Summer Pain Relief: Readers Share Tips

More than 520 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "What do you use when your horse is sore from training, competing, traveling, etc.?"

results of poll on aches and pains

Results were as follows: 

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products (Bute, Banamine, etc.): 68.70% (360)
  • Other (please specify): 38.36% (201) Joint medications: 26.34% (138)
  • Chiropractics: 24.81% (130)
  • Hydrotherapy: 21.56% (113)

Readers shared what they do to combat summer aches and pains in the comments below.

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  • DMSO - I've used it for about 50 yrs. on man & beast.
  • Massage and a homemade liniment
  • Herbal anti-inflammatories immediately and massage after 72 hours.
  • accupuncture
  • rest, liniment, hand walking
  • Hydrotherapy here is hosing down with a variety of spray patterns and good water pressure.
  • rest out in the pasture
  • liniments,leg wraps etc
  • acupuncture and rest too
  • Sore-No-More, massage, laser therapy, turnout to keep sore muscles moving
  • I sponge my horse with a wash made of water and Absorbine Liniment. Smells good too.
  • James Hart Solutions
  • rest and relaxation
  • poultice
  • I'm a harness horse trainer and I found that the absolute best product out there is Repair, from Sma
  • massage, TTouch
  • time off turn out 24/7
  • Massage Therapy
  • magnetic therapy
  • B-L solution and absorbine liniment
  • Massage
  • Rest!
  • rest
  • Been known to give a partial dose of bute and call my equine chiro
  • massage
  • Gentle massage with water, joint meds, & if really ouchy-BUTE!
  • If it's not much improved in a day or so I call the vet.
  • turn out
  • gentle turnout in control pasture for a few days of rest, lots of straw stall bedding at night.
  • turn out and hydrotherapy
  • REST & MASSAGE. Liniment.
  • Rest
  • Time off! Never underestimate the power of down time.
  • acupunture
  • Sore-no more! and oral arnica montana
  • magnets/accupressure
  • Where can we vote for horse slaughter ??
  • It depends on what we did. I use massage and packs as well.
  • Dmso and poultice
  • rest
  • linaments, cold water washes, etc.rest x 2-3 days
  • massauge
  • Reiki
  • homeopathy
  • days off!
  • Massage, and rest.
  • Just rest, easy walking. Plus... don't over use my horse this way.
  • poltice, Back On Track bandages
  • liniment
  • acupuncture
  • Sore No More, also a natural bute substitute
  • Time off is my best therapy...
  • a good massage and a light wash with veterinary liniment
  • Sore No More, Vetrolin linament
  • Rest and pasture turnout works great
  • all the above, depending on the horse, age, and history
  • body work
  • I avoid nsaids for training/competing soreness - prefer massage and chiro if applicable.
  • massage and time off
  • give them time off
  • A thorough rub down with linament, vetrolin is our preferred product. Our horses look forward.
  • Massage
  • sore no more gel
  • Any of the above depending on the specifics
  • Trameel gel
  • It depends on the source of soreness, but REST also does wonders!
  • REST, stretching, and hand walking
  • Ultra Violet lights. Ice
  • Liniment
  • MSM supplement for retired arthritic horse
  • vinegar applied to the area
  • I give my horse time off to recover
  • gentle massage
  • If my horse is very uncomfortable I'll give him Bute, otherwise I'll give him a day off to rest.
  • I have found acupuncture to be helpful for two older horses.
  • depending on where they are sore, sometimes use liniments or braces
  • Massage therapy
  • Biofeedback elector-therapy, massage, Pranic Healing, Sore No More,
  • Liniment rubs; Brace washes; I use Bute sparingly.
  • Light therapy / bioscan / TTouch
  • ice boots
  • Rest and re-evaluate training program. Pushing the horse to soreness is irresponsible.
  • rest!
  • Massage
  • asprin
  • It's chiropractic - not chiropractics
  • Rest usually works best!
  • vetrolin
  • massage
  • magnet therapy and blue emu with msm
  • Massage, then a spray with Vetrolin.
  • Rub down with a little liniment, and a lot of elbow grease, giving the horse a complete massage.
  • Rest
  • massage
  • massage, pulsed Electromagnetic therapy blanket, homeopathy, rest
  • physiotherapy, magnetic back pad
  • limament treatment
  • Besides bute, I also have a laser that I use
  • liniment rub down
  • Orthobionomy and acupuncture
  • massage
  • Equine sports massage/laser therapy
  • analgesic gels
  • After a hard workout, I will put Liniment on the main muscles and all joints. Or DMSO.
  • Also do TTouch work
  • Rub down with absorbine
  • Rub Down Liniment
  • Turn out to play. Give some time off.
  • massage & stretching
  • pasture time
  • old hosing; ice, if needed and liniment; bute last choice
  • Rest
  • Herbs - devils claw & chamomile
  • stretching and linament
  • stretching, rest, massage
  • Massage first, good liniment washes,
  • massage
  • Massage with liniment
  • Bute as necessary, but mostly rest & stretching
  • massage
  • my horse loves to be massaged!!!
  • stretching, massage and arnica (for myself as well)
  • gentle massage and perhaps rest
  • Massage therapy
  • Depends on the injury but rest is always a good thing
  • ice, massage, stretching, hacking
  • Rub down with Vitrolin/Absorbine after works
  • I use everything for Ace-bute when needed, massage, chiro, Aquastride, acupuncture
  • Reiki, Shamanic healing and herbs
  • liniment and poultice, stretching
  • Rest
  • He hasn't been sore, just needs rest.
  • myotherapy
  • linements
  • initially if that does not work call the vet
  • rest time
  • arnica
  • linaments and massage
  • linimints and braces
  • rest and reintroduce exercise gradually
  • Tincture of Time is still the best
  • TIME OFF, VARY TYPE TRAINING.
  • rest
  • cool bath right after work and warm bath next day linament as indicated usually upper legs and back
  • acupunture
  • Massage in conjunction with hydrotherapy, and Sore No More liniment.
  • massage or acupunture
  • Gently hand lead for a walk of about 1/2 hr. Eases the joints or cold hose to legs reduces swellings
  • rest
  • accupuncture
  • I only trail ride and my horses don't usually get sore
  • brace washes and liniment
  • Absorbine liniment
  • Bute...before and after an event
  • What ever it takes to make him comfortable
  • equine body work
  • Also stretching exercises, very effective
  • I use liniment on joints after longer than normal workouts.
  • stretching, magnets, rest, massage
  • My horse receives a massage every 4-5 weeks, to relieve soreness and to evaluate her condition.
  • I use Echinacea for all inflamatory issues. The dosage varies with the problem, age, and intended us
  • massage, brace body wash, Thermaflex
  • Massage Therapy/Stretching
  • Arnica
  • chiro, massage and they are on APF Formula
  • Massage therapy
  • Magnte blanket, hock and knee therapy
  • linament
  • apply absorbine
  • What is necessary, usually Bute or hydro
  • We use ice packs, joint supplements, and Bute when necessary for severe navicular syndrome
  • acupuncture treatments and massage
  • You must know the difference between soreness and lameness. Hydrotherapy works miracles for sorenes
  • MAGNETIC BLANKET
  • liniment and take a break!
  • rest, turnout, massage, cranio-sacral work
  • acupressure
  • Rest, leg wraps, full body absorbine massage--my Clydesdales give 100% when competing.
  • Rest of course, with bute
  • Rest, massage, and turn out
  • Massage
  • turnout
  • ice,linements
  • I am a firm believer in equine massage therapy and regularly use it, often as a 1st course of action
  • just let the horse relax
  • time off
  • I have found tea tree oil to be a wonderful reliever for myself so now use it on my horse and works
  • Works for me, works for my horses!
  • I LOVE MY HORSE CHIROPRACTOR!
  • Massage
  • rest
  • Massage Therapy
  • lliniments as well, depending on the soreness
  • My horse doesn't get sore - or at least, to a degree I notice.
  • I use homepathic oral Arnica, injectable Traumeel, and massage.
  • massage therapy
  • massage therapy
  • rest does a lot of good too.
  • massage, rest
  • homeopathic and energy healing gal...certified.
  • Therapeutic bodywork for soft tissue issues
  • If just mildly sore, vetrolin to sooth. Prevacox en lieu of bute.
  • Bute, joint meds, and rest
  • sore no more
  • have never had a sore horse from training or competing just injury in a paddock
  • I use Devil's Claw & Yucca
  • Turnout so they cn move around and remove lactic acid from muscles
  • massage
  • massage therapy. My horses love Jen's work!!!
  • massage, energy work, matrix energetics, linament bath
  • show me scientific studies that support chiro & joint med,
  • massage
  • Use a Thumper
  • might use a combination of options depending on severity and location of soreness.
  • thermo gel, rest
  • I use Sore No More, massage, time off, and msm
  • Been lucky enough to not have this problem
  • plus ice if appropriate

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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