Bone Spavin - To exercise or not to exercise?

Bone Spavin - To exercise or not to exercise?

Post by Jennifer Thomps » Fri, 27 Sep 1991 02:11:31

Hi all.  I would like to get different opinions about what the best
treatment for bone spavin is.  My 20 year old mare, Blitz, has got it
pretty bad, especially in her left hind leg.  Her problem is further
complicated by the growth of bony spurs on the hock joint.

I've been hearing mixed opinions re: exercise.  My vet book says to give
a horse with bone spavin COMPLETE rest for 4 to 6 months.  But my vet
says to keep riding her lightly, about 1/2 hour a day.  I guess the
theory is that with continued aggravation to the joint by exercising,
the joint will eventually fuse from the buildup of calcium deposits.  He
said that if she remains idle, it will slow down the fusing process.

Right now, Blitz is on a one acre pasture, and it seems like she walks
around quite a bit (there's manure from one end of the pasture to the
other).  I have only been riding her about once a week, sometimes less,
if she is more stiff and sore than usual.  I guess this is the worst
thing I should do, since I'm not giving her regular exercise, nor giving
her complete rest.  It just breaks my heart to ride her when she's in
pain though, so I only ride her on her "good days".

So, all you people with arthritic horses, what did you do?  If you kept
up exercise, how much did you do, and how long did it take before your
horse went sound again (if ever)?  Did you give the horse any

If you put your horse at pasture, to get rest, how long did you do that,
and how long before your horse got better?

I feel like I'm taking stabs in the dark here, about how to best treat
Blitz.  I want her to be as pain free as possible, in the shorstest
amount of time possible.  Even if I can never ride her again, I at least
want her to be able to walk without constant pain.


(by the way, in case in matters, I had her hock joint injected with
cortisone about two months ago.  She has been getting steadily worse
ever since the shot. :-(   )

Thanks for any advice you can offer,

Blitz (20 yr. old Appendiz QH)
Mahirah (7 mo. old Arabian Filly)
Bear (8 yr. old QH gelding)