Advice on Liniment

This topic contains 42 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Kathy 2 years, 4 months ago.

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  • Mapale Original Poster Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    I need a class in Liniment 101.

    Does anyone have a preferred liniment? How often do you apply it and for what symptoms? Do you apply it before or after exercise? What results have you seen to demonstrate that the liniment is effective?

    I’m wondering if it would help my mare who has recovered from a tendon injury and is back at work. She’s a bit sluggish in upward transitions. Thanks in advance.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    Hi, Mapale : )

    Over the years from rehab-ing OTTBs and dealing with various degrees of Arthritis, I have tried just about every liniment out there. I’ll give you what I have found:

    I am a big fan of Bigeloil but be advised that this, as well as a couple others, are definitely aggressive liniments. I water down (60% B/40% H2O in a spray bottle) Bigeloil and am not inclined to rub it in too deeply. Primarily used over large muscles, shoulder, back, neck, chest, rump) when a horse is first back into work, AFTER every ride, every other, depends on the horse. I groom extensively and with gusto before the ride as a massage type of intention. Horses seem to warm up better, are calmer and more focus’d sooner, move more easily sooner, more agreeable in work. For specific areas also before work, I limit it to legs/joints, I like Absorbine gel worked in, no boot/wrap. Might want to glove, the stuff is COOL and long lasting! I don’t typically liniment large muscles priour to work as some horses light up with the sensation of liniments, some do not, that is something between you and your mare. If you DO use a boot/wrap during a work, be careful as the gel lingers long and deep, Bigeloil and water sprayed works well under a boot/wrap, but still take care: not hard to fry a leg. Be mindful of wraps and boots anyway, due to the heat factour in general.

    After work, any brace will do.. I like Refreshmint or Vetrolin Brace, or Begiloil, couple cups in a five gallon wash bucket and sponge with a good towel rub down, but regardless of what you use, going straight back into a stall negates all of it. Horse needs to move freely for a while. Mobility is the key to comfort in a working horse. Add structural compromises and it become necessary.

    If you wrap after work and have linimented legs before you rode, you likely wouldn’t need to reapply tho if you choose to, a plain ol’ alcohol rub would be grand : ) The purpose and use of liniments is primarily to cool things down and to allow and encourage recovery. Again, mobility, but the animal has to be comfortable enough to move and liniments can certainly help.

    Where rehab is our thing here, I am constantly faced with the challenge of building up bodies and not break them down doing it. I truly believe that certain liniments and therapeutic mobility are influential in my ability to ride that fine line between build-up and break-down.

    Hoping YOUR challenges are easily managed and readily won : )

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    The edit feature is too short : D

    The mobility of which I refer to is essential for most conditions (arthritis, OLD injuries) when calm and regular but with tendons and sprains, newer injuries, limited but still offered can be better. Less work, more often has proven effective with tendon issues here. The tendon needs to recoil, and when over stretched/worked, might not recoil 100% or as quickly as normally. Liniments will comfort but not directly cure.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Mapale Original Poster Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Thank you so much, pheets! That is precisely the information that I need! I will try the diluted Bigeloil. I have been looking for a transition from EPF-5 as that seems a bit of overkill at this point. We’ve come back from tendon injuries before (she has long pasterns and is pronged to this type of injury) but this time she is older and seems a bit more uncomfortable – any unwillingness from this most willing mare is probably a sign of discomfort. I also do the pre-ride grooming massage on my horses because back soreness should be diagnosed before weight is put there. And like you I’ve found that the extra time put in before the ride yields a more comfortable and therefore more focused horse. My pasos are spirited and the massage also helps calm them down. I don’t stop until the ears and neck signal relaxation. Since I put my children on them, I want nice calm horses. (My trainer thinks this spoils them, but I digress.)

    This mare is at liberty 24/7/365, with a barn stall/run-in (converts winter to summer). Recovery is usually phased in with a gradual expansion of pasture accessibility. She is on full pasture and has been for six months. I agree (and studies show) that horses at liberty are better conditioned than stalled horses, even if the stalled horses are exercised daily. Also I agree that less work more often is the key, still we are very slow at gaining ground, especially for this mare. I think she needs something more than I am currently doing – and will begin with the diluted Bigeloil after exercise. I sometimes use a cooling eucalyptus sponge bath after exercise that she loves so this should not feel terribly new to her. We have progressed from sport boots and wraps, although I am contemplating going back to a vet wrap support for the next ride. We trail ride and the boots do more harm than good there, but perhaps she still needs some support for comfort?

    If she still needs a bit more, perhaps I should try the Absorbine prior to our ride on the lower hind legs?

    She moves well in the pasture (backyard horses here) and I’m always checking on her, no stiffness, no “protection” moves – goes lateral right and left quickly easily and freely. But speed…. ?! She does not want to gait under saddle, which is her preferred movement usually. My choices are “lazy” or “discomfort” and as there is no lameness (ultrasound confirms full repair of tendon), and knowing her, I believe it is discomfort. I was hoping that there might be a liniment that would alleviate it without blocking any useful pain signal, which if significant and ignored might result in more injury.

    This:
    “I am constantly faced with the challenge of building up bodies and not break them down doing it.”

    Exactly.

    Thank you again for your very good advice. My vet and dear friend that I would normally ask is in his last days in his long fight with cancer. I don’t want to bother him or anyone dealing with that in his practice with such a minor concern at this time. I suppose I have to get on with finding another vet, but I just don’t have the heart for that yet.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    You are most welcome, Mapale, thank you for taking it for what it’s worth : )

    Any older horse WILL take longer to heal/recover from most things. Long pasterns and high energy can eventually become high maintenence for sure but such a fine ride!!

    Don’t be afraid of a cold hose treatment, either, highly under-rated due to the time factour involved but ohso therapeutic.

    Take care with the concept of “support’. To truly apply support, one must interfere with the range of motion. As humans we really do not have the strength to do so and if we did, bandage bows would be a guarantee. Protection, of course, is as easy as the availability of most boots or wraps. Vet wrap is definitely restricting tho I sense you are already quite aware of that.

    Sounds like discomfort to me as well but I can only go by your posts and evident competence : )If the tendon is the problem, the compensation will take place higher up, ‘specially on the other side depending on how severe and/or stoic the horse is. The problem might be in the pastern but the resulting ache/fatigue will be in the larger, corresponding muscles. A total body wash with a good brace and rub down after work will feel so GOOOO-OOD! : D

    You might consider supplements also, treating from within and supporting that way. Look into SmartTendon that has the grape seed extract and silica that tendons love. Might also consider a PURE vitamin E. These are building blocks for tendon repair and generation and can help perpetuate any outside application that you deem useful. Collagen II, also a prominent tendon component, is a valuable added attraction in a tendon supplement but I so far only know of this thru Horse Tech as to who carries such products. Perhaps a chat with either SmartPak and/or Horse Tech could be enlightening.

    Far better to indulge your horses than to break your kids, no offense to your trainer : )

    My genuine sympathies to you and your vet, cancer is an awful thing, taking so many along with its victims.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Mapale Original Poster Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Update for pheets:

    The liniment in combination with cold hosing is working wonders. On consecutive days we are seeing more energy and less discomfort. Thank you again for your help and my mare thanks you too. I had to hold her back today, she wanted to GO.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    Best. Update. Ever.
    So glad it’s working for you since horses, like people, can be SOOO diverse! We all know how stuff works for one and not another..Enjoy your girl, Mapale, not sure where you are but the weather here has been just perfect for riding : ) Give Maress a cookie for me, ay?

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I like Bigeloil, and use it after a strenuous workout or a jumping day. It also works well on me.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Original Poster Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Thanks Joe-Joe, I do like the Bigeloil! You are so funny using it on you! Glad to hear that works!

    I took pheets suggestion to dilute the Bigeloil, and diluted it, although at first I used it after the ride just in case there was an adverse reaction. Now I massage it in before we ride out.

    The weather has been great, springtime mornings, so having her feeling better is such a gift!

    The idea of the cold hosing was genius, too. I can see my mare visibly relax when I hose her back legs. I can’t believe I didn’t think of doing this – I fear using unknown chemicals thus my reluctance at using liniment – but I should have thought of the cold hosing.

    And pheets, Carmagirl knickers a thank you for the cookie!

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    If it works for a horse, I am always willing to give it a try, except for medications. Having spent a lot of time with racehorses, the cold hose for legs has always been a standard, so I just took it for granted that everyone does. Glad to hear that things are going well. My current horse does not approve of slime of any sort on him, and when I first opened the liniment he nearly climbed out the window. Had to use it as a perfume on me for about a week, until he accepted the smell. Strangely, he doesn’t mind having his legs rubbed, or wearing boots of any type. Just doesn’t like to be slimed.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe. Reason: Forgot something

    It is never the horse's fault

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    Cold hosing is as old as captive horses and running water.
    Main reasons:
    1) it works
    2) it’s FREE : )

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Mapale Original Poster Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Joe-Joe, too funny! I told my kids to thank their grandmother for cooking supper, so my then six year old daughter said: “The chicken was great, Grammie, but next time could you leave off the slime?” My kids still don’t eat gravy. Your boy isn’t the only slime-hater in the world.

    My guy used to go berserk over fly spray, trembling all over or running off if I tried to spray him without tying him. This is one of our great liberty successes. He will now stand for it – no halter and no ropes. He has a great mind for most things, but this one took over a year. Now he stands like a statue, an irritated statue.

    Having nursed several tendon injuries and laminitis, I have logged many hours cold hosing, it just never occurred to me to use it on a healthy horse. I rinse off my horses after a workout, but don’t usually do legs more than just to rinse them off. I don’t know a thing about racehorses unless you count reading Dick Francis ;-). Do they routinely cold hose racehorses?

    There is no question pheets gives great advice – my mare is better – now the next question is whether this is a regular routine or just until she is fully rehabbed. For now no changes, we’ll see how she gets on.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    We routinely hosed their legs – can’t speak for other trainers. Oddly, fly spray is one thing he doesn’t mind – so long as I tell him what I am going to do. Clippers will cut off his legs and ears, the wash stall is a gas chamber, parked tractors are actually dragons (moving tractors are acceptable), that haunted house wasn’t there yesterday, etc. Now, he has become dyslexic. When I first met him (last November), he would not take his left lead except after a jump. He was fine with his right lead – just needed the word and a slight weight shift. Now, when asked for his right lead, he takes the left, and when asked for the left he takes the right. Occasionally, he will throw in a slight buck just to show who is boss. There is a song called “My Way” (not the Sinatra one) from “The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd, which could have been written by or for him. And back to the hose – when you have done a strenuous workout, don’t you feel better after a shower?

    It is never the horse's fault

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    Hey, Mapale, I think you answered your own next question: For now, no changes, see how she goes. You know the mare well enough…ask her, I bet she will tell you the whole story for a cookie : )

    Cold hosing leaves no residual, can’t really OD on it other than too long a session (20 minutes to a half hour tops per gig, as often as every hour if new injury). Liniments can eventually develop a scurf (burn), similar to overdone fly sprays. If you see this dandruffy, greasy kind of stuff where you apply anything, dilute further or back off and stick to cold hosing for a while.

    And thank you for your kind opinion of my advice. That’s free, too : )

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    I just caught up with this topic. Mapale, you asked for Liniment 101 and you got Liniment 101! I have an old ASB gelding, Scout, who is just coming back from EPM. He will now eat his hay facing it, as opposed to leaning the right side of his body against the pipe corral and twisting his neck sideways. He will give me all four feet. His disease manifests itself in his right hind leg, and the various peculiar stances he takes–in addition to not yielding his left hind leg so I can clean his hoof–are all attempts to keep his balance. He didn’t want to put weight on his right hind leg because he was afraid he would fall down.

    That was background. After four months on “Scout’s sauce” (the meds in a taste-good mash), and two days in the mountains with very low night-time temps, he’s a different horse. The first time I turned him out, he bucked, cantered (he couldn’t canter before), plus the usual “I’m high on life” antics a revved up horse can think up. But after reading this thread (I’ve never used liniments on a horse–I am a lifelong trail rider), I got to thinking. This horse is obviously using muscles he hasn’t used in a long time. I’ve been adding bute to his mash since we’ve been here, but I’m wondering if a liniment would help those sore, long-unused muscles feel better. And use where? All over his rump and haunches? His legs per se are fine.

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