Pentosan for Cross Firing/Your Experience with Pentosan

This is going to sound all over the place but just keep reading.

So my OTTB Sunny crossfires at the canter. Ugh, I know. I can manage it if I really anchor my right hip and keep my left hip loose. But, sometimes it is difficult to hold myself in the perfect place. Even then, he occasionally swaps. He mostly swaps on the left lead and does it much more on turns and circles than he does on straight lines. As you can probably guess, dressage judges don’t love that (even though I tell them he’s doing half tempi changes). He does it more at shows than he does at home, mainly because I hold more tension.

Sunny’s breeder/owner/trainer from when he was on the track is a wonderful lady named Pamela Neff. Pam is an angel. I got into contact with her with the hopes of getting his baby pictures (success!) and learning more about his youth about three months ago. Recently, we’ve stayed in contact, I brought up his swapping. She told me that he had always done it. And even more, his dam spit out multiple foals that did it. This was huge to me because it lets me know that it’s not my fault. This lets me know that the swapping is caused by some sort of deformity, So that’s interesting. Anyone want to guess what could be to blame? I’m thinking it could be something in his back under where the saddle sits because of my ability to control it when I hold the right position. I am also able to prevent it bareback. She also told me that she had Sunny on Pentosan and it really helped with the swapping.

Sunny’s second owner, Melinda Harris, current owner of the Woodlands Equestrian Center in Oklahoma (the one David Harris used to have), kept Sunny on Adequan. She did a half dose of Adequan every two weeks. She thought that worked well. We kept him on the Adequan for a while after he moved to Arkansas. After about a year we took him of of it and didn’t see much of a difference. Then we tried him back on it for a while and still, no difference.
So I mentioned the Pentosan to my trainer, Joanie, and she told me that she has had multiple students use it in the past and found success. We have multiple vet techs at our barn and a manager of a vet clinic. We talked to them and decided to go ahead and try the Pentosan. We are going to do the four week loading dose and then do once monthly maintenance injections. We are going to give it a try! If it does ANYTHING at all I will be through the roof. I am going to work very hard to ride him correctly and get him to really use himself and build the proper muscles. No going around like a giraffe on roller skates anymore, Sunny! I am also going to start a riding journal to keep myself accountable. I will send a picture of each entry to my trainer. I am going to try and stretch him after each ride and have him stand on his SureFoot pads as much as possible. If y’all have any other suggestions of things that I could do to give the Pentosan the best shot at working, let me know. I’m honestly down to try damn near anything.

Also, is there anything I need to watch out for when I give him the Pentosan Injection. Based on what I’ve read it goes in the neck. I know it is a 6cc dose, but what gauge should I use? 18? 20? Yeeees I will be doing it myself. Yeeees I know how to give an IM injection and where to give it, even though I’m gasp a young rider. Are there any long term side effects that I need to watch for?

Last but not least, what is everyone’s experience with Pentosan? Has it helped your horse?

picture of the pony in question dressed like a peacock on xc [ATTACH=JSON]{“data-align”:“none”,“data-size”:“custom”,“height”:“212”,“title”:“IMG_2217.JPG”,“width”:“318”,“data-attachmentid”:10762707}[/ATTACH]:


Did your vet recommend this or someone at the barn who is a vet?

Has the horse had a thorough lameness exam by a vet?

Cross firing is a common sign of sore SI. Pentosan may lube the horse but it won’t fix the actual issue if it is the SI joint. It could also be saddle fit, hocks, stifle, etc.

If you don’t know what gauge needle to use or how much to give, and you are asking on a message board rather the barn full of vets you have…then I question whether you should be the one administering this drug. “Based on what I have read…” is not the language of someone who should be administering medication to their horse on their own.


When my horse started crossfiring it was due to kissing spine. I did not have much luck with Pentosan prior to that but that was to hopefully help his hocks. He had them injected a few times after x-rays

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I have used pentosan on a few of my older pensioners with general high mileage wear and tear. It does help with stiffness and minor arthritis. One of my guys does cross canter due to SI joint arthritis, it didn’t help with that, but did help with his hocks (he’s 25). Not a miracle cure but certainly a cost effective way to keep them comfy enough for casual work. For a horse in actual work I would do a proper vet work up for a more targeted treatment.


These seem like very questions to ask your vet.

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This was originally recommended by the woman who bred Sunny. I have discussed Pentosan with my vet in the past and other vets at the barn. They all think it sounds like good idea and to go for it.

Also, I can definitely see how my wording was a bit off. I do know where to administer the medication. ‘Based on what I have read’ means based on the message from my vet. Probably should have clarified that.

I called my vet yesterday AM and he didn’t pick up. He texted me and will be calling me today. I have read up on common side effects and was just curious if any of you have experienced anything.

Sunny has had a full lameness exam (gyroscopes and all) and the vet couldn’t find much of anything. He said it could possibly be his stifles so we had those checked and injected. Still nothing. He has been flexed and shown no signs of lameness from that either. Both of his saddles have been checked and currently fit him.

You mention a sore SI joint. Since Sunny (and siblings) were born with this, does anything come to mind of options I could bring up with my vet in terms of treatment?

Did you find anything that DID work for him?

Injecting the SI can have a lot of success, but the more you inject it, the mroe risk you are at for the injections to cause calcium build up over time and creating other issues.

I would have the vet out to discuss maybe injecting that area, then having body work of chiro/massage done and a lot of riding to build the top line. Long and low correctly. I would also explore as was mentioned earlier about it possibly being kissing spine. Especially if relatives have the same issue. They are now thinking Kissing spine (KS) is hereditary.

interesting, we’ll check it out

I have used Pentosan a lot in the past… and always had great results with it and Adequan as well. It’s definitely something to try before injecting the SI. I know I saw results for sore hocks after the 2nd dose of the loading dose. I always did 6ml once a week for 4weeks, then once a month after that for maintenance. I also starting injecting it IV after reports of reactions when injecting IM. I never had any reactions with the 2 horses I used it with all I know is it really did help them.

I don’t see why you can’t give Pentosan a shot before going to more invasive procedures. Good luck.

Over ten years I think I get better results using Pentosan over Legend/Adequan. Maybe just my 2 horses. But they seem. To get more air in my the tires after a round of pentosan. Of course I doo this with vets knowledge