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Your Horses Routine Care

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  • Your Horses Routine Care

    I just moved my horse to a new barn recently and the amount of stuff everyone does to their horses makes me feel like mine isn't getting cared for well enough. JOKING!

    But seriously; hock injections, other injections, chiropractor and so on. How do you justify this? I am not against any of this, and put a lot of thought/research into my horses care (very hands on and experienced horse boarder unlike some people that just drink the kool aid).

    How do you tell when poopsie might benefit from a chiropractor? Hock injections?

    My mare is 9, built a little crooked and jumps good sized sticks. No soundness issues, and she gets 1 scoop of Cosequin (original concentrated) AM and PM as a preventative. Should I be doing more to prevent?

    I don't like burning money but my horse does get the best of everything. In this new environment I feel like I am not doing enough.

    What kind of routine care does your horse get? How hard does your horse work?

  • #2
    My gelding is 16 and gets Adequan and monthly chiro adjustments. I see a huge difference after the chiro. He has issues with his neck and boy does he resist using his shoulders. Afterwards--he's so much happier and so am I. It's hard to tell if they have issues until you get someone to examine them. My horse is pretty transparent when something hurts--some are not. Its only $55 a visit so it's cheap treatment and my chiro is a DVM so she alerts me to anything that might start in his feet or joints before it's a problem.

    Comment


    • #3
      My 9yo hunter (leased out) is sound on no supplements/injections etc. my retired 20 yo hunter has never been injected in his life. He does have hock arthritis but the vet said he's comfortable with nothing. So all my horses get is hay, fresh water, occasionally grain and treats
      Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
      White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

      Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think you will find people all over the spectrum on this. I know people who I swear do things to their horses just so they can make a fuss and have an excuse not to ride or work too hard in their riding. But I know people who are riding lame horses and have ZERO clue that their horse could seriously benefit from some medical intervention (or a better farrier, or a better saddle, or a better rider....).

        For my personal horse, I do what he needs. He is a kinda sorta prelim event horse (kinda sorta because we had a rough year last year at that level, but almost entirely because his rider had some serious mental hurdles to get over!), so he works quite hard. 6 days a week most of the year, with conditioning work, jumping, solid dressage work, and all the rest. He will hopefully do a three day in the fall.

        He has, so far, been a very sound little horse in his feet and limbs, and so far/touch wood, has needed no help in that department. He does, however, suffer from chronic muscle soreness/tightness, especially in his back. He has been shockwaved twice and had mesotherapy once (gigantic disaster for him, even though I've used it with many other horses with great success). He also is seen regularly by a massage therapist (and would get this even if he DIDN'T complain about his muscles. I am a huge believer in massage). The barn I manage has a magnetic/massage blanket that he spends some time in most days, especially pre-ride, to help loosen him up and warm him up.

        How do I know when his back is bothering him? Subtle changes in his performance. This last go round he went from really being able to "sit" in his canter work and was starting to show signs of real collection and self carriage, to just not managing it. He is a very touchy horse by nature, ESPECIALLY in the winter, so I can't always get a good "read" on his back feels by palpating it myself.

        He does not get any oral joint supplement (not a fan) but does get Pentosan.

        I have the vet give him a "performance evaluation" about every 6 months, just to stay on top of any minor complaints. My vet's a good guy and at my barn on a regular basis, so, occasionally, when I may or may not be having a mental breakdown, will watch him move or palpate/flex/whatever.

        He gets very good shoeing and is managed well to keep his feet in good shape (deep, dry bedding, doesn't stand out on hard ground stomping at flies all day, doesn't get unnecessary baths or showers, etc, etc, etc).

        Other than general good horsemanship and practices (good diet, lots of turn out, icing his legs after big jumps or gallops, good warm up/cool down, lots of stretchy work, etc, etc, etc), I don't do anything I don't feel his body tells me it needs. I DO think having a good working relationship with a good vet (preferably one who understands sport horses) is a vital part of horse management. Just because your vet knows your horse well or sees it with some regularity does not necessarily mean you have to poke it with lots of needles or crack its back.
        Amanda

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        • #5
          Don't succumb to peer pressure! If it's not broke, don't fix it!
          I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

          Comment


          • #6
            I think it depends greatly on the person, horse, how much the horse is ridden/jumped/shown, turn out, and competitiveness.
            Someone who just wants to pop around, not upset if they aren't winning big classes, it's not such a huge deal if the horse has 99.9% of power in it's jump rather than 100%. But for big classes where people really want to win that 0.1% may result in a rail or not QUITE the jump style that's gonna WIN the class if it's incredibly competitive.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I should add that I did notice a difference with the Cosequin vs without.

              I guess because I get massages and visit the chiropractor and feel much better after maybe my horse should too? But I fear that maybe massages and chiro could create problems if they are not already there to fix?

              It took be a long time to actually give in and go to a chiropractor myself.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm usually pretty minimalist with maintenance. Good feed, clean living area, groomed regulalry.

                I did have a massage therapist out for Daatje after last year's hunt season. She did a great job and the horse was moving much more freely undersaddle after the massage.

                Hunting is tough on the body and I thought it would be a nice thing to do for her.
                http://www.foxhuntingfriesian.blogspot.com
                http://www.isherwoodstudios.blogspot.com

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                • #9
                  You said "she's built a little crooked"... and while I understand you not wanting to change anything since everything is good now; you might consider an **evaluation** by an equine chiropractor. I say this because while the horse is only 9 years old now, if you expect to keep her a long while, you may wish to consider the long term rather than the immediate.
                  If you compete, you may want to wait until after the prime season to make any changes.
                  I have never been a believer in all the additives and such; however, my gelding did have some trouble in the past and I've had to use various "things" to get him right. He's 26 this year (a QH) and he is very active during trail riding & camping season, although he has been used for a variety of riding events in the past 16 years.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I am a firm, huge believer in regular (which can mean monthly or every 6 months or every year) chiropractic eyes. Horses are pretty good at covering up discomfort until it becomes too much and then "suddenly" the horse is lame/stopping at fences/won't go forward/etc.

                    They are big athletes that are being asked to do a lot of things they weren't designed to do (even if they do them well). There isn't a human athlete alive who can get by on just a little advil or glucosamine if he's working hard enough for enough years.

                    So while I'm not saying horses need the supplement book thrown at them, assuming you've got a good solid diet (which yes, might include a supplement here and there to make up for deficiencies in forage), I also don't believe in "if it ain't broke, don't change it", because "ain't broke" is not always apparent.

                    Heck, my 2yo has been seeing a chiro a couple of times a year when I have her up for my other horse. I saw him rear and have his hind legs slide out from under him and he landed right on his tail - ouch. He got up fine, and spent the next couple of weeks looking just fine in the pasture. When I had her look at him (didn't tell her what he'd done) she found his pelvis out of whack a bit and actually asked if he'd slipped. It certainly wasn't bothering him, but what if I'd let that go on for 2 years before starting him under saddle? He also did a 180 spook/bolt one day and fell HARD on his side. Chiro was up a few weeks later (he has timing, no? LOL) and again asked if I'd seen him fall on his left side.

                    My point is - horses do things while we aren't watching, and it's body issues which can to easily creep up and suddenly blindside you, when it might well have been something you could have prevented with having a chiro or MT take a good look at the horse even just twice a year.
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As much turnout as possible, 24/7 if I can swing it, lots of hay or pasture, minimal concentrate, and an occasional "once over" of the feeding program to be sure they're not missing anything.

                      One of mine gets Pentosan monthly during show season because she has (documented by Xray) hock arthritis and this seems to help her more than hock injections did. I'd much rather leave joint injections for absolute compelling need.

                      None of mine get any "supplements" other than vitamins/minerals that are given based on feed and hay analylsis. (see above) I consider them a waste of money.

                      I will treat the one horse that enjoys them to a massage once in a while, but my other one hates massage and I don't typically use chiropractic unless the vet that specializes it happens to be out looking at my horse for something--if he thinks an adjustment is warranted I'll give that an OK but never on a routine basis.

                      I guess because I get massages and visit the chiropractor and feel much better after maybe my horse should too?
                      I'm sure this sentiment fuels a huge part of the horse massage and chiro industry. I don't enjoy massage--probably why I *perceive* that my one mare doesn't, either. My own experience of chiropractic is that it does nothing unless there is one particular, focal problem that can be addressed, which I've had happen to me twice with great relief. But regular doing it for the sake of doing it? Meh. Didn't do anything for me personally. Again, our perceptions and biases color these things enormously, skeptics right along with "believers".
                      Click here before you buy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Do what you think is right for your horses, but personally, I have seen some of the "additional" treatments help quite a bit.

                        My first horse fell hard in the trailer and ended up sliding partially underneath a divider and struggling. Consequently, she ended up being cranky when saddling, laying down, etc. Someone else told me to reconsider horsey chiro and luckily I had one within access that is a superb lameness & chiro DVM. Horse improved wonderfully. This DVM told me that a lot of horses he sees have underlying lameness issues, so for his exams, he does the lameness exam first to see if it's anything that should be fixed that way, does saddle fitting/tack fitting, and then an adjustment as necessary, otherwise if the original issue isn't fixed, it will just continue to reoccur. Made sense and worked for us.

                        My now current DVM/Chiro is very sweet too and my horses don't see her too terribly often..just usually when I notice the horse isn't willing to take the bit as well or a little cranky being cinched up, etc.

                        FWIW--I also do hock injections, but didn't go that route until current horse fell on the ice and ended up doing some damage to her hind end/fractured things/etc. I saw a lot positive effect from the injections than from just doing oral joint supplement therapy, but I know I need to have judicious use in the injections and I think horse is just about due again, not from any particular time frame, but rather she is a little hesitant doing lateral work and is tripping a touch behind: same symptoms as last time.

                        I also use the back on track products and like those too... Just full of things here, I suppose for a pleasure horse!

                        So if you want to do more, go for it, your horse may thank you for it. But if you cannot, than don't feel guilty just because everyone else is on board. But I think it's pretty cool how we have a few more options to care for our horses than just bute and go.
                        Semi Feral

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My only "routine" care, other than routine routine (e.g. vaccines) care is probably the chiropractor and my old guys with mild OA get adequan injections. I had the chiro out just to try it on my backsore horse about a decade ago. Watched the horse go from sinking to the ground from a little bit of pressure on the back to absolutely no reaction whatsoever in one adjustment. It was enough for me to continue. As long as my horses are sound (e.g. not recovering from a known lameness) and working, I get the chiropractor out every 3 months.

                          I agree with yellowbritches that sometimes people will do things just to do things because everyone else is doing those things. I admit to being that person sometimes. But I also think that keeping on top of the little things before they become big things helps a lot down the road. And in my mind, chiro helps with that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My mare got chiro a couple times a year and she also got hock injections a few times. She's now retired. She gets a joint supplement, but honestly I think what's done the most good is 24/7 turn out and a feed upgrade. She has free choice hay and pasture. I am planning on taking her in for a 6 month check up in July just due to her age. My gelding has been ulcer prone so he gets tract guard daily. He was also moved from boarding to home so he could get 24/7 turn out. Other than that, it's just yearly check up, farrier every 5 weeks and saddle fitting a couple times a year. Well, and worming/sand clear.

                            That said we aren't training hard or competing, so I'm sure that makes a huge difference.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What's "normal" varies a lot from barn to barn, and horse to horse.

                              Now mine has known, documented arthritis and other soundness issues, so she gets a lot of "extras" (joint supplement, monthly IV polyglycan, joint injections as needed, roughly every 6 months, and which/how many joints varies, chiro every 2 months or so, 5-week shoeing intervals, front shoes with pads, and just did IV Tildren for the first time.) I'm in a situation where buying a younger, sounder horse and having it trained would be difficult, and she's a lovely horse, so I'm hoping to keep her sound enough to ride until that situation (elderly parent) ends and I have more time/money/ability to deal with a new horse. Could be a month, a year, maybe a few years.

                              In my barn there are horses who get no "extras" and horses who get more than mine does. There is sometimes a little pressure to "up" the extras but usually it happens when a horse is having problems and the owner/rider is on the fence about adding stuff.
                              You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                              1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I do what my horse tells me he needs, or what he tells the vet and farrier he needs. Sometimes he tells the vet and farrier different things than he tells me- I think he needs to back down and have some time off, and the vet says "No, I think this is coming from something we can help."

                                He's 18 and his joints show it, so he gets polyglycan and an oral joint supplement as well as annual hock injections. He does tend to carry tension through his jaw and poll and in his back, probably for what at this point in his life has officially become "No Good Reason." My vet does acupuncture and body work to improve his range of motion and unlock his neck.

                                The biggest contributors to his health and soundness are good nutrition and maintaining physical fitness through long turn-out and a fitness program. Strong muscles support the skeleton, and slow and steady muscle development help to prevent soft tissue injury. You don't get muscle fitness out of a bottle.

                                In my experience, the horses getting a billion treatments for this and that, supplement programs to "promote ligament repair" and make their coats shiny or calm them down, every other joint in their bodies injected, etc. are often the ones who are lacking in the basic nutrition and fitness that are the building blocks of physical health. Not always- especially not the old campaigners, whose bodies aren't as good as taking care of themselves as they were- but when I see a five-year-old with a ligament injury and getting hock injections, I wonder why that is.
                                "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                                Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                                Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Basically from my experience, I do what the vet says my horse needs. Current horse is a 10 y/o jumper in moderate to heavy work.

                                  I tried the "monthly" chiro thing as per my previous trainer's suggestion, and my horse never felt any different than when I didn't do it. After a barn/trainer change, I started having the vet just do a routine check for soreness or whatever when she was out, and do the chiro based on HER suggestion. Vet caught soreness in an area where I knew the saddle fit tight, and suggested I check the saddle fit (not even knowing my saddle situation). Turns out after I got a new saddle that fit, my horse hasn't needed chiro according to the vet. Granted it's only been about two months and she's checked him twice since the new saddle came, you have no idea how happy I am about this!

                                  In regards to injections/Adequan/Pentosan/etc. I've had horses that needed routine injections because of flexion tests by the vet that indicated they were needed, and the subsequent routine maintenance in between. I had a trainer that tried to push injections on my current horse while the vet was telling me he didn't need any, and I stuck to my beliefs and held off on doing anything. However, I did do Adequan once as per my vet's suggestion at the time due to a "mysterious stiffness," and it turned out to be bad farriery. There was a bit of a slippery slope with pointing it out I later found out, but that's one of the downsides of not being able to be present at the barn for every vet visit when you are a working adult. Either way, ever since that was fixed, I now make sure I am educated on feet/shoeing and I'm not afraid to ask questions. I think the most valuable thing I've learned is to LISTEN to what my vet says above all, and as mentioned above: not broke-->don't fix it.

                                  FWIW: In the future, if I ever need to use some sort of "Adequan-type" maintenance, I plan on going the Pentosan route. Personal friends and my current trainer have had more success w/ arthritic horses using that.
                                  Originally posted by rustbreeches
                                  [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I do what my guy needs - that includes shoes (4-6 wk schedule), chiro (now down to every couple of mos) and hock injections (every other year). He also gets MSM and a hoof supplement daily. I can usually tell when he's due for an adjustment, same with the hocks.
                                    http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                                    "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by gabz View Post
                                      You said "she's built a little crooked"... and while I understand you not wanting to change anything since everything is good now; you might consider an **evaluation** by an equine chiropractor. I say this because while the horse is only 9 years old now, if you expect to keep her a long while, you may wish to consider the long term rather than the immediate.
                                      If you compete, you may want to wait until after the prime season to make any changes.
                                      I have never been a believer in all the additives and such; however, my gelding did have some trouble in the past and I've had to use various "things" to get him right. He's 26 this year (a QH) and he is very active during trail riding & camping season, although he has been used for a variety of riding events in the past 16 years.
                                      I'm glad I wasn't the one who saw flags at "she's built a little crooked." Whether she is TRULY built crooked and is stressing muscles unevenly, or if she has uneven muscle development which makes her crooked, I would want a solid evaluation of her during the "off season."

                                      My gelding took a huge fall in turnout a couple years ago and knocked his SI joint out of whack. He needed a combination of chiro and massage to help it, as the muscles would spasm as soon as the chiro was done. Fortunately I have a fantastic massage therapist who worked on him prior to the chiro so he'd be loose, then worked on the muscle spasms after until he seemed ok and didn't charge more than she would have for just a normal visit. In his case I could tell when he needed chiro for that area because his spinous processes would look rougher along his topline before there was any kind of performance effect, and it kept me scheduling chiro at the right time to be able to keep things from getting completely out of whack again.

                                      He's also one who tends toward muscle tension - and in fact gets cranky when not worked regularly enough until he is worked to release that tension. Because of the combination of that and the fact he is developing muscles he never had before for dressage as we move up the levels I try to have regular massages for him to keep soreness from becoming an issue. He has crooked tendencies and right stifle weakness, and any muscle soreness increases those exponentially. Keeping his muscles happy while building strength helps his stifle health and overall ability to work happily.

                                      Earlier this year I have a bodyworker who kind of does a hybrid massage/chiro but really does a lot with necks/jaws out because my horse was showing tension in his neck and jaw that made us suspect he was out, especially with the knot we could see in neck muscle right behind his poll. After the appointment he was instantly better, and actually right after his poll was adjusted he turned his head left at his poll and kept moving it back and forth like he was testing out a newfound abilty to move there. He's very expressive about things...

                                      I'm going to have my almost 3 year old evaluated by the massage therapist to see if she had any problem areas from playing too hard before she starts serious groundwork training on Friday. Totally not necessary, but she spent a lot of her early years playing in a pasture with other youngsters, and the likelihood she did something silly to herself is pretty high! It's definitely one of those "makes me feel better" rather than necessary items, though I feel my gelding's bodywork is typically pretty necessary. My goal with him is actually to do it frequently enough that it doesn't seem necessary at the time.
                                      Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                      If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Teeth! From the moment their teeth go back into service after a float they are getting back out of shape. Some horses wind up going crooked because of neglected issues in the mouth. Every horse should be checked at a minimum, once a year.
                                        http://www.traditionalequinedentistry.com/

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