Signs of a sore neck?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by xduckehx, May 6, 2010.

  1. xduckehx

    xduckehx Senior Member+

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    A couple weeks ago, my gelding was in a pretty regular working schedule. Starting with lunging when we still had alot of snow to bring him back into working condition (he sat for most of the winter other than some trail rides and bareback riding). Eventually we started riding, and on the days I didn't have time to ride he was lightly lunged and we do his stretches religiously every time he comes in, regardless of being worked. So, up until 2 weeks ago... he was supple and responsive, but we've had a couple weeks or so of really wet weather, even a foot or so of snow one day.

    I was letting him loose to play and graze in a medium size pasture when it wasn't raining, to let some energy out. I noticed the last time he was out that he was throwing his head into the air (which looked REALLY awkward, and uncomfortable). Sometimes it was moving up into the trot or canter, or randomly. A couple years ago I had a chiro out to make a slight adjustment to his poll, and another spot in his neck, but he didn't show any signs in his movement that he would be sore.. I was just concerned with how some muscling was developing at the time, which showed a drastic change after having her out.

    I'm wondering if this insane head tossing is an indication that he's having some discomfort, or if I should just keep an eye on it?

    What are general signs that a horse has a sore neck or back when they're at liberty? Are there any signs in their movement? (his back is fine, I've looked for any sore spots, which is what makes me think it's his neck bothering him)
     






  2. horsesR4life

    horsesR4life Senior Member+

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    when a horse has a sore neck (torn muscles) they will have an awkward lateral bend, sometimes they will hold thier head off to one side, they might keep the neck rigid at all gaits, maybe even have the neck lower than usual.

    Head tossing is usually a sign of something going on in the back or lumbar area, or it could be his teeth are bothering him.

    Just an off question: when you stretch, do you exercise before or after?
     
  3. xduckehx

    xduckehx Senior Member+

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    He's never held his head funny, but he's seemed stiff since we put off riding and he's been sitting out in his pen. I wasn't having any of these issues with him before I had to give him the "time off" for the wet, yucky weather. Is this something he could have done if he slipped in the mud or something?

    I do his stretches before AND after working or riding, if I'm not working him then I'll do them before he gets his beet pulp, and again before I take him back out to his pen. And they're stretches that the chiro gave me for him back a couple years ago when she looked at his neck (I believe he was out at his poll, and a couple places in his neck). He stretches to his flank, on either side, and then down between his front feet (one at a time, and he does each a few times with brief breaks in between to let the muscles relax)... so they aren't leg stretches, they're for his back and neck mainly, I'll get some photos tomorrow of them, if it doesn't make sense lol.
     
  4. Ryle

    Ryle Senior Member+

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    The kind of crazy head tossing you seem to be describing when a horse is playing is generally just a sign of high spirits. All of my horses will swing their heads around, toss them, snake them out, etc when they play.
     
  5. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member+

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    The bolded part above, says to me, yup, something is up, be it in the his neck or elsewhere. I am extremely sensitive to these kinds of things, and when I notice something that obvious, I've had the thought in the back of my mind that mounts have needed an adjustment for a week or 2.......But when I get a clear sign like that, I'm all over calling the chiro out, and it's either no work, or excessively light work till she's out........I have yet to have been wrong! :wink:

    Oh and to answer your question at the end -- yup absolutely. There are just plain far too many options & things that could & do happen with horses out in turn out.
     
  6. xduckehx

    xduckehx Senior Member+

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    Ryle; The first time or two he did it, I thought he was just getting excited and into playing.. but the way he carried on and to the degree at which he did it... didn't look like just playing.

    Rhythm; That's along the lines of what I've been thinking as well, I watch him pretty closely and he plays pretty hard on a regular basis.. but I've never seen him throw his head quite like that before, especially in the one frame of time while he was out. I don't want to over exaggerate anything, but this is just out of his nature. The chiro that I used was a great woman, insured that I only needed to call if something changed with him... and this is the first time I've had an issue since.

    When I got the chiro out 2 yrs ago, I stopped working and riding him completely until she came out to look at him.. Now though, I'd like to continue with stretches and some lunging, and some bareback walks... should I cut back his work until I can get someone out or is this level of activity alright?

    I didn't get a chance to get any photos of him stretching today yet, I'll go out shortly to grab some.
     
  7. nrhareiner

    nrhareiner Senior Member+

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    When mine get sore like that which they do. The pole is one area that will get sore and in turn causes many other problems as the horse compensates. Over the years with my reiners I have used and still do the Bioscan Light Cap. It really helps relax the horses they love it. Plus when you take it off if they are out of alignment and they stretch you can hear the neck realign. Te did this the other night. I had the light cap on the spinal pad the infrared pad and bioscan hock savers. By the time I was done he was 1/2 asleep and so relaxed. When I asked him to stretch you could hear he re aligning.

    www.bioscanlight.com will give you a lot of info on bioscan and their products. They are not cheap but over the years have saved me a lot in chiro work hock injections and such that I have not had to have done b/c of their use.
     
  8. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member+

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    duckeh -- honestly, if he's sore, I'd be cutting at least DOWN his work load, if not out completely.

    if you check through some of my old post in the health section, you'll find 2 that are of Torreau that show how he was moving before I had the chiro out. Both seem really minor to most people -- minor enough that they don't even see anything wrong ;) But I do! In all those cases, he was off work, or I did just light w/t on a long rein all in long & low and continued up with all my stretches. I can usually FIND a knot that is usually the cause, or at least part of the cause, before the chiro comes out. My chiro lady's cool, we play a game.....she watches him move, and doesn't want to tell me ANYTHING I've found (or think I've found) then at the end she tells me everything she found and we compair! hahahaha We're usually bang on :D
     

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