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My horse is uncomfortable in her wither area...

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  • My horse is uncomfortable in her wither area...

    I just began putting my new horse (5 year old mare) into work. My mom got on to ride her 3 days ago and she was bucking/seemed very uncomfortable. This mare is NOT a bucker. My mom immediately got off...and after taking a closer look, I noticed my mare's withers seemed very sensitive to the touch.

    I have two saddles for her, both of which don't fit her as well as desired. (They will have too wide of a tree until she muscles up. They both sit too low...which makes me think it could have been the saddle). I have an assortment of half pads to use, and I have done my best to keep her comfortable. I was offered a few saddles that may fit her better, and will try them when she is better. She has been ridden in her current set-up about 10 times, and never came up sore. Also, her current workout consists of a 5 minute lunge, and about 15 minutes of under saddle work.

    I had a trainer at my barn look at her, and she concluded that the mare is sore because of her blankets. She was wearing 2 blankets at all times (except when ridden), which sat directly where her neck and withers connect. This seems to be the general area that is bothering her. The trainer said the blankets were putting too much heavy pressure on that area. She gave me a blanket that has the wither cut out, so we will see if that makes her feel better.

    What concerns me is her behavior when the area is touched. At the slightest touch she will move away from your hand and the skin will twitch as if a fly was on her. If you touch it any longer she literally shakes her entire head and neck as if she was trying to shake something off. She does not dip her back down when you put pressure on it like most back-sore horses. She does not move as if she is sore either.

    Has anybody dealt with something like this? I'm not going to ride her until she's comfortable again, but I need to find out what's making her uncomfortable!! Could it really be her blankets? How long should something like this last until it heals?
    Any advice would be appreciated!!!

  • #2
    Yes, it is possible for the blankets to make her that sore and it sounds like she is being pretty polite about it - letting you know she is uncomfortable without being rude.

    If you think the problem may be more serious or you want an expert evaluation (and personally I would, if the horse got that sore that fast) then Call A Vet.

    They can also prescribe some medication to help the horse feel better and to help her heal faster.

    The other thing you can do for back soreness (and withers, for that matter) is hot compresses. I soak towels in OHC liniment (or you can use sore no more, etc) warmed up in the microwave. You obviously want them quite warm but not uncomfortably hot. Lay the towels over the sore spot til they cool; repeat with fresh warm soaked towels.

    In cold weather I throw an irish knit under a wool cooler while doing this and then vigorously towel the hair dry and blow with the vac. before re-blanketing the horse and putting them back to bed.
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.