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Where to go from here? UPDATE Page 5 : Rode today

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  • Where to go from here? UPDATE Page 5 : Rode today

    My horse (7yr.old OTTB) has been having back issues. It started, I now realize, when he was just putting his ears back and not really wanting to trot forward. It progressed a few months ago to bucking at the canter and after the jumps (never refused jumps, however). We did hock injections because he flexed positive and his back was sore to the touch when vet tested it.
    We did a course of two weeks Robaxin, and no riding, and had a chiro out. I rode him the last day of the Robaxin and he was coming up through his back and felt pretty good, one little 1/2 buck during canter but seemed more to do with being fresh. So things move back, slowly, to the normal routine.

    Bucking starts again, we have the chiro out again, rest a couple days and then start again. This time there is not much improvement. I have the vet out again this time she says the back is very sore, and hocks look great. She thinks the hocks were sore due to the back and not the other way around. Wants him on Robaxin indefinitely.

    He has now been on the Robaxin for a month with light work 3-4 times a week, about 20 minutes of mostly walking and trotting, with one lap around the ring both directions at the canter. Some days he feels pretty good, stretching down with neck and coming up through his back but he still pins his ears about half the time and has tried to buck a couple times (puts his head down and barely hops in the back end but I send him forward and he can't do it.)
    Trainer thinks he just needs to build up stronger back muscles and to keep riding him for frequent short rides which makes sense if he is just getting sore muscles. I know if I work out hard and get sore the best thing to do is go back to the gym and work out.
    I'm just getting worried that there is something more going on. I can't afford to send him off to a vet hospital for a full workup but I wish I could.
    So what would you do in this situation? Keep working him?
    What could be going on with him?

    **I have pictures now of his feet and the saddle on him. (He's due for a trim.)
    Last edited by VTHokie; Jan. 17, 2007, 06:19 PM. Reason: UPDATE

  • #2
    Have you had a pro check your saddle fit? It really could be that simple.
    What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.
    - Samuel Jackson


    • Original Poster

      Trainer has looked at saddle, seems fine. I have added a gel pad recently thanks to a Cother.
      I was using a different saddle a few months ago that we decided probably didn't fit the best, but have also tried one that we know always fits great and still had soreness.

      The soreness is mostly in the haunches but also sore in withers and mid back.


      • #4
        hey, I've had somewhat similar problems. I would get someone to check him out besides a chiro and the vet. Acupuncture or other body work maybe? I've heard of acupuncturists finding things the vet couldn't. Also, maybe there's some sort of deficiency in his diet.


        • Original Poster

          The chiro also does accupuncture on him.

          He eats senior feed and alfalfa pellets (he had colic surgery a few years ago and this is the recommended diet by the hospital.)


          • #6
            More time off. At least a month w/out riding, then start back
            very slowly.


            • #7
              i would leave for 3mths and give his back time to heal

              and i would also get a profeesional sadller out and fit him and you to a saddle ---

              and pay dencent moeny for decent and proffessional fit of a saddle
              just becuase your trianer says it fit probably doesnt

              if its english and you riding english then they have diffrent fits and diffrent sized
              depend ing wether back is flat withered or high

              if its a a race horse off track then again rest for 3lths as often they are sore#becuase people dont think that a english salddle and riding english is no dfference but in truth it is -- a jockey is lighter man and saddle is heaps ligher

              the same goes from wetsern to english or rnglish to western
              they have differenct weights so pressure points come up int e back from the withers down the sides doen the back and along the lions
              adn the poor horse has to compensate that weight

              bit like when you hurt your foot if you dont bear w weight on it the knee pops out-- same thing with horse

              so 3mths off allow the presure points to heal as some dont always come up in lumps and bumps some a re musscular -- and mussles tension a nd tight to compenssate for the ones being hurt
              it could also be that old saddle or saddles used have a broken tree and digging in or from idrty tack and equipment

              your trianer if he/she was worth a light should know this
              as truth and should think saddle and you
              also if you riding off central and to much on right or left
              then that also plays a part in the horses back

              the horse feels pain and is in pain but theis isnt medical it easy to fix
              check the above give the time out can check with vet if you like for what i say --- and go get youtself fitted with a good saddle

              a saddlel fitter will bring you heaps of saddles he will measure the horse
              and then ask you to sit on a saddle he will then produce ones that are suit to you and also fit the horse this is why a saddler a master saddler is a profffesional in waht they do --- becuase they fit both for comfort dear but worth every single penny for a long last free from pain

              also could be saddle needs flocking

              so matey look to yourself and your saddle but most of all you were to quick to returnm to riding when the problem arose horse is bucking cause hes in pain

              while we at it check the teeth and the bridle fits as that to can cuasde pain the back


              • Original Poster

                He has been off the track for 4yrs. Sorry I wasn't clear on that.
                I returned to riding him because that was what the vet and trainer said to do. It definitley worries me and I've been keeping it light because of that.
                The vet mentioned he does have a long back and that it may be he will just tend to have a sore back more easily. (I may be phrasing this wrong so please don't flame the vet. )

                I would like to have a saddle fitter out and will have to save up for a while to do that but buying a new saddle will be a pretty big deal that I don't know how long I'll have to wait for that. Actually I'm not sure what a visit from a saddle fitter would cost (maybe not too bad) but it's the thought of a new saddle that is mind boggling (I'm actually on my third saddle for the year so far).
                I almost feel like I shouldn't own a horse now because I can't afford to do these things.
                Or at least should have a lower maintenance type horse (I know anything can happen with any horse but for the most part there are horses that aren't this sensitive, that I could afford to care for.)


                • #9
                  a good saddler a proffesional one can alter the saddles you have simple by goining back to the tree and rebuilding it or altering in another area - ie like flocking they are mastercrafts men so will be able to lok and see what needs doing if you have three saddle the take them all when you call him out so might not be the cost of a new saddle but having an old one altered

                  you say you returning to riding how long since you rode and horse was ridden

                  check the teeth and bridle making sure bit is in corrrect place as both will cause a horse to buck - and so to if you jab a horse in the gob


                  • Original Poster

                    He had at least two consecutive weeks off and then more days here and there.

                    His teeth have been checked recently, we have an excellent dentist that visits our farm twice a year from up North.

                    And it is definitely soreness in the backend (when the vet presses deeply down the back it is sore in the same area every time and he pins his ears and turns around to nip.)


                    • #11
                      Not to knock gel pads, but one of my vets said that they should be used with caution as they can build heat under them and make horses quite sore. In addition to that, they can make an ill- fitting saddle fit even worse. I don't use one, but the girls in my barn that do swear by them, so I suppose it is all a matter of experience.


                      • #12
                        Something else to consider is the balance of his hooves - particularly his back hooves. Many times farriers pay attention to the fronts but not so particular with the backs. Its just as important to make sure the back hooves are balanced and leveled according to the individual horse and hoof as it is for the fronts to be correctly trimmed. The back hooves affect the hips, pelvis, back, hocks etc.
                        --Gwen <><
                        "Treat others as you want to be treated and be the change you want to see in the world."


                        • #13
                          No fan of gel pads myself. If the saddle fits perfectly, they may not do any harm, but if the saddle is less than a perfect fit, they just bottom out and create pressure points. Are you sure your saddle is big enough for you? My saddle fitter told me the most common mistake she sees is women riding in saddles that are way too small. When you trot, if your weight bops up and down on the back end of the saddle rather than the middle, that can sore their backs. The rear gullet may also be too narrow and that can bounce around on their spines. You may want to take pictures of the saddle on with no pad - and ones with you on to get some opinions. As much as saddles cost, that would be the cheapest problem you could have in the long run.


                          • #14
                            It sounds like you've done all you can do in terms of treatment. You need to look further.

                            You might think about x-raying his back to look for kissing spine.

                            Shock wave therapy works really well on sore backs.

                            Injecting the back might also be helpful.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by caballus View Post
                              Something else to consider is the balance of his hooves - particularly his back hooves. Many times farriers pay attention to the fronts but not so particular with the backs. Its just as important to make sure the back hooves are balanced and leveled according to the individual horse and hoof as it is for the fronts to be correctly trimmed. The back hooves affect the hips, pelvis, back, hocks etc.
                              I agree with this 100%, especially with a TB. TB's often have negative plane coffin bones that can cause the problems you've mentioned. Can you post pics of his feet taken at ground level?


                              • Original Poster

                                I'll try to get some pictures of his feet and of him with the saddle on.


                                • #17
                                  good idea


                                  • #18
                                    How are his stifles? What specific areas is he sore on in his back? And from my own experience, make sure those hind feet are as close to perfect as possible.

                                    Also, you may want to have a Lyme test done. My OTTB who *did* have weak stifles surprised me and the chiro about a month ago when he was sore on his hock points and a little reactive in his back (full rads taken during PPE less then 6 months ago and saddle fits per chiro & saddle fitter). Then he started hopping around behind, swapping out, and I called the vet. Sure enough he flexed poorly in his hind-end, the vet did a lyme test and it came back very high. Just started him on the doxy, and hopefully just that will do the trick. He also started to loose weight, and has become much more reactive. All little signs that I dismissed

                                    Can I mention that I pulled 3 more ticks off today?!! *insert very angry face here*

                                    Have you tried lunging him (with and w/o tack) to see how reactive he is?

                                    Please don't feel like you don't deserve to own this horse. I sometimes feel like that too, being in college and just scraping by, but if you are working with a vet, a GOOD farrier, trainer, having regular chiro/acu visits, then you are probably doing more then most horse owners. As much as we are lucky to have them, he sounds like he is lucky to have such a concerned owner.


                                    • #19
                                      I'm with the poster above

                                      All the money spent on Chiro, accupunture, trimming, injections etc could be well spent on a overall soundness check and xrays of the offending area. don't get me wrong they are all great protocols and I've used them all, after having gone through the process of trying to identify the source.
                                      Kissing spine may well be your culprit and I have had success with shockwave used on kissing spine. However this is only one of several reasons that may be causing your problems and it's obviously not something that can be treated with the alternatives you've already explored. Otherwise he'd already be on the road to recovery. Could he have injuried his scaroiliac (sp?) - only a vet can tell for sure.
                                      Good luck


                                      • Original Poster

                                        The exact location of pain would be along the top of the butt more towards the tail on both sides. He also has a pronounced/swollen tail head the chiro/accupucturist said, and he did some thing where he took hold of the tail and leaned back, pulling on the tail. Xpress will swish his tail when he's hurting and pinning his ears. The chiro thought that there was a good deal of improvement in the stiffness of the back and neck between his first and second visit, and decreased range of motion in the pelvis. But I haven't noticed that much of a change under saddle. Some, but not much.

                                        So what is a kissing spine? Sounds like vertebrae rubbing together.??