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Anybody have a horse w/ a sore back after a bout w/ ulcers?

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  • Anybody have a horse w/ a sore back after a bout w/ ulcers?

    Title pretty much sez it.

    We just finished a LOOONNNGGG round of GGard on my mare and started her back to work. The ulcers combined w/ some probable bad heats had her so tied up she wouldn't let you touch her.

    She was still acting fussy under saddle so I had a body worker check her. She had some BAD knots where the saddle would sit.

    She's been off 3 months and I have sat on her in this saddle 3 times for maybe a total of 30 mins each ride.

    While I can see the saddle making things worse, I'm having trouble w/ the saddle being the cause of the problem? Or would muscle spasms stay around for several months if it was the previous saddle? Or is it left from the ulcers? Or maybe just long standing from something else?

  • #2
    The short answer is yes, ulcers can lead to a sore back for a variety of reasons. My vet/chiro worked on my guy after his round with hind gut ulcers/omeprazole sensitivity/hospitalization and commented that the acupressure points for the stomach and hind gut are in the SI-region of the back. He got extremely sore and sensitive through that area during and after we figured out what was going on. So it would make sense to me that if a horse had a bad bout with ulcers flaring up that there could be a lot of tension in the back in that region. And not knowing acupuncture/acupressure points, maybe there's something relating to the region of the back closer to the withers.

    But beyond that, ulcers can also make a horse hold their bodies differently to compensate for the discomfort and I would expect the first place for that to really manifest to be the back.

    Not relating to ulcers, I have had my horses get extremely sore under the saddle for reasons completely unrelated to the saddle. My vet/chiro worked on my mare once and said I had to get a new saddle because mine was wrecking her back. I pulled it out to show her and she was surprised at how well it fit (it was custom made for her and reflocked fairly regularly). After much contemplation, it finally occurred to me that my dressage trainer had really upped what she was asking of us around that same time and I think she was making herself sore from the correct usage of body parts that hadn't ever worked that way before My point being that a different usage of a horse's body can manifest itself in soreness pretty quickly. I would definitely suggest getting the saddle looked at by someone, but I wouldn't assume that was the problem.

    With that being said, a poorly fitting saddle could cause knots fairly quickly if your 3 rides were right before the body worker came to work on your mare.
    Flying F Sport Horses
    Horses in the NW


    • #3
      Ulcer meds can also deplete magnesium which can lead to body soreness/stiffness/tight muscles.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks PNW....The saddle definitely hits the ouchy spots...I wasnt sure that that could show up that fast.

        Its treeless and really flexible,but shes carrying herself pretty crooked again (back to ground zero from a previous issue) so maybe its pressing on something anyhow.

        Put a back on track pad on her for awhile and will try riding in the husbands saddle. Its treed (ouchy for me!) but fits her really well....

        I have her on mag already at a double dose.


        • #5
          It may also help to try a heating pad. I use one on my mare, for about 15 minutes. If it's really cold out I put it under her cooler. It does wonders to help soothe the sore muscles. Just make sure you stand by and not leave her unattended. Liniment may help too but she may not like you rubbing it in if the muscles are that sore.

          Saddle fit is definitely a contributing factor. Ever walk in heels that dont fit right? 30 minutes later you're definitely hurting But in this case I'm sure it is a combination of the factors that you've mentioned.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by kmmoran View Post
            . Ever walk in heels that dont fit right? 30 minutes later you're definitely hurting
            Which would be why I avoid those suckers at all costs!!! Except for me it's like it doesnt matter if they fit or not!


            • #7
              Long term unmanaged pain can also lead to neuro wind up syndrome--essentially the nervous system gets so ramped that it starts perceiving non-pain impulses as pain. Gabapentin can be very useful in treating.


              • Original Poster

                Simkie - veeerrrryyy interesting! Will mention it to the vet if things don't calm down soon.


                • #9
                  My mare had major back pain during her ulcer flare-up. I kept getting her chiro-ed and the saddle re-fitted to no avail, until I figured out it was ulcers. But the back pain was my major symptom.

                  Try some good body-work and a specific type of riding to encourage your horse to use herself properly again, to move fluidly and swing through her back It may take a while before she drops her defensiveness and starts to use her back, during which time she will be making herself sore, so keep up the stretchy/suppling work and the body work for a few weeks.
                  "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks, retro! She was pretty defensive feeling....

                    I think I'm going to do more work in side reins and get her stretching before getting on...and then start back in the husbands saddle since it doesnt hit ouchy spots.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                      Ulcer meds can also deplete magnesium which can lead to body soreness/stiffness/tight muscles.
                      How so? Do you have any references?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by davistina67 View Post
                        How so? Do you have any references?


                        • #13
                          Thank you!


                          • #14
                            Off the wall suggestion here, is to get a Selenium test done. Horse may prove to be just fine, but you have ruled it out as a source of the problem.

                            We had a horse who was extremely low on her Selenium levels. She had an extremely sore back because her reproductive system was not working correctly. She was being driven, not ridden, but was carrying herself unevenly, so was also "off" in her movement. We did a LOT of things to try fixing the issue, because we thought it was a leg problem. FINALLY got a new Vet for second opinion, did the Selenium tests which showed how bad her levels were.

                            With Selenium shots, then top dressing Selenium and Vit E, we got her straightened out and moving even again.

                            It is amazing how many places Selenium touches, including muscle recovery in work, reproductive systems. So being low could cause all sorts of issues. Worth testing to know that is not the issue. Each horse uses their body differently, the other horse in the barn, same feed program, not worked quite as much, had no lack of Selenium issues, never was off or sore muscled at all.


                            • #15
                              I just had a chance to look at this. This is for humans. Any info on horses?


                              • #16
                                That is so interesting about the Selenium. I am curious if this is an issue with an ultra-sensitive mare of mine. We suspected SI, sore back and now I'm wondering about ulcers. I hope we can get her sorted. She is so sensitive that taking her blanket off she scoots away, even though she's been wearing one since she was two. Riding her is....interesting....She never presented as lame or back sore until very recently so it was so hard to know at first if it was just bad attitude.
                                Good luck with your horse, I hope you have better diagnostic luck than I have so far!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                                  Ulcer meds can also deplete magnesium which can lead to body soreness/stiffness/tight muscles.
                                  Any references that prove this?


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by kmmoran View Post
                                    It may also help to try a heating pad. I use one on my mare, for about 15 minutes. If it's really cold out I put it under her cooler. It does wonders to help soothe the sore muscles. Just make sure you stand by and not leave her unattended. Liniment may help too but she may not like you rubbing it in if the muscles are that sore.

                                    Saddle fit is definitely a contributing factor. Ever walk in heels that dont fit right? 30 minutes later you're definitely hurting But in this case I'm sure it is a combination of the factors that you've mentioned.
                                    What kind of a heating pad do you use? My horse's back muscles are a little more sore this winter since it's so cold


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by davistina67 View Post
                                      Any references that prove this?
                                      This is fairly new research IN HUMANS. Nothing yet has been published with regard to equines.


                                      • #20
                                        Thanks Simkie...you beat me to it.