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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

April 25, 2009

Information on Tying up

Well...I've been reading whatever I can get my hands on regarding this topic.

Possible Causes:

Localized Muscle Acidosis= Work instensity exceeds level of fitness.

Post Exercise Muscle Fatigue= Exertional myopathy caused by fluid and electrolyte imbalances.

Stress Tetany= Calcium Depletion from the stresses of long hauling etc.

Other related factors:

Feed not adjusted for non-work, or reduced work days. The wrong kind of feed (ie. endurance horses need protein at 8-10% max, fats at 10%, grass hay, and super fibers.

Selenium depletion in distance horses. It is my understanding that we live in a Selenium poor area of the country. Many distance horses have to be supplemented with Selenium. The recommendation is to find a yeast based Selenium supplement. Selenium can also poison the horse if the level is too that is scary!!!

Vitamin E is known to pay an important role preventing tye-up due to the antioxident properties of Vitamin E.

Heat cycles in nervous mares and fillies. Unfortunately the recommendation for this is to give the horse a light dose of a sedative (acetyl-promanzine) during training. This is a banned substance I'm quite sure.

As you can see by reading this, Phebes was hitting about all of them. Any one of these factors could have done it. But several I know for sure.

Heat Cycle
Did not cut feed ration the week prior that I let her have off.
Ran faster than she needed to go.

The Selenium I don't know yet, and I'm definitely going to supplement vitamin E in the future. I think the feed I'm giving her pretty well matches the recommended feed as closely as I can get it, I'm feeding a super fiber (beet pulp without molasses), and mostly grass hay.


  1. Have you had a look at the banned substances list on the AERC website? You might be pleasantly surprised at your options for dealing with heat cycles. :)

  2. Since you live in a selenium-deficient area (as do I), consider having your hay tested for Se levels, especially if you're buying local hay. And since you already plan to have her selenium levels checked in a few weeks, you'll know where she stands physiologically as well as nutritionally. It's my understanding that with most of the selenium supplements on the market that's its hard to overdose a horse on Se if you live in a deficient area. We supplement our hard working horses (endurance and event horses between myself and a friend) with Vitamin E and Selenium.

  3. Ace is a prohibited drug although it can be quite useful and commonly used in the horse industry. It acts as a mild sedative and muscle relaxer so its just takes the 'edge' off the horse. I've used it before but if you are showing anywhere or going to a ride where the is the possibility of drug testing use caution as the drug remains in their system for 72-120 hours.

  4. The best way for a horse to get vitamin E is thru pasture grass. It's not in hay. And it can be hard to absorb in vitamin form. Plus hard to keep stable. Just because a product says it has Vitamin E in it doesn't mean it has the kind of Vitamin E your horse can readily absorb and use. I'm just so skeptical. I have bought Vitamin E products in the past. But I just don't completely trust them, and feel much better about my horse getting Vitamin E and other nutrients thru grass.