Exercises for arthritic horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-07-2008, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Canton, Ohio
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Exercises for arthritic horse

One of the horses I work with is a 24-year-old thoroughbred mare who has arthritis in her back legs, worse on the left. She gets joint supplements and has been on shots of Adequan. Last year the vet recommended we retire her. But Classic told us pretty clearly that she wasn't ready to be retired yet.

I've been riding her bareback very lightly, lots of walk, some trot, and just a bit of canter (because she always wants to). We do lots of bending exercises, and walk and trot over poles. Once the ground is in better shape, we're going to do some light riding or handwalking on hills.

She's stiff in her hind end and really needs to build up her strength. She's so uncomfortable picking up her back legs that we can't even pick up her feet to clean or trim them. I'm not sure how much of it is actual balance problems and how much is in her head. I think it's a combination of both. But, she's always very happy to be ridden and lets you know how thrilled she is to be out. She always wants to go go go.

Any exercises you know of that will help strengthen her hind end without pushing her too hard? We mostly work indoors in a sand arena.

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post #2 of 4 Old 04-07-2008, 03:56 PM
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would you want to ground drive her? We plan on doing that with my fiance's 8 year old gelding. He has arthritis in his hocks and right knee, and pain in his lower, and i thought of ground driving him because he wouldn't have the extra weight on his back.

You could still walk trot canter and go over poles, and i believe it would help condition her too.

I'm not 100% sure though.

This is off topic, but did those shots seem to really help her? ((we're looking into something else for my fiance's horse)
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post #3 of 4 Old 04-08-2008, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmm, I suppose ground driving could be a good option. Unfortunately, it's not something any of us have experience in and she's never been trained to do it.

Yeah, the adequan did help at first. It wasn't a huge difference, but it did make some moderate improvements. Actually, I'm not sure if she's on it now. It was about a year ago that we started that routine. She's also had some other injections right in her hocks that helped, but I don't remember what they were.

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post #4 of 4 Old 04-08-2008, 02:34 PM
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I'd like to ground drive my gelding but i have no experience in it and i doubt he does either, but i'd be willing to give it a try. I know members on here ground drive their horses. I'll post something about it so both of us can get answers and techniques :)

Thanks for telling me about the injections. Gem seems to be doing well on his joint supplement and we give him bute if he worked hard, or was running like a mad man. It seems to have helped him quite a bit.

When i told my mom about Gem, she told me that alfafa is a natural way to help with arthritis (she's all into natural remedies). We haven't tried it, so i cannot tell you how well it works or anything.

Maybe if you talk to your vet, he/she could recommend some exercises to do with your horse.
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