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Monday, 26 June 2017

How To Treat A Cold-Backed Horse

What Is a Cold Backed Horse?

A Cold back horse is simply one who has a sensitive or sore back.  They can show small signs or extreme symptoms.  A cold backed horse can be hard to help as sometimes horses are born with an overly sensitive back.   

Why is It Caused?

A cold back can be caused by a number of things which include -  

A Horse born with sensitive areas (in thing case the back). 

previous injury or trauma to the back.   

badly fitted saddle 

The position of the rider and the way the certain horse carries them.  

Problems with the horse's hooves or teeth why can cause the horse to change its posture. 
Now the last one needs a little more explanation.  A horse was not originally designed to hold a rider weight.  This means the horse has to compensate to carry the weight of a rider.  Most horses do this well, some horses can have balance problems, some can have behaviour problems and some can become cold backed.  Made simply,  carrying extra weight can cause sensitive nerve endings or other issues in the back.   

What Are The Symptoms?

The symptoms can be tiny or severe.  For example, one of my horses has small symptoms.  These can be her dipping her back if a rug is pulled off the wrong way, twitching while being ridden (made worse if the saddle pad is not completely clean) and finding the girth being tighten even a small amount uncomfortable.  An horse can have much worse symptoms that include, the horse is sensitive to grooming over the back area, rejecting or reacting to the saddle, discomfort with the girth being tightened, not wanting you to mount, stiff back for a few minutes once you have mounted and in severe cases, bucking, broncing and rearing the second you mount for around 30 seconds.   

How to Treat It 

A cold backed horse is completely treatable!  The first thing to do is get a vet to check for any other causes and to check hooves and teeth.  Once those has been ruled out you can start to help your horse.  Make an appointment with a physiotherapist or chiropractor who will work on relieving spasms and other things that cause a cold back.  Keep these appointments up because if stopped your horse could relapse.   

In between appointments you can use other techniques such as massage pads that go over the back, turn on and massage for 20 minutes.  It is a good idea to use this massage pad before and after each ride.  In addition to this, try lunging your horse before riding to properly warm up those back muscles.  If you get straight on without doing at least one of this, the muscles will be cold and much more sore.   

If you horse is cold backed only to grooming then use a different, more gentle brush.  If your horse has discomfort when removing a rug then doing the follow can really help!  

  1. Undo all buckles 

  1. Fold the front half backward to on top of the back half by picking it up instead of pulling across 

  1. Pick the folded rug up off of the back, don't drag it.   

There are also products meant for cold packs which again, are fastened to the horse and sit in the saddle area, that you can switch the cold packs for heat packs.   


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