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Grinding to a Halt

It’s been known by many names since it was first identified over 100 years ago: tying-up syndrome, Monday morning disease, azoturia, and most recently, exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER). The last name most accurately describes the problem, as it means the dissolution (breakdown) of muscle cells related to exercise. Startling Symptoms Here’s what happens in a typical ER incident: you are exercising your horse, perhaps after he’s had a day or two of rest, or maybe you are trying to introduce your horse to a more intense level of competition with a relatively strenuous schedule. Or it just might be an ordinary day of riding. Your horse’s normal stride changes to short steps. His movements become stiff. He may eventually stop and refuse to, or seem unable to, move. He may be trembling and is clearly in pain. The muscles of his hindquarters and back are cramping and hard to the touch,…

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