PSSM

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Where I buy chelated calcium, B1, reishi,  pea protein, and some herbs:

Where I buy herbs, seeds, and tinctures:

Infrared Horse Equipment: Back On Track Horse Products, Schneiders Lux, and Hilason Infrared Sheets for a Horse with Sore Muscles

PSSM horse with sore muscles - Hilason infrared fleece sheet

Infrareds are amazing for horse sore muscles and horses with PSSM.  Back On Track horse products (BOT) are wonderful, and I have and love many of their products (for both horses and humans!).  For horses with high withers, the Lux infrared horse sheet is a much better fit than most brands, and there are also cheaper options which can work in a pinch.

The BOT back pad is one of my main saddle pads that I attach to a felt pad for stability under my treeless saddle and bareback pad in cooler weather.  I also have a BOT Teddy which is too slick to use with my bareback pad, but works great with my Trekker saddle.  Read more to see all the products and use and love for my PSSM horse!

Horse sore muscles – Hilason infrared fleece sheet:

Before coughing up the money for a BOT blanket, I tried the cheaper Hilason infrareds on eBay.  I really liked them, but they do rub my guy’s withers (like all blankets, more on that below).  I made some changes over the years to these to try to get them to work, and while they’re fine on occasion they’ll still rub if worn for longer periods.  I still have these and use them on occasion though – going on about 4 years with the older one!

My favorite use for the Hilason is as a riding sheet. I place my Edix merino pad under the Hilason and my Barefoot Physio bareback pad on top. The blanket is so thin it doesn’t create any girth issues (though I do leave my girth a bit loose). Remove the belly straps, and you’ll have a free-moving sheet that covers the entire horse, and if you pull it slightly forward under the bareback pad you’ll have no pressure on the chest area. This is a perfect setup for fall weather to help keep the chill off your horse’s muscles!

On to the Back On Track horse products!

Horse Sore Muscles: Back On Track Horse Mesh Sheet

My boy has huge shoulders and very tall withers, and is prone to wither rubs from blankets.  I’ve found that Schneider’s VTek blankets are the best for keeping wither rubs at bay, so I use their blankets and liners exclusively.  After switching out his entire wardrobe to VTeks, I finally bought a Back On Track infrared mesh sheet in late 2019, but was pretty disappointed in the fit. 

For narrower horses and smaller withers I think these work really well, but for stockier horses and higher withers they’re not quite the correct fit.

PSSM horse with sore muscles - Back On Track mesh sheet
Horse Sore Muscles: BOT Infrared Mesh Sheet.

The blanket looks like a good fit, but it was pulling down on his withers.  Jax will wear his blankets for weeks at a time during bad spells (removing blankets in cold weather will cause an instant episode with spasms, toe dragging in the hinds, and gut stress) so fit is very important, and the tightness around the withers just wasn’t going to work. 

To be fair, I’d bought a 75 which may have made it tighter on the chest than a 78 would have been – but that wither area wasn’t going to work regardless.  I ended up selling this one (as the quality is amazing and it shouldn’t go to waste sitting in my tack room!) – and I found that Schneider’s had a Lux Infrared with VTek! 

I should add that I really wanted to try the BOT fleece instead of the mesh, as fleece is more stretchy and more forgiving in body shapes, but I couldn’t get hold of one. They were sold out of them and I haven’t bothered to check back since getting the Lux.

Horse Sore Muscles: Back On Track Horse Shoulder Guard

Before moving on to the Lux, I picked up a BOT shoulder guard, and honestly it’s fantastic.  It stays in front of the blankets to help stop rubbing, and has shoulder and chest padding to further prevent rubs.  The shoulder pads go up beside the withers and help the blanket above to bridge up over the withers rather than laying on them. 

Since all of Jax’s blankets are designed to have space there, it’s not as needed as it used to be, but is a good fail-safe when we hit a cold spell and need a lot of layers for a longer amount of time.

Horse Sore Muscles: Back on Track Horse Back Pad

I’ll update this post when I get some pics of the BOT Teddy in use, but for now I just have pics of the back pad.  The back pad was integral in getting Jax going well under saddle – he had NO free movement in his back until we started using this pad religiously with every ride.  After about a week I felt his back really loosen up after about an hour of riding. 

A week later, he was loosening up within 20 minutes.  After a couple months he would loosen up almost instantly.  After getting infrared blankets for him, he started being loose from the moment I got on – which was a first since owning him, as he’s always been really tight in his back.

Horse Sore Muscles: my Back On Track back pad and my Trekker Luxus treeless saddle.

The back pad can be attached to the inside of a blanket, but sewing the velcro into a blanket would destroy the waterproofing of the outer layer.  I tried tying it into my blankets and, while it kinda worked, it would slip down the side and not really stay in place most of the time.  I find having an actual infrared sheet/blanket and putting a waterproof layer over is far more effective, and it saves my back pad for riding!

Overall, I love Back On Tracks, and my horse is a VERY hard fit so I’m not surprised the mesh sheet didn’t work for him. For more normal sized horses, the mesh sheet seems to work amazing (I see nothing but good reviews from other PSSM owners!). I also have some back on track horse boots (splint) that I love, and need to update this page with information on those soon!

For anyone wanting to try a BOT sheet, here’s 20% off and free shipping from Equinavia (click and search “Back On Track”):  

Save $20 on your first order over $100 with Equinavia!

Other Infrared Horse Blankets: Lux Infrared from Schneider’s

Now for the infrared blanket that has the best chance of working!  I’ve only had this for less than a week at the time of writing this, but so far I’m hopeful.  I had to get a 76 (Black Friday sale, they were out of 78s).  78s can typically be too long for him, but the bigger sizes usually have a better chance of fitting his shoulders and chest. 

This one is a smidge tight, but I think long term will work out.  It’s the perfect length, and since it doesn’t have a tail flap doesn’t seem to want to pull back.  Coupled with the BOT shoulder guard I’m really hopeful that we finally have an infrared that works well with no major fiddling lol.

The Lux sheet fits right in the middle price-wise between the cheap Hilason ($70 when I bought them several years ago) and the BOT ($249).  The Lux was right at $175 before shipping, but it was bought on sale so I’m not sure of the regular price (though I think it’s close).  Infrareds are AMAZING for anyone/any animal fighting muscle pain and inflammation – I have several products for myself that I bought after seeing how well they work for Jax. 

My older horse has inherited the Hilason infrared that’s now a closed-front, and he really seems to like it as well (though he has no real tightness or pain in his muscles, but has had an occasional spasm making me suspect of his overall muscle health).  Like everything with PSSM, it takes awhile to find the specific products that help make your horse comfortable.  I think I finally have my turn-out combination down, and it only took 5+ years lol.  Good luck with your horses!

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