                              #34
                              "hive mind" I like that. My new pony who spent the last six years as a back-yard pet didn't want to trot either, and was totally one-sided. You'll be thrilled with 60 days of correct stretching and work. Mine has improved SO much in just 30 days.

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #35
                                I can't thank every one enough. We had a great lesson yesterday with decent inside bend to the left and nice transitions up and down, so I think we're already seeing improvement. I'll be referring back to this thread often I think.

                                Comment


                                  #36
                                  Mine is on Tight Joints daily and a monthly injection of a glucosamine-hyalauronic acid compound. He's really doing great and schooling all the GP.

                                  Comment


                                    #37
                                    Mine is 21 1/2 Hanoverian who had a long jumping career which we stopped at 18. He gets his hocks done and Osphos about one a year as he had a prior rear hind suspensory injury with an avulsion fracture. He is built for dressage with withers higher than his croup, a short back and great flexibility laterally and horizontally. No neck or back arthritis. Dressage seems to keep him going well. I have a great farrier and vet. My facility keeps the footing maintained properly. I have a caring and understanding trainer. He goes into a proper frame easily as long as you use enough leg. He does get an equioxx pill daily. I always warm him up at the walk before my lesson for about 20 minutes. I time it. He gets no feed through joint supplements as my vet says they are wasteful. I am not sure how much longer he will be comfortable doing this, but I hope I can show him soon. COVID put a damper on this year.

                                    Comment


                                      #38
                                      Maybe you are asking him to do something his body isn't ready to do. Just because they try doesn't physically they can. Imagine wanting to run a marathon and after a month of running every day you tried to run 26 miles! Do you stretch him before and after? He is 17. Any long and low to build a back. Does he swing his back or is he braced just trying to hold himself together?
                                      Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                                      Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                                      "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

                                      Comment


                                        #39
                                        i have a few permanently retired older horses here, of several breeds. One of them, a big Percheron with bilateral stringhalt, was originally with an equine vet. Here, he, at 21, has made so much progress. Most of the time those huge uplifts of his hind legs is barely perceptible any more. He lives with his 'wife', one of my older Morgan mares w/Cushings. The have barn access, 24/7 but prefer to hang out in the woods. Their pasture is pretty big, 123 acres, and has a number of hills on which they move around. They share this pasture with my little fold of Highlands (10) and both of those horses have flourished with: the company they keep, the pasture they eat and most especially the hills and large pasture. I have some other older horses, one is a tall rangy gray Arab mare...she's 20 and has the most free, loose trots ...a beautiful sight. I really do think it's the hills that helps my older ones keep spry. So far, i don't supplement, they live on pasture (and alfalfa hay when needed).

                                        I wonder, can you walk your boy up and down some hills? Maybe stepping over logs and such? Maybe not even ride, but jog or hike alongside?
                                        Consistency, Insistency, Persistency

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