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PSSM symptoms, PSSM horse trigger points, equine biomechanics and horse biomechanics

Equine Biomechanics – How to Help Stiff Horses and PSSM Horses

Learning a bit of equine biomechanics can be a good foundation for learning how to help stiff horses and horses with muscular issues.  This helps not only with exercise, but also with finding the right modality of body work each individual horse needs.

Body work is incredibly important for the PSSM horse.  The three main sectors of management are diet, exercise, and body work: of those three, two (exercise and body work) are a form of physical work/manipulation. 

These three sectors of management work as a triad, with all three being necessary, but not all three are equal for every horse.  If the diet is perfect, body work is needed less; however, if there’s a trigger in the diet you’ll find body work can help with soreness to help alleviate the consequences of that dietary trigger (same with exercise).  So different corners of our triad can carry our horses through if another sector/corner is deficient.

In a perfect world, the diet and exercise would be optimized to perfection, but that’s easier said than done with very sensitive equines. Add in the individual metabolisms, pain conditions (arthritis, navicular, etc.), feed sensitivities, and available feeds and forages and you’ll find that this triad is even more variable. Some horses need perfect diet and no work, some need all work and forage only – but one thing that doesn’t change is that, at some point, they all need body work, even if the other sectors/corners of our triad are perfect.

Most horses don’t have the best movement, but PSSM horses are particularly prone to having biomechanical issues. Even if you don’t have a firm hold on horse biomechanics, you can usually tell if a horse is lame or compensating in an irregular pattern (i.e. it’s harder to discern a bilateral lameness than a one sided lameness!).  Even with a less-than-stellar understanding on equine biomechanics, you can still find methods of physical manipulation, massage, fascia work, etc. that can help, and figure out how to help stiff horses.

I’ve found that Jax doesn’t need nearly the amount of body work he needed back when he was symptomatic, but on occasion it still really helps him.  Here’s some of my main tricks for keeping my boy feeling his best:

  • All
  • Body Work
  • Dietary Management - PSSM Horse Diet
  • Does My Horse Have PSSM?
  • Exercise Management
  • Tack Review
  • All
  • Body Work
  • Dietary Management - PSSM Horse Diet
  • Does My Horse Have PSSM?
  • Exercise Management
  • Tack Review
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