Usually we take for granted our horses? strong backs, however, what if your horse is suffering from back pain?? How can you tell, and if you suspect he is, what can you do about it?? Just as with humans, back pain in horses can make them incredibly uncomfortable, irritable, and have difficulty moving.
Suspect back pain if your horse shows signs of poor performance, hesitant gaits, or sensitivity to being touched over their back.? They might also fight the saddle and attempt to get you off their backs once mounted.? Horses with back pain are usually cranky and irritable, and may not be able to perform such maneuvers as rounding their backs when jumping or keeping their gaits collected.? Some horses will also carry their tail at an off angle.
There are many causes of back pain, and you will likely need your veterinarian?s assistance in pinpointing just what is going on with your horse.? The most common problem is an ill-fitting saddle or a poor rider who may be mounting improperly.? Off balance riding can cause your horse to move unnaturally to compensate, thereby straining their back.? Additionally, older horses will be more prone to arthritis.? Falls and injuries can also cause damage to your horse?s back, and sometimes a secondary problem, such as arthritis in the hock, can cause the horse to overexert his back muscles.
Finding the cause of your horse?s pain will take some investigating.? You?ll need to consider your horse?s unique situation, such as his age, how often he is worked, and what kind of work he does.? You?ll want to have your saddle fully checked to make sure it fits properly.? Your veterinarian will also be able to do a physical exam to check for other injuries or lameness that might be contributing to the back problem.? In conjunction with your veterinarian, you might also decide to work with an equine chiropractor or an equine physiotherapist.? Once the underlying issue is discovered, then you will be able to work out a plan for helping your horse to be pain-free.