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The dreaded tying up sydrome. Can anyone help?
First, do everything Angie said. :)
(And don't just "cut" the grain: Cut OUT the grain, 100%. Only time you
can give grain is *after* a major work or competition, or well *into*
the competition itself, in small amounts mixed into slurpy beet pulp, if
possible -- and never the night before a ride or worse, the morning of.)
Here are a few more thoughts...
Do some form of hands-on body work every day to increase circulation to
the muscles, especially those areas in which she tied up or remains
tight. Is she tight over the large muscles of the croup? Are her
shoulders tight? Does she start each ride short-strided on one side?
Give more attention and hands-on support to the trouble-spots you've
identified. Make sure your girth isn't too restrictive. Check saddle
fit. Circle and extend the forelegs. Lead her out for the first mile
before mounting to be sure she has a chance to stretch out. Avoid
chilling of the large muscles (take extra blankets to the vet checks; at
home, avoid cold-water hosing unless it's really hot outside).
The mare I rode last year (now one year tie-up free) gets beet pulp,
Mega Sel (a liquid vitamin E/selenium), antioxidant vitamins, rice bran,
alfalfa pellets and carrots; free-choice mixed hay; free-choice minerals
and loose salt. We give her a sprinkling of grain only after a serious
work or during or after a competition.
Tying up produces significant muscle damage that can take months to
heal. As you've learned the hard way, once a horse ties up, she will be
more at risk for repeat bouts. So you will have to be vigilant forever.
But it can be done!
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