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Senior gelding & Sore hocks - what are my options?

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    Senior gelding & Sore hocks - what are my options?

    My gelding is 22yrs old and mostly retired at this point. Due to a lack of desire to ride and other time consuming activities, he was basically totally retired from Dec of last year up until October of this year. I'm trying to get him back in a more regular (light) riding schedule because I know it's not good for him to just sit there. He's really aged a lot in the last 8-10mos and has lost a lot of muscle.

    He's currently on SmartFlex Senior and MSM. He's turned out 24/7. I'm currently doing a lot of walking and some trotting with lots of halt/walk/trot transitions. I can tell his hocks are bothering him again because he doesn't want to track up under himself all the time at the trot. He's not lame but he's a little NQR. I've been riding him 2-3 times a week for 30-45 minutes on mostly flat surfaces.

    I've had him on Adequan injections in the past. I really just want him to be comfortable for light flat work and trail riding so I have a hard time spending a lot of money on the Adequan. I'm not interested in joint injections. Do I have any other options? Do I just need to change the way I'm riding and just walk, walk, and walk some more? I just want to help him maintain some fitness and enjoy him in his senior years. All ideas appreciated
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - - Adopt for Life!

    I used sore-no-more liniment on a senior TB I used to ride. I just rubbed it into his hocks before each ride. He wasn't mine so not sure what supplements/injections he might have been on, but I did notice a difference when I used the limiment and when I didn't use it.

    One other thought to consider, could your saddle fit have changed a lot during the time he was out of work and lost muscle? Maybe try riding bareback to see if he feels any different?
    "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11


      Why are you "not interested in joint injections" ?


        I love the back on track hock boots! Not sure what his turnout situation is but my older gelding wears his when he's in the stall. He also gets Pentosan twice monthly--IMO much more effective for him than adequan. Two shots a month would run you less than one shot of adequan.
        Originally posted by EquineImagined
        My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


          I use this

          in addition to Chondroitin/MSM for my 24 yr old horse with Equine Metabolic Syndrome. I am a bit limited in what this horse can have because of his metabolic issues, I can say the Hylarin/B works really well on him.

          I also give both products, in a reduced dosage, to my two senior dogs that I rescued years ago with various broken bones and now have arthritis around those old breaks. Both dogs do remarkably well and are still enjoying Quality of Life, thanks to these products --- as is my TWH

          I also massage his legs up with Absorbine on cold damp days and that seems to help.

          I also have an infrafred therapy pad that, while it doesn't work to the degree I think it should for the money I spent, the vet did tell me "it does help" and to keep using it.

          I bought this one (the small one) on the recommendation of my chiro, who is also a DVM, and the fact that it's made close by and I can drive to their house if it blows up in too short of a time span


            Original Poster

            LD - Thanks for the suggestion for the SoreNoMore. I'll give that a shot. I did wonder about my saddle but it appears to still be fitting pretty well even with some muscle loss. Fortunately I have a Mattes pad that I can use to shim it up a bit if needed.

            NorCal - Joint injections are a bit drastic IMO for my situation. I know others use it routinely with no concerns. If I was actively showing or my horse had a serious lameness, I would consider it but otherwise the cost and risk is not worth it to me. Also, I'm not sure my vet is comfortable with giving joint injections and the next closest vet I know that probably would be is a 1.5 hour haul from me. Just not worth it

            Herbie - Thanks for the tip! He's pretty much out 24/7. The BO brings them up to the barn at night during the winter but they're never actually stalled. The other horses have paddocks off of their stalls while his stall actually stays open to the pasture. How long do the BOT wraps need to stay on to be effective?

            walk - thanks for the info! I'll check in to that as an addition to my current supplement. I've considered switching back to Cosequin, as I've used that in the past with good results, just to see if it makes any difference for him. Let us know how the light therapy pad works out! That looks pretty interesting.
            "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

            Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - - Adopt for Life!


              Originally posted by SkipHiLad4me View Post
              NorCal - Joint injections are a bit drastic IMO for my situation. I know others use it routinely with no concerns. If I was actively showing or my horse had a serious lameness, I would consider it but otherwise the cost and risk is not worth it to me. Also, I'm not sure my vet is comfortable with giving joint injections and the next closest vet I know that probably would be is a 1.5 hour haul from me. Just not worth it
              My horse needed joint injections only about every 9 months for about 2 years. We now do them every 6 mos, but IMO, so so worth it. He moves so much more fluidly and happily afterwards. My horse isn't seriously lame - just stiff in the hocks, has confirmed arthritis in both, and loves work and riding....even if it's trails and light dressage/flatwork. I know the vet being close-by is an issue, but 1.5 hour haul isn't that far for your horse's comfort?? If he is sore riding he is probably sore in turnout and in general. (I just drove half an hour to drop off my horse's fecal!!) If it were monthly I could see it, but you may be able to do every 6-9 months. Just a thought.

              We have also had good success with Platinum Performance CJ. I will probably try the BOT hock boots this winter, for overnight in his stall. I have heard good things! Good luck!


                As far as the BOT hock boots are concerned, I leave them on overnight when it's cold and he's in the stall--so 12 hours or so. Not sure what the minimum time for effectiveness is, but honestly I would think that 24 hour turnout would be just as beneficial! I mainly use them at shows when he's stuck in the stall or at home when the weather prevents ample turnout.
                Originally posted by EquineImagined
                My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


                  Look up the threads on here about pentosan and previcoxx. I've subscribed the theory that "motion is lotion" so I think it's good that he's on 24/7 turnout and even if he's a bit sore, I still the he's better off with some light riding.


                    Posted by Skip... "I'm trying to get him back in a more regular (light) riding schedule because I know it's not good for him to just sit there. He's really aged a lot in the last 8-10mos and has lost a lot of muscle."

                    If you're just riding him because you think it's not good for him to just "sit there", don't worry about it. He'll do just fine exercising himself in a 24/7 turn-out environment. He's lost the muscle because it wasn't necessary for him to carry a rider anymore, and I'm sure that he's just fine with good senior feed and hay in addition to his turn-out and some TLC. I have a 27-year old who has been turned out since she was 18 and she's definitely holding her own and doing her thing.

                    Trying to get a 22-year old horse back to riding fit is like trying to get your 75-year old grandpa to play short stop and be effective at it.

                    Just my opinion.....
                    Siegi Belz
                    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


                      If he doesn't have any stomach problems, I'd recommend some bute. Maybe just every other day or on days before you ride, etc. I saw a presentation by a sport horse vet and he advocated bute (if horse doesn't have issues with it) as one of the cheap yet effective ways to make arthritic horses more comfortable.


                        You can also try some B-L Solution in addition to the joint supplements. Mine get Fluid Action HA, as I have found the HA does seem to help, and B-L Solution also seems to ease their discomfort.

                        I have two retirees, one is 28 the other is 24, and it works for both of them.
                        There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                          Original Poster

                          Thanks all for your suggestions thus far. Much appreciated. I am planning to check with my vet also but wanted to do a little "research" ahead of time to see what others were doing or had tried so as to be better prepared for our conversation

                          slp - I was reminded after reading your post that my vet did recommend that I could try a little bit of bute prior to our rides if I felt he needed it... that was a couple of years ago before we went with the Adequan shots so I didn't end up trying the bute at the time to see how well that worked.

                          sister - thanks for those product suggestions. I've heard of both but don't have any experience with either. I'll check in to those and run them past my vet also.
                          "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                          Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - - Adopt for Life!


                            I disagree that 24/7 turnout means there's no need for light work. Light work is not only good for the horse's body, it's good for his mind. All the horses at my boarding barn are out 24/7, and quite a few of them are old. I see the difference in the ones that get light to moderate work versus the fully-retired horses. The latter just plain look older, even if they're a few years younger than the ones that still get ridden. They lose muscle tone and just generally look rougher. Unless your field is hilly, the horses stay on level surfaces and for the most part don't do anything but walk around - except maybe for the mad dash to the bucket at feeding time. It's like saying old people don't need exercise as long as they can still walk around the house.