Asking For Advice Regarding Getting "Back In The Saddle"


Lynn
 

This is probably going to sound like a dumb question and one i should know the answer to but......I checked Relevante yesterday...he is better but still showing slight soreness. I try to judge this not just by walking him and observing him but by cleaning his feet and seeing if he is leaning on me, trying to put his foot down before I'm done or trying to shift weight in any manner. I know we talk about listening to your horse ....but if the previous riding we did was "too much too soon" and that is the cause of the soreness it seems like I need to "listen to him" less in this case and dictate a slower pace..i.e. walking only but for longer distances perhaps. So my question is...if he seems okay by Saturday is that too soon from this bout of soreness to consider riding? He wears Cavallo Trek boots on all four feet with their thicker pads. I've also ordered more Phyto-Quench. Is it okay to mix Phyto-Quench long term with jiaogulan, Uckele Aloe Vera pellets and Lung EQ (which also has some jiaogulan)?
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Lynn
Beavercreek, Ohio
March 2018
Relevante Case History
Relevante Photo Album

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Sherry Morse
 

Hi Lynn,

My questions for you would be:

1 - how long was he out of work
2 - when did you start riding him again
3 - how much walking did you do before you started gaiting 
4 - who's setting the speed of the gait?
5 - how long did you take to work up to the current exercise program and exactly what is it (as in how many miles/how long does it take/how fast is he going and for how long)

The reasons behind all these questions is that's it's not at all uncommon for somebody to let the horse dictate how fast they come back into work and the end result may not always be the best because while some parts gain fitness quickly(cardio), others do not (tendons, ligaments and bones).  Horses of course don't know this so we have to do that for them and even with the best of intentions - or a fit horse - stuff happens.  

There's nothing wrong with going back to walking and 'starting' again but I would definitely make sure he's not sore at all before you get back at him.



Lynn
 

Hi Sherry - thanks so much for your input - i went back through my case history and emails to answer your questions as thoroughly as possible...

1 - how long was he out of work
He had laminitis in Sept. 2017 and was not ridden until right around June 2018. 

2 - when did you start riding him again
Approximately June 2018 following Lavinia-directed corrective trims that began in April 2018 (and continued every few weeks) I began to ride him in the arena only in a 2 to 3-in. deep sand flooring for short periods (we just walked)...I was trying to follow this schedule...basic: 15 min walk daily or three days per week for a week, then 25 min walk ditto for a week, then 40 min walk for a week. Don’t add in trot or gaiting for about 6 weeks. In Sept 2018 he got his first set of Cavallo boots and we rode outside at a walk for about 10 minutes. Also about this time his Pergolide was bumped up to 2.5 and in Nov 2018 3 mg. During this period he experienced extreme spookiness (all detailed in case history) and I could not ride him because of it. The spooking got so bad he nearly got me off a couple times. So after trying lots of things it was recommended to back him back down and keeping testing ACTH. Took him to 2.5 mg monitored behavior and then to 2 mg. Jan 2019 began ground work over again ...the spooky behavior resolved and i rode him for the first time in April 2019 and started the above noted routine over again. In June 2019 had a trainer work with us to ensure she did not see any soreness etc. She's very well acquainted with his case. We rode for an hour in the arena gaiting for 15 minutes before going back to walking then gaiting for 15 min. etc. This began with a 15 minute warm up and a 15 minute cool down. In July 2019 had a consult with Lavinia and she saw no reason after rads etc. that he shouldn't be ridden. By this time i had purchased Cavallo Trek boots with pads for all four feet. Rode him in the arena in boots 2 to 3 times a week following above routing of 15 min. warm up then intervals etc.  In August 2019 we began to ride outside around the farm just walking to expose him to "scary" stuff and familiarize him with all the stimuli (ex. for one ride all we did was ride up and down the driveway at a walk through big puddles because he was sure they were going to swallow him whole and initially wouldn't step foot in them) On August 26 we started in the arena - he was feeling really good ...when I let him off the lead he took off bucking around the arena. I got on - we rode outside - 15 min. warm up - and then walked him around, a little bit of gaiting back to walking ...then i walked him down to the creek (it's about a 10 minute ride around the house) ..there is a slight incline down to the creek - we walked up and down the creek, he played in the water - then back up the incline - i gave him his head - once up i let him go and he really gaited - strutting his stuff. Then went on for may a few minutes then i backed him down. Four days went by until his farrier appointment on Aug. 30 where i first noticed his foot soreness. I don't know if he was sore before that (I had parents to care for and a friend undergo serious surgery so didn't get out there for 4 days but nobody said anything about him being sore. I checked him again Sunday and again yesterday. The soreness has steadily improved. He has had 4 medical massages and been examined by an equine chiropractor during the months of July-August 2019. In all of this time this is the first time he has presented with foot soreness. Maybe the creek/incline/gaiting too much?

3 - how much walking did you do before you started gaiting 
15 minutes

4 - who's setting the speed of the gait?
I do. I don't let him gait until I say because he wants to go as soon as i get on...once we have warmed up i let him gait but don't ever force or make him but i've never had to do that. A shift of weight, a little leg pressure and he goes. He does the paso corto  which is slightly more extended, and used during trail rides.

5 - how long did you take to work up to the current exercise program and exactly what is it (as in how many miles/how long does it take/how fast is he going and for how long)
See answer 2

Lynn
Beavercreek, Ohio
March 2018
Relevante Case History
Relevante Photo Album

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Tanna
 

Lynn, 

Is he more sore the next day after a ride?

What were the findings of Relevante's massage therapist and/or chiropractor?

Tightness in the shoulder, pectoral muscles, neck and/or C7/T1 junction can present like foot soreness in my experience if foot soreness can be ruled out. 

Does he let you massage between his front legs and chest without protest? Does he fuss when you pick up a foot more if you have brought his leg out to the side as opposed to holding it directly under his body? Does he immediately lift the opposing foot as soon as you have dropped the other?

Have you had his saddle checked again after you have restarted after his spookiness break?

Have you tried a bodyworker who specializes in myofascial release? I have found this to be much more effective in the case of my horse who carries a lot of tension in her body and tends to want to do too much, too soon, too often. 


Tanna 

April 2019, (Yahoo Group member 2008)
Langley, BC, Canada

Tula's Case History 


Lynn
 

Hi Tanna - great questions ....here are the answers....On Wed, Sep 4, 2019 at 06:46 PM, Tanna wrote:

Is he more sore the next day after a ride? He has never been sore after riding until this last ride
What were the findings of Relevante's massage therapist and/or chiropractor?  

Tightness in the shoulder, pectoral muscles, neck and/or C7/T1 junction can present like foot soreness in my experience if foot soreness can be ruled out. The massage therapist found nothing of note but we did a series of massages to help ready him because he is a senior i thought it would be beneficial for him. The equine chiropractor did a thorough exam. She made a slight adjustment to his right pelvis but said he was in great shape and good to go. 

Does he let you massage between his front legs and chest without protest? Yes Does he fuss when you pick up a foot more if you have brought his leg out to the side as opposed to holding it directly under his body? He doesn't fuss at all. He lifts his own feet for cleaning...will let me "encourage" him to stretch his front legs out and his back legs back. Does he immediately lift the opposing foot as soon as you have dropped the other? No

Have you had his saddle checked again after you have restarted after his spookiness break? The equine chiropractor also did a saddle fit exam and check. We discussed the fact that he had lost some topline due to the inactivity caused by the laminitis/Cushings diagnosis etc. and because my saddle is constructed to fit behind the shoulders and it's split so it takes weight off the spine (and it only weighs 10 lbs even though it's leather) she said the fit was fine and perfect for his changing topline because she said as we work his topline will change again as he becomes more fit.

Have you tried a bodyworker who specializes in myofascial release? I have found this to be much more effective in the case of my horse who carries a lot of tension in her body and tends to want to do too much, too soon, too often.  Yes, the massage therapist does that. the last one was around the end of July/beginning of August.
 
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Lynn
Beavercreek, Ohio
March 2018
Relevante Case History
Relevante Photo Album

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Tanna
 

Hi Lynn! 

Thank you for the answers! 

Gosh, he sounds a touch tricky. 🙂 Easy to say from thousands of miles away but I might be inclined to wait a day or two until you see none of the subtle signs you are seeing now and then restart up your slow program as though nothing has happened.

It doesn't really seem to be a muscle restriction and from your answers I would be keeping a close eye for signs of trouble but I probably wouldn't be too considered about his feet being the cause of his soreness. 

You may like to try a week or two of stretchy, active walk, to help strengthen his back and stretch out his hindend and maybe restrict any trot work to the long side of the arena or straights with no turns. If you "suggest" and he accepts, moving forward actively and happy I would take it as a sign he is feeling good and keep moving forward with your program. Even if the rides are short and you feel like you are getting nowhere it should click. 

I do think that with our older, perhaps a bit more forward horses, they may do a little more than they are physically ready to and WE have to be disciplined in guiding them through a suitable program to rebuild their strength and get their legs under them. I am finding that the older my horse gets the longer it takes to strengthen her back in order to carry me and herself comfortably but I also have to remember that it takes time to rebuild confidence, work ethic and work tolerance as well. 

With regards to the saddle, especially with sensitive horses, I would personally prefer to see a "fit" to the shape that my horse's back is at the moment not what it might develop into with work but if it is very close than it should be okay. I try to squeeze in a bareback ride at least once every two weeks with my horse just to check in with how she is moving sans saddle vs with saddle as she loves it and I get a better feel of her back and body without restriction. If you are able to do that perhaps you could give that a go and see how he feels afterward?



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Tanna 

April 2019, (Yahoo Group member 2008)
Langley, BC, Canada

Tula's Case History 


Lynn
 

Hi Tanna! Thank you sooo much for your insights. Really helpful and it makes sense to me. I think I have been so focused on his feet and letting him dictate the pace once we do the 15 min. warmup i wasn't really thinking about the time etc. involved to strengthen his back. My saddle does conform to his back because it is gel etc., there is no saddle tree. The chiropractor did recommend a different girth - a StretchTec shoulder relief girth - I worked with the company to get the right fit for him and used it for the first time on our last ride - it worked like a charm - the saddle didn't slip or move. His blanket is custom-made for him and his "senior" status. I love to bareback ride and rode him that way the first winter (don't like to take a chance on sweating with saddle on). Now that he isn't acting crazy i would feel comfortable to do that again so will try it and your other suggestions. I'm going out tomorrow and will see how he is before considering riding on Saturday. Thanks!!!!!. 
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Lynn
Beavercreek, Ohio
March 2018
Relevante Case History
Relevante Photo Album

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Tanna
 

You're most welcome Lynn! 🙂

Onward and upward! 💪😁 I found that after about a week and a half of short, sweet, gradually building rides, my slightly older gal got her groove back and was willing to get to the gym with me, per se! I hope it is the same with you and Relevante! 

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Tanna 

April 2019, (Yahoo Group member 2008)
Langley, BC, Canada

Tula's Case History 


Lynn
 

Thank you again so much for your input Tanna - we are supposed to have clear, cool weather for the next week or so .....so no steps backward LOL. I'll keep you posted on our progress!
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Lynn
Beavercreek, Ohio
March 2018
Relevante Case History
Relevante Photo Album

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Sherry Morse
 

Hi Lynn,

I think Tanna's already provided some great insights and I don't have a lot to add, but I was mulling this over yesterday as Scutch and I were doing his 45 minutes of rehab walking.

It may be that Relevante just overdid it a bit with going up and down the hill to the creek and playing in the water (different footing, water in the boots, ???) but of course your first thought is going to be that he's experiencing another laminitic episode or an abscess or something related to that.  If he's already feeling better though the odds are it's just a blip and you should be able to go back to walking once he's no longer sore and then I'd give him a few days of just 'active walking' before asking him to do any gaiting again.

For what it's worth when I'm in rehab mode (like now) every time the horse takes a bit of bad step, or forgets to pick his feet up and hits a ground pole I immediately think it's because he's having an issue or he's getting tired or his leg is going to fall off. More often though it's because I got distracted and I'm not keeping him actively moving and paying attention to what he's doing. As long as we both stay focused or we're on terrain we have to think about (trail vs. ring) he's been fine.   



Cindy Q
 

Hi Lynn

Great advice on here already. Just wanted to add that for older horses coming back to work after long rehab (not necessarily laminitis but back issues or ligament injuries), we had success with a slower increase. After the 40min walk, when adding trot, our vet advised only trot on straight lines and we usually start with about 5min of this (walks on the short side between the long lines of trot). Weekly can add 5mins so I wonder if going to 15minute gait intervals was too quick.
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Cindy - Sep 2017, Singapore


Lynn
 

Hi Sherry and Cindy,

I think you both (and Tanna) are spot on. I checked on him today and he seems just fine now. When i cleaned his feet there was no leaning, trying to put his feet down or leaning back..I held them up a bit longer than normal to see what he would do...walking on a lead rope was fine too. So i'm going to ride him in his boots tomorrow exactly as you all have indicated. I agree - i think i let him do too much gaiting too soon and even though the incline to the creek was small...still you all have helped me realize that very small things can have a big impact...the advice I've received from each of you has been invaluable and I feel a lot better about things and more importantly I feel we have a sound plan moving forward. I will keep you all posted. Thanks for guiding us through this.
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Lynn
Beavercreek, Ohio
March 2018
Relevante Case History
Relevante Photo Album

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