Is your horse’s back sore?
This is actually a bit more complicated than just “throw some liniment on and maybe give him a massage” type of situation. Which is all well and good, by the way, but if there’s one thing that needs some major horse detective work, it’s muscle soreness.
Try and figure out why your horse has a sore back or sore muscles.
- And you might need your veterinarian for this one, too. There are many diseases that can affect your horse and create soreness, including kissing spines.
- You will probably notice something like your horse flinching, moving away from you, making faces with ears pinned back.
- You might find a fresh wound, some swelling, or heat where there normally is no heat.
Use your hands to squish on your horse, looking for a reaction. He might also really enjoy this!
Did your horse have an accident that left him sore?
- Horses love to surprise us with mystery ailments, like random swellings and surprise lameness. Your horse might have been cast, picked up a cut that is swelling like mad, been kicked, or just generally got into a mess.
- This might mean that the wound itself is the issue, and the muscle soreness or acting sore is just part of the deal.
Is the muscle soreness related to your horse’s level of exercise?
- Saddle fit is a huge culprit here.
- But so is lameness in the hind legs that make him sore in the back. Sore hocks are a big reason for a horse’s back to become sore.
- Or did you overdo it? The weekend warrior horse that exercises once or twice a week, has a greater chance of being injured.
- If your horse is fit as a fiddle, it might also be that you did one too many fancy canter thingies and his butt is just sore.
Make SURE this fits. Frequently.
Is there an underlying disease in your horse?
- Some diseases, such as Cushing’s disease and disorders of the kidney, can create muscle issues.
- Tying up is another case. Some horses experience tying up as they are dehydrated and pushed beyond their limits. Some horses have metabolic disorders such as polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) which creates tying up in certain conditions.
- Either way, it’s good not to assume your horse’s muscle soreness is simple. Dig deep and find the suspected root cause, then tackle it.
Help your horse’s sore muscles:
Depending on what your detective work uncovers, your horse might be able to have soreness-free muscles with a few treatments, or long-term meds. Possibilities:
- Liniments, although it’s unclear how deep into the muscle they penetrate. And also, horse muscles are gigantic.
- Massage. Schedule one for yourself, too!
- Chiropractics. Many horses benefit from regular adjustments. If it’s a skeletal issue causing soreness, this is one option.
Spinal issues might be a cause – chiropractics might help!
- Time for new tack! You wouldn’t want to run around in yoga pants that don’t fit, so be sure your horse’s saddle works for him.
- Heat and cold therapies. Very helpful in arthritic situations and cold-backed horses that need some extra warming up before they work.
- Medications. From muscle relaxants to anti-inflammatories to drugs that help with metabolic disorders, there are many options to explore with your vet. Better living through chemistry is a real solution in some cases.
- Modify your horse’s exercise plan. This might mean more exercise, less exercise, or a different exercise.
- Supplements. If your horse’s arthritis is causing muscle soreness, address arthritis directly. There are loads of options for your horse.
Watch your horse’s body language!
How do you care for your horse’s sore muscles? Get your Veterinarian involved to help you find the reason!
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