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I have a TB Mare she is 5yrs old I have only had her for two months and I could tell her back seemed sore (I have not been riding though I have been doing ground work to build our bond/respect etc..) I called the Vet and she confirmed the sore back I asked should I call the Chiropractor or Massage therapist and she said ...NO? That I needed to have her stretch and still work her. :? honestly that seemed like a bad idea but, she is the vet so I did that that day and have been doing the stretches since but, I couldn't see working her with a sore back being good. I ended up calling a Massage therapist who also is a saddle fitter (for when I do ride her soon) she will be out on the 8th Aug. What are your opinions? Advice? She has been off the track since he was 3yrs old and then, she was being ridden Hunter/jumper. just to give you some background. I ride dressage...
 

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The vet confirmed a sore back over the phone and says no way to a chiro/massage? :think: I'd absolutely try a chiro adjustment or acupuncture especially on a OTTB who typically don't carry or use themselves the best before I did any expensive exploratory workup with a vet.
 

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We have had several horses that have come for schooling that have had a sore back. Have used both chiropractor and massage therapist with great success, though it depends on the individual horse and its soreness as to what one has better results! :)
Also found lunging them in a long, low outline to stretch their back muscles helped, as well as jumping.
 

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Also found lunging them in a long, low outline to stretch their back muscles helped, as well as jumping.
Don't lunge a horse with a sore back. It forces them into a laterally flexed out line which they have to hold until you release it (eg, switch sides or finish working). Jumping can potentially do more harm than good too depending on what muscle origins and insertions are affected by her back being sore. If she compensates for her sore back when free jumping, she may strain something... If she does the same thing under saddle, she may take off bucking and if there is no relief from the pain it could escalate to serious bucking and even rearing. It may not happen, however it is a posibility. Think about what you would do if you had a sore back. Would you want someone sitting on it? Would you want someone making you hold a particular position or making you jump?

I would keep stretching and also give her a good brush and massage her sore muscles and not ride her until your body worker can come out. I would also get the saddle fitted before putting it back on her.

Basically do for her what a massage therapist would do for a person. Use firm pressure over her withers (shoulder blades) and along both sides of her back and over her gluteals. Think about when someone has given you a neck massage, they don't have to know what they are doing for it to feel nice. It will allow her to bond a bit with you as well. The brushing will get her blood flowing (which is important for those sore areas) and will feel really nice for her.

If you keep riding her with a sore back she may possibly start to associate riding with pain and then you could be in a world of trouble trying to correct her evasions.

*before anyone asks "what do I know?" I am an Equine Bowen Therapist and Photonic Red Light Practitioner. I use Bowen Thereapy, Sports Massage, Stretching and Red Light Therapy to treat no only my horses but clients as well.
 

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Don't lunge a horse with a sore back. It forces them into a laterally flexed out line which they have to hold until you release it (eg, switch sides or finish working). Jumping can potentially do more harm than good too depending on what muscle origins and insertions are affected by her back being sore.

With having often up to 10 horses here for schooling at any one time I can honestly say we have never had any problems after lunging or jumping (free jumping)those with sore backs, only improvements. By lunging I don't mean crank them down into a forced frame and work them for half an hour, but simply using a device which encourages them to stretch their neck down low (no force involved) for no longer than 15 minutes. As for the free jumping, if it hurt them too much to do it, then they just wouldn't jump the fences. Having said that, we do not free jump the ones with severe back issues. We work in close association with a massage therapist and chiropractor, who originally suggested both the lunging and free jumping. I do however agree that they shouldn't be ridden until the problem is resolved - can lead to learnt behavioural issues! :) I understand every one has their own opinions and way of doing things, this is just mine that has seemed to work, and lead to big improvements after both lunging and free jumping as well as visits from chiropractor and/or massage therapist. :)
 

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With having often up to 10 horses here for schooling at any one time I can honestly say we have never had any problems after lunging or jumping (free jumping)those with sore backs, only improvements. By lunging I don't mean crank them down into a forced frame and work them for half an hour, but simply using a device which encourages them to stretch their neck down low (no force involved) for no longer than 15 minutes. As for the free jumping, if it hurt them too much to do it, then they just wouldn't jump the fences. Having said that, we do not free jump the ones with severe back issues. We work in close association with a massage therapist and chiropractor, who originally suggested both the lunging and free jumping. I do however agree that they shouldn't be ridden until the problem is resolved - can lead to learnt behavioural issues! :) I understand every one has their own opinions and way of doing things, this is just mine that has seemed to work, and lead to big improvements after both lunging and free jumping as well as visits from chiropractor and/or massage therapist. :)
While I don't disagree that what you are doing is working nor am I having a go at your training methods. I am sure it does work. :) I am just stating what I have seen and witnessed both as a body worker and while working as a groom/rider for a Professional Dressage and Event rider who has up to 15 horses in full work ranging from Prelim Dressage horses to Prix St George/Inter I/Inter II and Eventers ranging from EvA95 (Prelim) all the way up to 3*. I have worked extensively with race condition Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds and well as national level Show horses. I also treat my own horses and rescue horses from welfare organisations.

I disagree with lunging. Lunging regardless of whether it is long and low or collected does put the horse in a laterally flexed outline, contracting the muscles on the inside of the circle and flexing the ones on the outside. See below, the shape the horse is making is not straight. It cannot be comfortable while the horse is still experiencing pain any muscle spasms or active trigger points.
Line Circle


The way I see it, if it is not comfortable for me to do when my back is sore I will not ask a horse to do it when their back is sore. If you have injured yourself, go and do what you would ask a horse in that same position to do.

Sore back... Get on all fours and flex the way you are asking a horse to do, jump something. Tendon injury... Do a horse tendon rehab program. Corneal Ulcer... put a flyveil on with a patch sewn into it and stand in the sun.

Horses are living breathing things, they feel pain just like we do. If it hurts you, it will hurt your horse. Only difference is we can vocalise and tell someone it hurts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you everyone for your replies. No the Vet came out (wasn't over the phone?) I have a massage therapist coming on wednesday (8/7) she also is a saddle fitter so we shall see...I will have chiropractor come if she advises I do so.
 
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