Good SI (Sacro-illiac) stretches and warm-ups need for TB dressage training

Last week, I acquired (for free) a 7 y/o 17h TB gelding project-horse. He is as sweet as pie, and has such a willing attitude that I was willing to see past his SI issues.

He had been unridden in 7 months due to his previous owner’s life circumstance (new baby, + building a barn + 2 other horses). She was able to provide me with his vet records, and was very up-front with the fact that he has an SI condition, that, with chiro and regular exercise was very controllable and he was functionally sound.

I knew that in early 2014 he was injected in his SI which helped greatly, but since he has been sitting for so long, I feel like he is back to square one. I am planning on taking it very slow with him -walking and trotting straight lines to build him back up, regular chiro and putting liniment gel and massaging on his back before riding.

He got new shoes and chiro on monday and tuesday of this week. I lunged him for a little bit about 5 hours after his curio treatment just to see how he moved (I now know this was a no-no) and he was moving great. When I rode him the next morning, he was lame at the trot.

I talked who his former owner who recommended riding just straight lines (I am a dressage rider so I am obsessed with circles and bends LOL) and walking him for 10, trotting for 5 on the long sides only and actively walking for another ten.

Aside from carrot stretches and massage. What can I do to help him? Should I get him injected again since its been so long?

Without knowing exactly WHAT the SI issues are, it might be best to consult your vet for suggestions. I do a lot to make sure my horse’s hind end is mobile but I’m not comfortable without knowing what the issues are. Does he have arthritis or is it something else? There are many different issues that can be associated with the pelvis and all are handled differently.

It might just be best to ask the vet and/or the chiropractor.

Eeks SI issues are no fun! My gelding had an SI injury when he was younger, he will forever need maintenance to remain sound. Injections make a world of a difference! I would recommend getting them again. Also, talk to your chiro about teaching you some maneuvers for stretching and strengthening.

I’ve noticed stifle exercises and strengthening are very similar to the exercises my vet recommended. There are a lot of posts about those, might try searching on here. :slight_smile:

I would have your vet do a lameness exam and have him/her review the past record. While he could have an si issue, it could be somewhere else too if the condition wasn’t definitely diagnosed via bone scan ( and even then! ) and he could always have a new issue.

If it were truly si, exercise should help , but it would be best to know for sure what you are dealing with.

I and my vet had thought we were dealing with a back or si issue but on bone scan, it was the stifles (confirmed with ultrasound) and now it seems so obvious but before the scan it it wasn’t.

now that I know its his stifles, after he got injected, I ice him after exercise which he hates but the ice is the one thing that is really helping him.

Definitely have your vet rule out any other hind end issues. Arthritis in the hocks can also translate into SI pain. You might need to address (ie -inject) an inflammation issue in the hocks as well as the SI before venturing into a strengthening program. Lunging (or riding) on small circles - definitely a bad idea at this point. Puts too much stress on the joints for now. A strengthening program will mean starting out with walk/trot on straight lines only for a while with the horse working in the bridle to engage the hind end. Then gradually introducing gentle grades to build hind end strength. I have 2 big (17H+) guys that I’ve been maintaining SI issues with for over 6 years. One of them needs SI injections @ twice a year to keep him comfortable. The other one does fine with just maintaining strength with hill work. Lots of patience involved, but my boys are worth it!

Keeping the back muscles warm before a ride may also help him. Remember never to stretch “cold” muscles, so stretch after a ride, and hand walk first if you want to stretch before the ride. Good luck!

I have a gelding who had a pretty bad SI injury that I rehabbed. I would use a Back On Track back pad for 20 min before tacking up, I put it on and then groomed around and under it. Some other things I did included walking in hand before riding, includnig backing up and getting him to leg yield in hand so that he had to step under his body with his hind leg. I also used cavaletti and trotting poles set up so that alternate ends were on a block; it made him pick up his hind feet and really helped with strengthening the hind end.

Thanks for the thoughtful responses. I had my vet out do to a full work up and lameness exam on him. He is sound aside from a slight stiffness in the right hind which we both attribute to the SI weakness. Her Rx was gradual work (LOTS of walking) with trot time being incrementally increased each week on long, straight lines. We will have another exam in 5 weeks to gauge how he is doing and see if he needs injections, or if building up enough muscle will help stabilize the joint enough on its own.

I’m also hand walking him up this giant hill on the property, and I ordered a Back on track therapy pad (barn has no electricity so this is the best way to keep him warm) to apply while grooming to help get his muscles a little looser. So far so good!!