Treating Girth Galls with Light Therapy

Recently, I have been riding a friend’s extremely girthy horse – 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 treated him using the Equilux LED light with the Massage Mode for additional benefits. The Equilux is ideal for this condition because it combines light and massage to reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort quickly. (The Equilux is no longer in production; other handheld light therapy devices will work; see the VCL 100).

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.

Light therapy can quickly and positively affect swollen, puffy areas because the light increases circulation and collagen production, and the massage feature relieves soreness.

Another option for this condition would be to treat with microcurrent using the mini roller over the swelling (with a 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, addressing the root cause of a problem is always necessary. In this situation, the horse has set-back withers and a large barrel, so 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 a contoured girth to reduce the 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.

by Matrix Therapy Products, August 2012

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