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Question about arthritis management - How often do I need to ride to keep him going?

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  • Question about arthritis management - How often do I need to ride to keep him going?

    My horse has arthritis. He is a bit older so its not unexpected. I am at a busy stage of life and can't ride quite as often as I used to, but I want to keep him moving so the arthritis doesn't pick up speed. I would give him the winter off, but I am not sure he would come back into riding in the Spring being sound. Right now I am riding 2 - 3 times a week, for 20-25 minutes of light hacking. That works for me, and so far it seems to work for him, but what is the "recommended" amount of work to keep an arthritic horse from stiffening up?

  • #2
    My vet tells me I have to ride my older guy at least 3 times a week.


    • #3
      how much turnout does he get? the closer to full time you can do, the less riding you can get away with, but I also wouldn't go below 3x a week for my arthritic guy.
      The big man -- my lost prince

      The little brother, now my main man


      • #4
        I agree with asterix.

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for the info guys!

          Fortunately he does get out a lot, but it is sounding like I need to make sure I usually hit that third time a week if I want to stay on track.


          • #6
            I agree with asterix and Janet.


            • #7
              Originally posted by asterix View Post
              how much turnout does he get? the closer to full time you can do, the less riding you can get away with, but I also wouldn't go below 3x a week for my arthritic guy.
              agree look on the bright side kep him mobile helps keep him fit the more he does out the better you are,


              • #8
                I agree

                The absolutely, hands-down, biggest thing I have seen make a dramatic difference is 24x7 turnout--preferable in a large field where they move around continually to graze.

                [Was that emphatic enough ?]

                1/2 hour rides here and there can't really compare or make up for it. Sounds like you are on the right track with your plan. I agree with everyone above about 3x plus a week.
                DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                • #9
                  I'd ask my vet about a riding regime, but you might also try DAC yucca. Yucca is good for arthritis in horses and DAC has the pure yucca on their own website.


                  • #10
                    I should add that my 28 yo, with hip arthritis, and probable ringbone, is no longer safe to ride- he trips and goes to his knee. But he definitely keeps himself comfortable with 24 hr turnout.

                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                    • #11
                      24x7 turnout is optimal. And a regular schedule of riding too.

                      What is your injection regimin? Adequan? Legend? Polyglycan? Can you consider Equioxx or Previcoxx?
                      "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
                      "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
                      Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!


                      • Original Poster

                        Janet - How old was yours when you decided it was time to stop riding?

                        With regards to maintenance, just Cosequin in the Smartpak. We have no plans to compete so I have not been more aggressive nor has the vet recommended anything else yet. I will consider prevacox if this winter is hard on him. He doesn't need to be up to a real performance level, just comfortable for hacking.


                        • #13
                          my 16 YO got 4 months off as a 15 YO and I'm still payin' for that...he's stovey as an old fart.

                          Turnout does not equal exercise...while he'll play a bit and what not, he won't huff and puff and use his kiester and work over poles. That's where I come in


                          • #14
                            2-3 times a week
                            is this every couple of days or the weekend + 1 other day?

                            Ideally some excercise every day or consistent every alternate day would be better.

                            Maybe expand your supplement to one + HA ... also discuss anti-inflammatories with your vet. Personally I'd also add one of the herbal supplements such as http://www.silverliningherbs.com/sto...port-19-1.html


                            • #15
                              My gelding is "around 20", arthritic hocks and we think generalized arthritis elsewhere too. I ride him 3-4 times per week. Riding varies but I do try to do every other day which works with my schedule. Rides are usually 1/2 hour lesson once a week, with 1/2 hour hack after. Other rides during week might be 15 mins. in field ring (w/t/c, maybe trot poles) and some days just a hack up to an hour. Our hacks include sloping hills and sometimes we trot them. I have built up his fitness quite a bit over the last 6 months. Just took him on a 1.5 hour trail ride on steep trails and he did way better than I thought.

                              On days when time is crunched, even if I only hop on 10-15 minutes bareback, I try to do it vs. missing 4-5 days in a row of riding. When we have bad weather, and even the snow last year, I hand walked him when I could get through the snow, and even walked him up and down the barn aisles when they were confined a few days due to the blizzard.

                              That said, he is on a good arthritis management program which is which I think is equally important. Previcox (which I may reduce dose as he is doing so well!), very good joint supplement. Also long warmups at the walk really help.

                              He is recently turned out with a mare, colt and filly vs. 2 older retired geldings. I was worried about this but he is actually doing better. He is more active, fields have some "interest" a.e. not completely flat. They run and play alot and I have actually seen an improvement in his energy and hind muscles!

                              Turnout is key, however I will say we are an odd case in that he does better in a stall at night in winter and in very hot summer days, daytime. He rests, rejuvenates and has just done better in/out 12/12. When he was field boarded he was not as happy and we had more trouble keeping weight on.

                              Be willing to try different things. I remember my vet saying just like people, horses with arthritis have good days and bad. Try to read your horse. If he is feeling good, go for it. Other days just a light hack around the property are fine. Good luck!