Over the last three months, I’ve performed an experiment on my horses. Not an intentional one, but one that is interesting. They got three months of rest and no supplements. Not a planned protocol, but I ran out of supplements and couldn’t leave the house to go to the barn.
For Zelda, the experiment involved only rest. And she’s kept herself busy chasing Curly around the field. It’s mostly entertainment, but it keeps her busy and somewhat fit. I’ve never believed that you can prevent joint problems by supplements or injections and I think that staying out and moving often is probably the best preventative. That’s not to say I wouldn’t treat her if she needed a bit more to be comfortable — like Freedom.
For Freedom, the change was more substantial. As regular readers might recall, he had some issues with his hind end over the past year and a half. Initially, we thought his Sacroiliac joints needed to be injected, but in the end, the vets thought the intermittent lameness and reluctance
to canter was a symptom of Lyme disease. In the aftermath of his treatment with Doxycycline, I was keeping him comfortable with a cocktail of drugs that all have anti-inflammatory properties — MSM, Bute-less and Robaxin. The MSM is not new. As a horse that raced until he was six, Freedom has some wear and tear on his joints. He’s always felt a bit more comfortable on MSM, probably because of its anti-inflammatory properties. However, until his SI joints were injected, I hadn’t don’t anything invasive (and, sadly, those injections made no difference to his comfort). It’s in his favor that he hates being in a stall because living outside the last fourteen years has probably done him a ton of good.
Now that I’m finally (literally) back on my feet, I stopped by the SmartPak store to restock. But I’m hesitating. He looks pretty happy in his pasture right now. He’s galloping around with enough gusto to pull off both of his front shoes and looks pretty darned good for a horse that’s turning 20. Maybe I’ll hold off and see how he feels when I’m finally able to ride him. I’m all for anti-inflammatory drugs, having has a fair number of them myself over the past few months, but I’m trying to repress my knee-jerk reaction that he needs to be put back on as many of them as possible!
In other words, I need to see if he has a problem, rather than the possibility of a problem. If I try to treat the possibilities, the options are endless.