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Ideas on keeping horse comfortable after rides until he develops muscle?

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  • Ideas on keeping horse comfortable after rides until he develops muscle?

    I'm new to the forum and I've posted once before about my horse who refused to lunge and got that mostly sorted out thankfully.

    For a brief history, I have a 7 year OTTB ("Justin M" if you want to look him up) who retired May 2011 and from the little I know has mostly been sitting since then. He did end up at a rescue and was there for most of last year until I adopted him 5 months ago. He does have a pretty significant dropped hip and a healed sesamoid fracture, no idea when they happened however, though I am told he ran after the fracture.

    Basically, he ranges from sore to very sore in the dropped hip area after rides. He is very willing to move forward even when sore, so I suspect that is really a sore issue, as he does work out of it slightly (I do a lot of hand jogging to watch him go). He is seeing a chiropractor and has had significant improvement between her visits. Any suggestions for how to keep him comfortable in between rides as he develops needed muscle? I was thinking of liniment, plus he has stretches that we do 4x a week but I think that more should be done. Any advice is appreciated!

  • #2
    In addition to the chiropractor, I'd recommend booking an appointment with a really good, experienced bodyworker. S/he can not only get your horse's muscles working more optimally, but should also give you lots of homework to do that will help.
    Equinox Equine Massage

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
    -Albert Camus

    Comment


    • #3
      I guess the question is, what are you doing with him? You should be gradually increasing work with a whole lot of walking so he's never VERY sore. A little muscle soreness as a horse develops strength is understandable - we go through it too, and a good bodyworker can help horses and humans. From the way you phrase it, it sounds like you're doing too much too soon. There are all kinds of "bring a horse back into work" routines around the boards, and for a horse with a weakness and unevenness you'll have to take it even more slowly.
      If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.
      -meupatdoes

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      • #4
        A good massage therapist and maybe some low dose Previcoxx? It is cheap and I have friends who swear it keeps their event horses from being muscle sore after a big show....

        Jennifer
        Third Charm Event Team

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        • #5
          Perhaps look into the BOT sheets? A lot of people swear by them. I have one and it seemed to help with my horse's back soreness before we figured out the real issue. Liniment could help too.
          come what may

          Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

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          • #6
            I'd keep him OUTSIDE if at all possible. Nothing helps a muscle-sore horse like the freedom to move around at will.
            Click here before you buy.

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            • #7
              I'd offer up that if he's minimally "sore" and at worst, "very sore", then he needs more in-hand work before any more rides. Ground driving, some long lining on as uncurved lines as your fitness can manage, lots of hand walking on varied terrain, etc.

              If your rides are too hard, then spend a month or 6 weeks just walking under saddle. If you're already riding lightly, then he doesn't need to be ridden right now if he's that sore on that regular a basis. Something isn't right (as you are aware) but it's time to take a different approach. Just because he seems to work out of soreness with a ride doesn't mean he's working out of it on his leisure time, another 23 hours, and that's 23 hours a day he's compensating for being sore, which is not helping fix whatever it is that's making him that way.

              So yes, per DW's suggestion - as much turnout as he and the barn environment will tolerate, at a minimum. Then give him a month/6 weeks of some good walk work, which is very under-rated in terms of creating some relaxation and some base of fitness.
              ______________________________
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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              • #8
                I agree with delta on get him out 24/7. Especially if you have something where he's on a hill and has to move up and down that all day. That is such great muscle building as well as never allowing him to get sore from not moving. My horses are on a super hill now. When I moved ther they were in good shape, but the muscle and fitness they up on just from that added bit was amazing.

                Plus what everyone else said.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JB View Post
                  I'd offer up that if he's minimally "sore" and at worst, "very sore", then he needs more in-hand work before any more rides. Ground driving, some long lining on as uncurved lines as your fitness can manage, lots of hand walking on varied terrain, etc.

                  If your rides are too hard, then spend a month or 6 weeks just walking under saddle. If you're already riding lightly, then he doesn't need to be ridden right now if he's that sore on that regular a basis. Something isn't right (as you are aware) but it's time to take a different approach. Just because he seems to work out of soreness with a ride doesn't mean he's working out of it on his leisure time, another 23 hours, and that's 23 hours a day he's compensating for being sore, which is not helping fix whatever it is that's making him that way.

                  So yes, per DW's suggestion - as much turnout as he and the barn environment will tolerate, at a minimum. Then give him a month/6 weeks of some good walk work, which is very under-rated in terms of creating some relaxation and some base of fitness.
                  Clap clap clap!! Yes, this.

                  If you've got another horse to ride (or can borrow one) ponying him might also be a very valid option.

                  Sore to very sore from your work is just NOT reasonable. You've got to really change your approach here to be fair to the horse.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thank you for all the suggestions! He lives out 24/7 already, but I have a suspicion that though he has the ability to wander around he chooses to stand still. He does have a best friend now so this could increase his movement throughout the day. I have seen him come in for feedings a few times and he and his buddy get riled up and run on occasion which is not helping my ease into work plan for him. When I am riding him it is 20-30 mins of mainly walking with some over pole exercises with trot sets of 2-3 laps around the ring each direction and I have been incorporating some hill work out in the field. All he ever needs to do for the rest of his life is putt around on trials and the ring, so I'm not expecting much from him long term.

                    I made the very bad mistake of taking him on a long trail this weekend with probably too much up and down hills (we got a bit lost and the quick ride became not so much) and that's when he comes back really sore the next day. We did bute him that next day and he went right back to feeling fine, but the obvious preference would be for that to not be needed as a regularity. I pushed him too hard when I got him, realized that was unfair and have moved back to what I think is minimal work! When it's the little rides I described above he’s fine, but as I have been trying to add on an extra lap here or one more hill there I can detect that he is a bit sore.

                    I haven’t had to bring a horse back into work before, so I think that my expectations for his recovery are probably too high and as you all suggested, try to take him for longer hand walks and go slower into increasing his work. He hates lunging put loves to hand walk and jog so that's probably our best bet.

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                    • #11
                      Getting worked up and running is good for him and the program, unless he's so "injured" that he really needs quieter movement.

                      If he's getting sore to very sore with that amount of work (barring the trail ride incident) then definitely go back to a couple of weeks of hand walking, then walking under saddle for several weeks, and slowly start to incorporate some trotting.

                      Hill work may be out of the picture for now until whatever's going on with him has a chance to get stronger. Yes, hills help increase fitness, but there has to be some minimal level of fitness and soundness to start, so perhaps 1 or both of those are missing at the moment.
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jec Ballou's Equine Fitness is a great book:
                        http://www.amazon.com/Equine-Fitness...equine+fitness

                        She breaks it down to bringing back from injury, bringing back to fitness and keeping a horse fit. There's some great pullout cards to take to the barn with you. I love it!
                        Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                        Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                        "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

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                        • #13
                          If it's not been mentioned (haven't seen it, but might have missed it) acupuncture might also be a very valuable treatment modality for a horse like this.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would make sure that the hip/pelvis injury is healed. If it is sore, there may be something actively going on there. When healed as well as it can, IME they're either 100% on the hip, or not, and if not, it's an ongoing soundness problem and not a temporary "work through it" soreness.
                            As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What netg says.

                              Also get a chiro to look and adjust if necessary.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                I'll have to check out that book, thanks! I didn't mention it, but he actually is getting acupuncture along with the chiropractic visits and B12 injections into the sorest parts of his body. He is completely sound on the hip as far as I can gather. No head bobbing or limping, just clearly it's not reaching as far as the other hind, especially when it is more sore. When I first got him, he regularly refused to walk or extend himself but now that he's gotten a little bit of strength plus the chiro help, he engages himself a lot more and takes little encouragement to move on. I also wonder that if he sat with this for a while, it's a defense mechanism to clam up and not move, but he's starting to realize that it's ok to move. I think that if he was not healed or there was another issue, I would not be seeing improvement from him as the weeks go on, but I could be wrong.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by rea4977 View Post
                                  He is completely sound on the hip as far as I can gather. No head bobbing or limping, just clearly it's not reaching as far as the other hind, especially when it is more sore.
                                  He isn't sound on it if he steps shorter with it. The lameness could be pain or mechanical, and given your description of other soreness, I'd guess the former.
                                  The fact that he is improving is very encouraging. I hope he continues to do so!
                                  As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Right, he's not technically sound if he's not striding evenly. However, HOPEfully it's a mechanical issue that you can work through with lots and lots and LOTS of LSD work.

                                    Has the MT done any really deep, pin-point work in that area?
                                    ______________________________
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I would treat him as a completely unfit horse, that is also coming back from an injury/issue such that other muscles are going to have to get extra strong to compensate for the issue.

                                      I'd start with unlimited hand walking and 5 minutes of walking under saddle per day 5 or 6 days per week. Add 5 minutes of walking per week until you are up to 30 minutes per day (week 6) of active, marching walk. In week 4 (20 minutes), you can start adding a few gradual hills on a few days per week. In week 6 (30 minutes) start adding 30s trot in each direction on some days of the week. Keep adding 5 minutes of walk until you get to 45 mins. Add 1 min of trot each direction per week until you get up to 5 mins each direction. If all is well after you do 45 mins of walking on small-medium sized hills/varied terrain and all is well after you do 45 mins of walk and 10 mins of trot, then think about adding canter, ground poles, etc. very slowly.

                                      If he gets sore during the walk-only time (first 4 weeks) I'd have the vet out as this shouldn't really happen. If he starts to get sore when you add hills or trot, go back and repeat the week before. If he gets sore 7 days later when you get back to the same activity that he got sore on the first time, call the vet.

                                      If he isn't completely unfit, you don't have to start at 5 mins, but I wouldn't start too far along for risk of losing the benefit of the gradual conditioning.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Sorry, you are right with that way of wording it as not technically sound. The rescue I got him from described it as a mechanical issue, not from pain after their evaluations of him. I think that he just sat there for a while with not regular work and has fallen out of shape. The shortstridedness I mean to describe as more of a not tracking evenly, not that one leg is not pushing as hard as the other or that it is a gimp. From when I first got on him to now, there is a noticeable difference when on him that he is starting to get that leg more under him and that I can barely feel the motion of him not being "straight". I'm not very good with the descriptions clearly!

                                        He is not sore with the little workouts I am doing when he is not getting pushed to do more, which gives me hope that he will continue to improve, though apparently will exhibit soreness as his workload increases. He has gotten small massages in the hip area from the chiropractor to work out knots, but nothing deep tissue. I'll look into what we have in the area for someone that can assist him with that.

                                        I hopefully covered everything! Really thank you all for the continued support and help!

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