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Managing tie-ups

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From: Judy Long 

I too have an Appaloosa that has a history of tie-ups.  The first one was
in 1991 a few weeks after his first endurance ride.  I do a couple of things
to manage his tendency to tie up and 
they seem to be working (Knock on wood!).  

The trigger for Warpaint's tie-ups has almost always been a short period of
inactivity (up to 7 days) followed by energetic exercise.  He has had a couple
of major episodes (CPK levels at 145,000) and a few minor ones.  He 
hasn't had a major one in several years.  We seem to have a small episode once a
year where we screw up on our management, let him run around like a 
nut, and he has a minor tie up.

Things we do to manage it:

1.  Make sure he has regular exercise.  This is not always easy during bad
weather and that seems to be when we mess up and have an episode.

This year he hasn't been ridden a lot during the week but gets an easy ride
on Saturday and a longer ride on Sunday.  I warm him up by walking for a while,
then doing a few minutes of trotting, then back to walking again.  After 
about 20-30 minutes of this I'm 
comfortable with moving out.

This weekend we're going to the Lake Sonoma ride and I rode him on a pretty
good conditioning ride last Sunday.  I'll want to get him out on Thursday for
a light, hilly ride where he'll break a sweat and then I'll feel comfortable
that'll he'll be OK for Saturday.  If possible, I'll take him out for a ride
on Friday.  On Saturday, I'll try to keep him from running away full tilt
at the beginning of the ride ;)
I'm usually nervous about the possibility of tying up until he pees.  Then I can relax a little.

2.  I don't feed him COB or any sweet feed unless it is on an endurance ride.
He doesn't need the extra sugar.  He
gets a bucket each night with 2/3
scoop of oats, 2 cups alfalfa pellets, a cup of corn oil, a cup of vinegar and
his supplements.  The oats and pellets are mainly for the other stuff to stick to.

3. I feed him a vitamin supplement called Select that also includes some
Selenium.  I also give him DMG.  It is thought to help with lactic acid build
up and free radicals, although I believe there isn't any proof of this.  I give 
it to him anyway.  There have been occasions when we've given him a VitE 
and Selenium booster shot. 

4.  He has been getting 1/2 alfalfa and 1/2 oat for the last several years but
now gets less alfalfa and more of a grass/alfalfa mix.  I don't think the 
vet ever felt that alfalfa was a factor in his tie ups.  (Although alfalfa was
a suspect in his enteroliths).

Good luck with your horse and getting to know what routine is going to work for you.

Judy Long and Nachi Sunshine (Warpaint)
Hayward, Ca.

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