Treating Girth Galls with Light Therapy

Recently I have been riding a friend’s horse that is extremely girthy – he gets upset and tries to bite when his girth is tightened. The gelding has always been this way, but it was noticed as he began working again after time off.

After just three easy rides, I noticed that the gelding had developed girth galls behind his armpit. Due to the time off it had not previously been visible, but now the swelling was significant and the horse was in definite discomfort.

I decided to treat him using the Equilux LED light with the Massage Mode for additional benefits. The reason the Equilux is ideal for this type of condition is that it combines light and massage to quickly reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort. Additionally, because it is a handheld, cordless device it makes it quick and easy to treat your horse (other handheld light therapy devices would also work).

To address the symptoms, I treated the sore girth area for approximately 5 minutes per side (both sides had swelling). After just one treatment, the swelling was gone and the horse was significantly happier.

The reason light therapy can have such a quick, positive effect on swollen, puffy areas is that the light increases circulation and collagen production, and the massage feature relieves soreness.

Another option for this type of condition would be to treat with microcurrent using the mini roller over the swelling (with second electrode attached to the wither). Light therapy is quicker because it takes no preparation, but microcurrent is also highly effective.

In addition to administering a therapy session, it is always necessary to address the root cause of a problem. In this situation, the horse has set-back withers and a large barrel, which why there isn’t a straight line down from the withers to the girth area. This causes the girth to be pulled back, which was suspected to be part of the issue causing his discomfort. To help remedy this, I switched to using a contour girth so that there was less potential for rubbing and discomfort. The next step would be to consider altering the saddle to improve the fit.

Light and other therapies are highly beneficial to help heal injuries and make your horse more comfortable. However, be sure to also determine the reason for the issue so that, if possible, it can be avoided in the future.

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by Matrix Therapy Products, August 2012

Copyright © 2011, Matrix Therapy Products Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.