In the second episode of Horse Mysteries Solved…
Sometimes horses can’t bend well. Or they bend well to one side, but not the other.
And we work, work, work to get that bend correctly.
This shouldn’t be this way.
Horses should be nice and supple and bend easily and effortlessly.
What if they don’t?
I talk about these 5 tricks to finding out WHY the horse can’t bend well in this epsiode.
PS. If you have any questions you’d like answered on the podcast, please send those to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kindly put “podcast question” in the subject line. Thanks!
Links mentioned in podcast:
Renee Tucker (00:01)
Hello, my friends, Dr. Renee Tucker here with Tuckerbiokinetic.com. Hey, today I want to talk about five tricks for bending. Not really tricks, I should say.
Renee Tucker (00:13)
It’s not like training tricks. It’s just surely five things I look at when horses problems, according to their owner trainer, that they won’t bend. Now I have a trainer friend, Amy, and she’s quite interested. She’s trained so many horses, and one day we were talking and she was talking about how she always used to think that horses don’t bend because they’re old and stiff and athletic. Right.
Renee Tucker (00:41)
But then she’s run into recently some younger horses that won’t bend either. And she’s like, wait a minute, these can’t be arthritic and old and used up horses. That’s why they won’t bend. Something’s got to be going on more than just age or use. Okay.
Renee Tucker (01:00)
So what I would like to talk about is a couple of things that I go through. First of all, if we look at the problem of horse doesn’t want to bend naturally, first we have to make sure the horse knows what we want it to do. Certainly that is part of training. We want to show them how we want them to bend. I’m going to leave official training tips for trainers.
Renee Tucker (01:24)
I’m not a trainer. Just seeing lots of them work. Okay. But once we realize the horse knows what you want it to do, but it’s still not bending. Right, then we know there’s a problem.
Renee Tucker (01:35)
It’s really helpful. Well, for knowledge sake, if you have a horse who can bend beautifully one side but not the other, then it’s really clear they know what you want but can’t do it. And what do I mean by beautifully bend? I mean, I think we all kind of know, but this will be clear. I mean, where it’s soft and subtle and the horse kind of just folds into the bend like a beautiful dolphin gliding through the water.
Renee Tucker (02:01)
It’s easy effortless. Okay. Versus one thing Amy calls these horses is that they’ve been like their square. Like what? Well, she says, well, they go straight down the arena and there’s a curve at the end of the arena.
Renee Tucker (02:18)
But they don’t curve. They make a square. Like they literally go around the corners and don’t really bend. They just square themselves around the corner. Yeah.
Renee Tucker (02:30)
She’s good at explaining stuff like that. It’s very clear in my mind anyways. Okay, so a couple of tricks. The first thing is that you want to check a few things. So I would suggest let’s just say the horse can’t go to the left first, try lunging the horse to the left, of course, into the right as well.
Renee Tucker (02:51)
But make sure the horse, if he stuck and can’t bend left with the rider, is he also stuck and can’t bend left all on his own. So that would mean if the horse can bend beautifully right and left on a lunch line, then there’s something to do with the rider or the saddle, potentially bridal. But we’ll leave that out for today. So you want to do that? I would like to suggest that it can just be hard to see a horse’s bend from the center of a lunge line or a round pen if you can get someone else to do the lunging and then you can see them either kind of from the outside.
Renee Tucker (03:32)
What’s super helpful is if you can find a way to look at them from above, even just a little bit so you can see how the back is actually bending. Sometimes the horse is a bit tricky in that they look like they’re bending because their neck is folding lovely to the inside, but they’re keeping their back perfectly straight. Or they’re trying to keep their back straight, but they’re doing this funky thing with their Hind. And it’s a try, but it’s not a real bent. Okay.
Renee Tucker (04:04)
So if you can look from above that it’s super helpful. So if the horse can lunge both directions, bending beautifully both ways, there’s either a saddle or rider problem. So, of course, the next thing will be to launch the horse with the saddle on. And if he can launch beautifully both ways, then we have to go to another direction. But let’s just say without a rider, with or without a saddle, the horse cannot bend to the left, or it’s just much poorer of a bend than the other direction.
Renee Tucker (04:38)
So we know the horse knows what to do. We know the horse cannot do it in one direction. Here’s what I then like to check. There’s three parts of the body. Well, we have three or four that are very, very common for a bending issue.
Renee Tucker (04:56)
And that is number one, the sternum. Okay. So that’s like the front of our breastbone, which is like the bottom of the horse’s barrel, and it should be right in the center. So because the horses barrel, they don’t have a clavicle. Right.
Renee Tucker (05:14)
So they don’t have a collarbone. So that barrel just floats in the middle in between their shoulders. And so it should swing side to side evenly, right and left. Sometimes, though, they do a little crash and burn. And the sternum and the whole barrel can literally be kind of shoved over just an inch or two.
Renee Tucker (05:36)
It’s just a little bit, but it will move the whole barrel, that whole thoracic cavity over. Okay. So when that shoved let’s stay. If the sternum and barrel is shoved over to the left, the horse cannot bend to the left because its own barrel is in the way. Okay, great.
Renee Tucker (05:57)
How am I going to check that sternum? Well, I’ll give you an idea. Okay. I do have some free videos on my website, Tucker biokinetic.com, and it’s in the Free Taster series. There’s a short series of four videos that are like ten or 15 minutes long.
Renee Tucker (06:15)
And one of them has the sternum example in it so you can check those out. And then I do have the sternum checkup and these other check ups in my book, Where Does My Horse Hurt? And we also have, while I’m at it, Where Does My Horse Hurt? Youtube channel, which is where we have some of our other demonstrations. Okay, let’s see.
Renee Tucker (06:37)
So you’re going to check the sternum. That’s the primary thing for not bending the barrels just in the wrong spot. It sounds crazy, right? But it happens all the time. Okay, then the lumbar and thoracic area.
Renee Tucker (06:51)
So basically the back, those can be misaligned again from falling or cast and stay trailer stuff. We all do stuff that gets us out of alignment. So Lumbar and thoracic, the back that has a really simple wiggle that you can check that’s on the YouTube video. What am I trying to say? The horse’s back should wiggle kind of like a snake.
Renee Tucker (07:18)
It’s really a sinusoidal wave. If you want to talk physics, let’s talk. I’m just kidding. Okay, so it’s like a dog. Like, if you see a dog wag its tail and his whole body is wiggling like crazy, they’re almost knocking and so forth.
Renee Tucker (07:33)
That is that wiggle I’m talking about for the horse. It should be from the butt and wiggle all the way through the nose. So like a dog wagon’s tail, like a hula hoop or like a snake. That video is on. Where Does My Horse Hurt?
Renee Tucker (07:50)
Youtube channel. So you can see what normal looks like and how to do it.
Renee Tucker (07:55)
Typically, what would happen if the horse cannot bend to the left when you do the wiggle? The wiggle will not happen on the left side, and the wiggle will be fine on the right if the horse can bend to the right. That’s just a general statement. But that’s typically what happens. You want your horse to wiggle.
Renee Tucker (08:16)
So please check the wiggle. The wiggle makes everyone happy. Oh, really? It’s hilarious. It’s fun.
Renee Tucker (08:23)
All right, so we got the sternum, which moves the barrel over thoracic and lumbar that’s the back of the horse needs to wiggle. And then there are the ribs that are along the thoracic and lumbar if those are misaligned. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a rib that’s out of alignment. Frankly, it really can hurt when you push on it. So the last thing the horse wants to do is bend around that rib because it’ll go out and they won’t want to do it so that you probably want to have checked with your chiropractor.
Renee Tucker (08:55)
Sometimes a massage person can get those realigned just doing massage, that type of thing. So those are things. So number one was make sure it’s not the saddle or the rider. I didn’t mention the rider thing, but I have had a couple of times the rider’s pelvis is misaligned in such a manner that they actually were putting excess weight on one seatbone or the other. They didn’t even realize it because that’s their normal.
Renee Tucker (09:28)
But that was queuing the horse and screwing up the bed. So I didn’t align the person, but they did get aligned with their own chiropractoring a lot better. So number one, saddle or rider. First, let’s just clear that out. Then you want to check the sternum and then check the horse’s wiggle.
Renee Tucker (09:49)
That’s thoracic lumbar wiggle and then the ribs. I don’t have a video on that right now. That is in our master class online. And then the fifth one, which you may be surprised to hear, is actually a lack of selenium. Now, I’m talking about selenium, the mineral, not psyllium, which is sand.
Renee Tucker (10:10)
Clear. Okay. Selenium. S-E-L-E-N-I-U-M. This is a mineral that is deficient everywhere.
Renee Tucker (10:20)
I know you’re thinking, you must be saying the wrong thing, Renee, because everyone gives these big warnings about too much selenium, it’s toxic and they’ll die. Okay. There are some areas of the United States by the Potomac River Valley where there is too much selenium in the soil and the forces Gray, is there? Yes. They will ingest toxic levels of selenium and be very sick.
Renee Tucker (10:47)
Or if you give IV injections of selenium, you should never, ever do that. Really? That will shoot the selenium levels up super high, way too fast. The only times we do that as veterinarians, if the horse is tying up, then we might do that. But generally speaking, it’s injections of selenium, either IM or intramuscular.
Renee Tucker (11:13)
Sometimes that can be toxic. You say you’re not sure? I am 100% positive. Let me tell you why. One time as a veterinarian, I had a person called me and she said, oh, my gosh, can you come out?
Renee Tucker (11:27)
Be there’s an emergency. And I’m like, okay, what happened? And she said, My horse got out of the stall and got into the selenium, like, got into what? Don’t you mean got into the bags of grain, which is what they usually go for. She’s like, no, we have cows too.
Renee Tucker (11:43)
So there’s 100 pound bags and the horse got into it. And I think she estimated 20lb of selenium in this huge bag. I’m like, oh, my gosh. And at the time, I didn’t know what happened, frankly, so I checked her out, we monitored her and all this stuff. The only thing that happened was she just drank more water and peed more for a day or two.
Renee Tucker (12:06)
That’s it. So I really strongly believe if you give selenium orally so they’re eating it and if there’s too much, they can get rid of it themselves. That’s 20lb of it. That was impressive, really. Well, the horse was fine, but she clearly desperately needed selenium because she broke out and ate that.
Renee Tucker (12:28)
She didn’t eat the hay, she did not eat the grain. She ate the selenium. That’s a good sign to a decision. I said, oh, my gosh, what about my area of the country? I have been in several countries now teaching seminars, which is awesome.
Renee Tucker (12:44)
And I thought before I toured around that the problem was just America. And I’ve lived on a handful of States and I thought, well, maybe it’s just where I’ve lived. But no, it seems to be everywhere. It’s very deficient and it just has to do with farming practices, I believe so. It would be perfectly fine to try your horse on some extra selenium.
Renee Tucker (13:07)
Now, while I’m on the topic, a lot of our supplements, unfortunately, let me just be Frank here. That’s what I’m trying to stay is that it’s crap. It’s crap selenium. It’s the wrong kind. It’s the cheap kind.
Renee Tucker (13:23)
It’s not absorbable, even expensive brands. You know who you are, you’re using crap selenium. It’s not absorbable. I do recommend Dynamite Selenium. That’s www.
Renee Tucker (13:36)
Dynamite specialty.com. Theirs is really good. Also Balanced EcoSolutions. That’s Balanced Ecosolutions.com. Theirs is also very good.
Renee Tucker (13:50)
And it’s made at the time you order it. So it’s very fresh. So either way, those two I know are good. I’m sure there are others that are good, but I know that most of them are not good. So even if you think you got oh, by the way, your horse should have about two milligrams per day.
Renee Tucker (14:09)
And it is used up. It’s used up in the muscles. It lets the muscles be soft and stretch through their muscle fibers to become more flexible. And so that’s why when horses are slain deficient, they can also not bend. They literally cannot flex.
Renee Tucker (14:28)
That was one thing that Amy had one time she had a three year old horse and I actually didn’t have time to get there for like a week or so. I said and he had just come in for training. And I said, okay, well, I know he can’t bend. I can’t get there for a week. Could you start them on a selenium?
Renee Tucker (14:43)
And she was already familiar with this story. She said, oh yeah, I’ll do that. And should I do the double dose? So just by the way, I tell most people, if you’re deficient, do a double dose for a month, which is four milligrams a day. This is for 1000 pound horse.
Renee Tucker (14:58)
So don’t do that to a mini, although they’re just going to pee more swear. Okay. Anyways, so she had the horse on selenium for a week before I could get there. And then I came there and I pay is so. And so that stiff young horse on your list still of the horses for me to do.
Renee Tucker (15:16)
And she goes, oh, actually, no. I put them on the selenium and now the horse can bend like, what the heck? So these are the strange experiences I’ve had where I’ve really figured out that selenium makes a big difference. So do try the selenium. If you have a stiff, tight horse, it’s very economical.
Renee Tucker (15:37)
You’re only giving this tiny little teaspoon. In the US, I think it’s around $36 or $40 and it lasts two months. So prices are always changing. Of course. So it’s shipping so check that out.
Renee Tucker (15:50)
But really of all the things we spend money on for our horse they should all have selenium and two milligrams a day standard dose for 1000 pound horse. Okay, I think that’s all my tips about bending. So check all that out. Also don’t be overwhelmed. Sometimes I tell people a million things to do like, oh crap, that’s a lot of stuff to do.
Renee Tucker (16:16)
Yeah, it is. But just do one thing at a time. Take it easy. Your horse will be like, what are we doing now? And you’ll be trying to do the wiggle.
Renee Tucker (16:27)
The horse will be like, you want me to do what now? And it’ll be so fun. You wouldn’t want to do the same thing every day for your horse, right? Why not make it interesting? Keep them on their toes so to speak.
Renee Tucker (16:40)
All right guys, that’s all I have for today. Oh, and hey, if you have any questions or you would like to hear my thoughts on a specific topic, please do send an email. You can send that to support@Tuckerbiokinetic.com and we’ll be happy to try to get the answers for you on the podcast. Thanks for listening. Talk to you later.
Renee Tucker (16:59)
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