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Joined: Sat Jul 7th, 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
Posted: Wed Feb 6th, 2008 07:32 pm
Dr. Deb, I'm working with my 6-yr-old gelding (who flicks his front feet) to loosen up the tight musculature along his withers and spine. I've read what you've instructed, and now that our weather is warming, he's working nicely over cavaletti with a lowered head and neck. I'm also getting him to step under the shadow of his belly a bit as well to help build up his abs and loosen his topline.

I'm wondering if a half a bute a day would help him to relax any tightness and pain in those muscles?  As you know horses can be so stoic that it's hard to tell if they're in pain.  In my mind I liken it to my shoulders tensed and held higher than normal. After a bit, it becomes habitual, and I need to take a NSAID to help me relax and have a correct posture.  Thanks in advance.    Kathy

Jean in Alaska

Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Posts: 42
Status:  Offline
Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 02:46 pm
Instead of Bute, why not try something with Devil's Claw, either a combination of Devil's Claw, Yucca and MSM, or Devil's Claw alone.  It has been proven to have almost the same analgesic effect as Bute without the bad side effects.  Search in your various catalogs for "Devil's Claw". I feed this every day to my 32 year old Fjord gelding to help with his arthritis and it really does make a difference!

Jean in Fairbanks, Alaska coping with -40F.  Fjords are thriving and getting fat on the extra hay!


Joined: Sun Nov 25th, 2007
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin USA
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 04:21 pm
How about some more ideas?  Massage - helps with pain and stiffness; increasing water intake with a soupy mash; add more rest/sessions shorter and more recovery time in between?  Just thinking out loud.  Let us know how it goes.

Joined: Sat Jun 2nd, 2007
Location: Tāhuna / Glenorchy, New Zealand
Posts: 40
Status:  Offline
Posted: Fri Feb 8th, 2008 02:01 am
Are you after a muscle relaxant, or painkiller?

Have you considered talking to your vet + therapist in consultation to design a plan of action which they are both happy with?


Joined: Thu Feb 7th, 2008
Location: Coaldale, Alberta Canada
Posts: 19
Status:  Offline
Posted: Mon Feb 11th, 2008 04:37 pm
Hi Kathy,

Have you ever taken a muscle relaxer? It not only relaxes the muscle you want but your whole body, including the brain, heart, lungs and all other organs and limbs.

You could try Epsom Salts and water. About 1/3 to 1/2 cup in 4 litters of warm not hot water, sponge onto the sore area of your horse. Do this once a day to start, and then as needed. This helps all bodies when sore. I like to do this in the spring when the horse hasn't been used alot. To help his body to adjust to the saddle and other muscle limiting tack.  A good massage never hurts either, if you can maybe check his energy balance, over the shoulders is important acupressure points.

Your saddle may be pinching the horse, is it too low (wide) or pinching?

Super Moderator

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Posts: 3322
Status:  Offline
Posted: Sat Feb 16th, 2008 08:47 am
Dear Irish -- I noticed your post some time ago but have not had time to respond. The first thing I'd like to know, please, is how old you are. Am I talking here to a teenaged girl? Or someone with more age and experience? It won't make any difference as to my reply, but it MIGHT make some difference in your ability to hear what I am suggesting.

Before answering your main query, I want to point out that you have misunderstood the purpose for asking the horse to step under the body-shadow with the inside hind leg. The purpose has nothing to do with getting him "supple" and certainly not with strengthening his abs or any other muscle. There is one, and only one, purpose for untracking, head-twirling, or any other release maneuver, and that purpose is release. You are trying to get the horse to turn loose of himself. In terms of muscles, you are trying to get muscles to turn off or in other words release. In terms of the horse's degree of uptightness, in this area also you are using these maneuvers to help him "turn loose". This is the true meaning of the German term "durchlassigkeit" (pardon me because I can't with this software put the umlauts in where they belong).

OK, now as to the main query. Honey -- there is no tightness nor either any pain in any of your horse's muscles, unless your veterinarian has specifically said so. I think it's unlikely, however, that your vet has said so, because if he or she had, you would already have been given a prescription for, and be in possession of, the appropriate drugs in the appropriate amounts. Why in the world are you messing with asking people on the Internet to give you dosages or drugs?! Do you not know that these things are not, under any circumstances whatsoever at any time, to be taken lightly?

On another level too, this is sheer foolishness, for no one has ever trained a horse by means of, or with the aid of, drugs. If the horse needs drugs, then you should not be training on him. If you are not succeeding, then it is pure lazy-mindedness and bad judgement to think that you're going to succeed by adding drugs to the mix. Bute does nothing but MASK pain, so when you give bute, it is wrong and immoral to be riding the horse, because you would be grinding away at damaged joints and muscles and the horse be under those circumstances completely unaware of it. This is the real and basic reason why it is illegal everywhere to race or show horses that have bute in their system.

The world today is full of people who cheat. Our American baseball is full of men who have used drugs to make records or get ahead. Sylvester Stallone is in the newspaper just the other day showing what a "great physique" he has obtained through the use of HGH (human growth hormone), which is as yet a perfectly legal substance that can be purchased over the counter, and yet the sort of use he's made of it -- prolonged, and in pretty high doses -- has longterm deleterious consequences, including loss of sexual function and degradation of the internal organs. And you better believe that, since this drug is undetectable by any currently known blood test, that many aspiring Olympic-games competitors are using it too. This is one of a number of reasons why I have no interest at all in the Olympics.

So good luck to you, my dear. I think you can't be very old if you don't know these things. And if you are not yet an adult, I wonder why your parents don't or haven't made these same things clear to you. -- Dr. Deb


Joined: Sat Jul 7th, 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
Posted: Sun Feb 17th, 2008 04:45 am
I am certainly not "asking people on the internet;" I am asking ~you~, an authority on equine psysiology and anatomy what, in my mind, is an honest question. As you can see, I have not carried on a dialogue with those kind-hearted souls who offered suggestions as to what they thought were helpful ideas and suggestions.

I have been under the impression that you are an advocate for the horse, despite the ignorance (notice I did not say stupidity) of its owner and caretaker. I have indeed asked not one, but two, veterinarians about his my gelding's hoof flicking. I didn't get a straight answer until I inquired on the Forum many months ago.  Both veterinarians have stated that it is nothing to worry about.   I beg to differ, and I came to this website thinking that I could get information that I seemingly cannot get anywhere else. 

I find it amazing that instead of information, one gets a tongue lashing, intimidation and public chastisement when all that was asked if there was pain or tightness involved in tight (aka un-released) muscles.  Thank you for clarification there IS no tightness or pain in the area. Palpation does not indicate it, but one does not necessarily know that, given the term "release" is needed.

I am certainly not riding this horse, adding weight to the equation and causing more bracing in his back.  I have only sought to help this horse and find it frustrating that I run into first misinformation and then roadblocks at every turn.

I am well-aware that bute is not a drug to be given lightly.  I do not train with drugs, nor do I ride my horse under the haze of pain-killers. No where in my question did I state that. I am sorry that you assume things that are not so.  I am working him over cavaletti, in hand with a surcingle and lunge line.

As to being lazy-minded for not succeeding in helping this horse relax and release, I looked to a several professionals for information...first the vets and now you. Forgive me if I am becoming cynical and somewhat saddened that no one can properly help me help this horse.

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