Muscle Cramping? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-02-2013, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Crestwood, KY
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Muscle Cramping?

We did an LD yesterday, only to get pulled for lameness at the end. I made the newbie mistake of untacking before going to final vet check, and my horse cramped up in the right hind while standing still. I should have went straight to vet, oh well, live and learn. Vet said no big deal, not anything long term to worry about, but I would like to get some ideas about avoiding this in the future.

I also made the mistake of starting with the pack... my horse had been really calm and relaxed in camp, and I thought she could handle it... WRONG! She was a handful for the first 8 miles-- and it had rained REALLY hard, there were some steep hills that were very slick clay, and she was grabbing the bit and trying to gallop up them, slipping and scrambling as I fought to get her under control... I suspect that had something to do with it, as I've never had muscle cramping issues before.

On a positive note, we came in 9th, my horse walked into P&R at 48 pulse, and by the time we were in vet check she as at 36, and only 40 after the trot out. The vet asked if I even rode the horse today! So she is definitely plenty fit.

So... any thoughts on cramping? Some experienced riders in ridecamp were saying to give her extra calcium? One said to use an elyte with high potassium?

What electrolyte is best for cramping? I was going to use Perform N Win, but looking at the labels I'm thinking Endura Max has more potassium and calcium? But I've heard some say it is harder on the stomach-- will that be okay if I chase it with aloe juice?

I'm really discouraged. I know she's not the best endurance prospect (3/4 TB, 1/4 paint), but she is athletic, pulses down fast, etc. Anxious horse, so keeping her relaxed and drinking is the biggest challenge. Also, she sweats a lot and I worry about over heating, so have to sponge her a lot. I have a rump rug, but didn't use it, as it was 69 in the am and got up to 79 for a high, so I didn't think I'd need it, but maybe I should with the cramping? But then she might get too hot?

I was hoping to try a 50 in the fall if everything went well. Obviously we're still at LD next time out.
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-03-2013, 04:16 PM
Green Broke
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Did you use any elytes at all during your LD?

Calcium and potassium are biggies for helping cramping and muscle happiness in general. However, how much and of what can be a big crap shoot. If you did this ride with no elytes at all, it could be that ANY supplementation could be enough to keep the cramping from happening again. But with a potential heavier-muscled breed (not sure how solid your mare is), more could well be better.

Our boys both use Enduramax power mixed with ProCMC as a buffer and do great on it. It also comes in pre-buffered syringes now, which so far the boys have tolerated well (2 rides this season, so not a huge test, but still a couple tough rides).

I use Lyte-Now on my mare. Its always worked, so I don't mess with the system.

Another supplement you can look into if cramping continues to be an issue down the road is Myo-guard. Our whole herd is on a maintenance dose daily in their feed, then my mare gets additional supplementation at holds during rides (she had an issue with cramping only once, but it kept up from getting a completion after crossing the finish line of a 100.. so don't care to repeat that event!!).
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-04-2013, 05:38 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Crestwood, KY
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Thank you!

I did use Apple Elite elytes, just the cheap stuff from the feed store. I was already thinking of switching to an endurance formula elyte, especially if I moved up to a 50, but now with this issue I am definitely switching, just in case that played a role. I ordered some Enduramax powder. Those syringes are expensive! I'm planning to mix it with crushed tums in applesauce.... the ingredients on the syringe version looks like it just adds in calcium carbonate and some preservatives, so I'm thinking this will be similar without the expense?

I dosed eyltes the night before and morning of, but none on the hold, as she didn't drink on the first loop (too anxious), so I wasn't sure if it would be good to dose elytes if not drinking?? Now I'm thinking I should have anyway?

My horse is heavier than an arab, but not nearly as thick muscled as a QH. She does sweat A LOT though.

Thanks for the idea of the Myo-Guard. Interesting- I did have her on a Vit E supplement for a while, but ran out and haven't gotten more yet. I think I'll get her back on that at least, and if the cramping happens again I'll step it up to Myo-Guard. Do you worry about the extra Selenium if you're in an area that is not deficient?

How long do you give a horse off work after a muscle cramp? I was going to give her a week off anyway after the LD, not sure if I should wait longer now?
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-04-2013, 02:35 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Georgia
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I hate to clatter in, but... What is this cramping you guys are talking about? I've had a horse tie up, but I don't think it's the same as this kind of cramping. What's this cramping like?
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-04-2013, 09:57 PM
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What type of salt do you give her, a lick? If so she'd not getting enough. Sodium works in conjunction with potassium so try offering her loose salt as well, either household, pickling or a combination of both.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-05-2013, 05:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Brighteyes View Post
I hate to clatter in, but... What is this cramping you guys are talking about? I've had a horse tie up, but I don't think it's the same as this kind of cramping. What's this cramping like?
Not the same as tying up, fortunately.

This is my first experience with it, but I can tell you how my horse presented:
She felt good and sound coming into ridecamp, after standing still for a few minutes untacking (oops) in vet check she trotted out with an exaggerated drop in the right hip. Vet told me to take off hoof boots, walk around a couple minutes, come back and reassess. It was actually worse the second time. She was also occasionally picking that leg up and kind of kicking it a bit, as if trying to work it loose. Very experienced endurance vet said it was a muscle cramp. Otherwise she presented happy/healthy.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-12-2013, 09:16 AM
Green Broke
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I just looked up the ingredients of your apple elite. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, salt, potassium, magnesium and calcium as a buffer. And no sodium bicarbonate. Also nothign wrong with mixing your powders with a tums and some applesauce. Another option I do is grab the little individual baby foods small servings. No waste that way, I use the carrots but I imagine bananna or apples will work just as well for a base. Elytes are funny and you have to figure out your horse. You want them to drink and elytes can make em thirsty however giving them to a horse that hasnt drank can make it worse. Sooooo I think you are doing ok, dose night before morning of and then at first hold after they eat drink. Or even at halfway point on loop give them a half dose if they drink.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-12-2013, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Florida
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We actually do not electrolyte during the ride anymore. If we are doing a 75 or 100 miler we will give half doses starting at about 50 miles. However, we do pre load starting the Sunday before the ride. We found with our horses, they eat and drink better than if we electrolyted at every hold. But that is what worked for us, everyone has what works for them and their horses. Now we do syringe with liquid calcium and BCAA before the ride and at every hold. Our gelding started cramping about a year ago, he would do this ride fine and cramp the next ride, do the next 2 rides fine and cramp the next one and so on. So that is when we started giving liquid calcium and he has not cramped once since we started. We give it to all of our horses on ride day now. And the awesome thing about liquid calcium is that you can't overdose because their kidneys will flush whatever they don't need out! Good luck on the cramping issue! I know how discouraging it can be.
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