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bute to ride?

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  • bute to ride?

    What are you opinions on giving a horse bute for a hard work out. Or even an arthritic horse that is going for a trail ride. I see some people who use medications for everything. I am not sure what my opinion on giving a horse some meds before going out.

    I know personally I usually need a good advil or alieve before a long ride LOL. What about horses?

    I know one in particular that absolutly loves going on trail rides but isnt completly sound to do so all the time. His owner gives him a low dose of bute and he is happy to go the whole day!

    Whats your opinions on this?
    Have you done it before?
    Do you do it?
    Would you show a horse like that?

    just curious.

  • #2
    I have a 23 year old mare that has arthritis in her hocks (though they have fused and don't cause her problems now) and in her right front ankle. She is not 100% sound, but I know some low intensity work will help keep her functional. By low intensity, we walk on a 15 minute trail ride about every other day and maybe do 10 minutes of trot work in the ring once or twice a week. I do give her bute and it does make a difference in how she walks out of her stall the next day.

    Would I show her? Not in a million years. And I don't bute her to make her sound so I can ride her, I do it for her comfort. I started doing it with my vets recommendation, as is the riding I've been doing, and it works for us... but I have no intentions of working her any harder than what I said above. If you're buting a horse to make them sound to ride and doing anything more than light pleasure work... well I think things start to get questionable. If a horse needs bute to be sound... they aren't sound.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


    • #3
      I think the official limit is 1 gr bute per 24 hours for a horse that is being shown. Please correct me if that is wrong.

      It is no different than your Advil before or after a hard workout.

      A horse, in my experience, needs to have a job, and a horse that can no longer perform a job is in danger. Just check Dreamhorse for the 20+ year old free schoolmaster. Not enough people are willing/able to retire their horses and many of these become neglected or unwanted. So if giving a horse a little bute (or a lot) will keep him useful, go for it. My vet tells me about clients he has who give their horses 2 gr morning and night to keep them sound, with no ill effects.
      2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

      A helmet saved my life.


      • #4
        I think it all depends on how much and how often. If older pony is normally sound, but occasionally needs a hint of Bute to get going in the morning, I'm alright with that. Now, if older or younger pony needs bute to ride every day or every time you ride, I would lessen the amount of riding and level of riding and see if pony could live a bute free life. If not, out to pasture pony goes to live out it's life in happiness and comfort.
        I have used Bute occasionally to make my older horse feel better in the winter months.
        I have not and probably would not show a horse like that. To me, showing is a bonus to having/training a horse. If your horse can wander down a flat trail a few times a month and enjoy it, then why push your horse to do something that makes them uncomfortable at the least, or even in serious pain? NOw some will argue, the best show horses need to show, need to have a job, etc. but really how many older people know when to call it quits and move to the retirement home...not many of those type A personalities will be able to make the call. Their loved ones must make it for them...kinda like deciding a horse is pasture sound only.


        • #5
          Originally posted by countercantering View Post
          Whats your opinions on this?
          Have you done it before?
          Do you do it?
          Would you show a horse like that?

          just curious.
          I would rather see a horse move/ride then sit in a stall or just turned out anyday. Nothing wrong with a bute tab when you know he's going to have a hard ride.

          Yes I have done it before. And yes, I would and have shown a horse on bute. Different footing, longer day for the horse I want them to be comfortable so I use a bute for preventative mainatence when needed.


          • #6
            I've been giving my 20 year old mare with arthritic hocks MSM for some months. She is so much more comfortable than she's been in ages. So comfortable that I hacked her down the road and on the way home she was so hot we were cantering on the spot as not to take off on my beginner rider friend. Her body works better than it has in ages.

            Last few years she was ridden only once a week max lightly. This year she is being ridden every other day or so and longer. She is happy and pain free. Even the day after a good ride she looks good and pain free.


            • #7
              Our vet suggested this for my older mare who has degenerative cysts in her stifles and also some arthritis. Going out for walks seems to help her overall, in part by building up her muscles so she moves more "gracefully" and doesn't put as much impact on the joints, I think. She also really loves to go out for hacks. She did fine through last fall, walk trot and canter and plenty of miles. But this late winter/spring, after not doing very much work over the winter (very bad weather and her regular rider laid up from an accident), she really seemed to be having a hard time and we started giving her daily bute.

              Interestingly, now we are at the end of six weeks of regular walks - we started with just 1/2 mile, now we are doing 3-5 miles, with even a few short trots on level ground. And she no longer needs the bute. But if she does appear sore, I'll back down the work and give her a little daily bute for a few days, then re-evaluate. But so far so good.

              I suspect this winter when we taper off the hacking again, she may need regular bute again.


              • #8
                I have one who was diagnosed w/ navicular issues last fall. In fact, I believe he has more than that going on, but the other is more a muscle issue (probably old scar tissue). He will be quite uneven sometimes and other times he's pretty solid. Does better on a low dose of bute to keep the inflammation at bay (less than 1 gm/day). He's a happier horse on the low dose of Bute, and enjoys doing some light trail riding, and a little ring work to work on the muscle issues. I have no intention of ever showing him, and if he's really uncomfortable, he doesn't have to work. Beats the heck out of him being lame all of the time.
                "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                Spay and neuter. Please.


                • Original Poster

                  A lot of wonderful points made.

                  I agree I would rather see a horse being worked and keeping in routine. Most horses in my opinion stay happier on a routine of some sort. Now I have a few pasture pets but they sometimes get used for little things.

                  I am still not sure on what I think about it. I guess I am pictureing a horse that can barely walk being buted to the max and being jumped and who knows what. Although, I guess just like humans it couldn't help that much. Unless the horse is a drama queen. LOL.


                  • #10
                    IMO, it depends on the horse's condition and the type and amount of work. For an arthritic horse, some movement is helpful ("motion is lotion") but the horse might be uncomfortable. A little bute can help the horse feel more comfortable as well as decreasing inflammation. OTOH, you dont want to bute and use a horse with an acute or an undiagnosed problem - the work may worsen the condition.
                    So bottom line to me: If a vet feels that the bute and proposed work will not damage the horse (aside from bute side effects) I think it is reasonable and appropriate.


                    • #11
                      We use Previcox, but regularly/daily. It has made a world of difference for my arthritic horse. And it is much easier on the belly than bute. It's just part of his supplements. Vet has had tremendous success with it, and we are proof of that. My gelding is in his 20's, and never sounder or looked better in his life! He is also on good joint supps....just would rather treat the horse daily vs. only when we trail ride. Painful hocks (or other) are just that - not just when trail riding or working. I would look into Previcox before buting...JMO.


                      • #12
                        My old guy gets a shot of banamine before competition. He is sound and could totally go without it but it makes me feel better knowing its on board. If we have an especially tough lesson I give him a dose of previcoxx. Again, it makes me feel better. I guess its the whole Mommy is cold so baby needs a sweater thing. I take WAY more pain meds than my horse does but I want to give him a little bit too.
                        McDowell Racing Stables

                        Home Away From Home


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tpup View Post
                          We use Previcox, but regularly/daily. It has made a world of difference for my arthritic horse. And it is much easier on the belly than bute. It's just part of his supplements. Vet has had tremendous success with it, and we are proof of that. My gelding is in his 20's, and never sounder or looked better in his life! He is also on good joint supps....just would rather treat the horse daily vs. only when we trail ride. Painful hocks (or other) are just that - not just when trail riding or working. I would look into Previcox before buting...JMO.
                          I'm hoping to start my 24 year old OTTB on Previcox tomorrow regularly/daily. It's arthritic EVERYWHERE and not happy. He wants a job. It's 95% sound (depends on the day) without it, but I don't feel comfortable doing anything when I know he hurts. He'd be so happy if I could just sit on him and walk him around the ring for even 10 minutes. I'm praying it works well for him.

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