PDA

View Full Version : How many horses are 100 percent sound trotting a circle on pavement?



pasodqueen
May. 13, 2010, 09:33 PM
Today I had the vet out to check my horse who has been on and off lame for the last two weeks. He put him on a small circle on pavement that had a slight downhill slope. Vet sad he was grade 1 both ways after watching him go. I guess my question is, how many horses would actually pass this test? It seems pretty tough for a horse to trot a circle, going downhill on a hard surface.

Bisoux
May. 13, 2010, 10:38 PM
I've known a few good horses who were just terrifically sound. Grade 1 lamenesses are really hard to diagnose but it's all dependent on how much you trust the vet. Just because he/she went to vet school doesn't mean he/she's really good at diagnosing lameness.

Tegan
May. 13, 2010, 11:39 PM
I was actually reading through my big lameness book tonight. They mentioned this exactly. To paraphrase, it said that some horses who perform at the top level of their sport may not be completely sound on concrete in tight circles, although they are sound on a more forgiving footing.

Ideally a horse should be sound, but the problem could be sensitive soles or something minor that may not be imperative to the horse's regular performance. Of course, if the vet saw something, it is worth pursuing further diagnostics to make sure. Since your horse has been lame, it's pretty likely you need to do further testing.

EqTrainer
May. 13, 2010, 11:40 PM
IME very few.

Funny thing, I have a client with an old horse who is...mmmm.. Rickety, shall we say?!!! We had stopped riding him due to him being unsound in his body. For unrelated reasons he had to go to NCSU and they jogged him on pavement. Barefoot. When I talked to the head surgeon later he told me it was the only sound horse they had seen that day! I nearly wet my pants laughing.

dwblover
May. 14, 2010, 01:34 AM
I would honestly say that a LOT of horses I know would probably score a 1 on pavement on a tight circle. Could just be sensitive soles, I know my shins even hurt when I run on pavement. I do think it's a useful tool as part of the picture, but it's certainly not the whole picture.

Thomas_1
May. 14, 2010, 02:41 AM
Well I can tell you that it's what I'd expect and all but one of mine most definitely is.

The one that isn't has a muscle strain right now.

Lunging on both reins in a tight circle will exaggerate any subtle lameness. Doing it on a slope will help identify whether it's fore or hind subtle lameness.

That's standard procedure and no or less than I'd expect for a good evaluation.

It should be understood though that it's not a "pass or fail" and it's not a case of one bad step means a horse is unsound.

It's about using good observation and evaluation and repetition and then identifying if there's a problem and where.

Auventera Two
May. 14, 2010, 09:50 AM
The problem with trotting in a tight circle - on a downhill slope- on pavement - is that it's just plain STUPID. The horse can SO EASILY lose its traction and fall - barefoot, or shod. I have never seen a lameness vet trot a horse in a small circle, on pavement, on a slope to assess lameness. How do you know if it's true pain/lameness or just a very sure footed horse trying not to wipe out? Good lord that just seems crazy.

I've had 2 endurance vets trot my horse on a small circle on gravel and she was completely sound going both ways. But I guarantee if they put her on pavement with a downhill slope to it, she would mince and baby step so she didn't bust her butt. She tends to be quite "self preserving" and though she's sound, she's most definitely going to tense up and be VERY careful of how she places feet on a slick/sloping surface!

If this is how your vet wants to evaluate lameness, then I'd be looking for a different vet.

RAyers
May. 14, 2010, 10:36 AM
Trotting on pavement in a small circle is only a SMALL aspect of diagnosing overall lameness. This is only ONE tool to determine if or where a horse is lame. I would hope the vet also trotted the animal in a large round pen with soft footing as well. The animal should also have been trotted in a line and a large circle on the pavement as well.

The pavement can help determine if there are problems in joints, hooves, and skeleton. The round pen in soft footing goes more to muscle and joints. The hill can help determine front or back end lameness.

Most good vets also know their parking lot so well that they can tell if a horse should be sound or lame on almost every spot. A former top vet (president of AAEP, Olympics, etc.) here pointed out that he knew exactly how every point on the parking lot of his clinic should be taken; he had seen so many horses trot out there. It is a paved parking lot on a slope and was done deliberately that way over 50 years ago.

Reed

Thomas_1
May. 14, 2010, 11:10 AM
The problem with trotting in a tight circle - on a downhill slope- on pavement - is that it's just plain STUPID. The horse can SO EASILY lose its traction and fall - barefoot, or shod. I have never seen a lameness vet trot a horse in a small circle, on pavement, on a slope to assess lameness. How do you know if it's true pain/lameness or just a very sure footed horse trying not to wipe out? Good lord that just seems crazy.

I've had 2 endurance vets trot my horse on a small circle on gravel and she was completely sound going both ways. But I guarantee if they put her on pavement with a downhill slope to it, she would mince and baby step so she didn't bust her butt. She tends to be quite "self preserving" and though she's sound, she's most definitely going to tense up and be VERY careful of how she places feet on a slick/sloping surface!

If this is how your vet wants to evaluate lameness, then I'd be looking for a different vet.

The OP said a SLIGHT SLOPE. Short trot both ways so one way would be slight slope down and the other slight slope up. I'm not seeing a problem with that at all..... not at all.

If a horse is slipping and sliding doing that then clearly it's needing some serious traction and isn't going to be much good as a riding horse if it's likely to wipe itself out with an itsby bitsy trot on a circle.

I would presume that as the OP's horse has been lame for weeks and called the vet that this was merely some quick evaluation and part of a clinical and physical evaluation. I can't begin to think why the heck you'd suggest changing the vet!

Unbelievable!!

You must have got through more vets than I have socks with the raft of problems and undiagnosed "stuff" your brood have had.

rcloisonne
May. 14, 2010, 12:14 PM
...You must have got through more vets than I have socks with the raft of problems and undiagnosed "stuff" your brood have had.And yet apparently has never had a basic lameness exam done. Amazing.

pasodqueen
May. 14, 2010, 12:14 PM
Hey just to clarify, horse has had ongoing soundness issues with front feet. It only manifested itself this time when he was ridden on hard or irregular footing going downhill to the left on tight turns. Vet and I have been down this road before so I think he just wanted to cut to the chase. After testing him, he used hoof testers and a block on the right heel since he looked lame on that foot. He went sound on the right but then started to take mincing steps on the left. X-rays were taken last year and were clean so diagnosis was bilateral foot soreness and a change in shoeing was recommended. I do trust and respect him but got to thinking how many horses could actually pass that test sound? Heck, if they changed the jog at Rolex from a straight line to a circle would many of those top event horses pass?

mp
May. 14, 2010, 12:16 PM
And yet apparently has never had a basic lameness exam done. Amazing.

Or a pre-purchase vetting.

JSwan
May. 14, 2010, 12:24 PM
Heck, if they changed the jog at Rolex from a straight line to a circle would many of those top event horses pass?

I think you're comparing apples to oranges.

A horse doing the jog at Rolex isn't the same as a veterinarian attempting to diagnose a horse exhibiting an unsoundness.

Your horse has an unspecified lameness and you and the vet are trying to figure out what it is.

Trotting out or doing tight circles on pavement are normal in my part of the world. So is performing a flexion test, x rays, all kinds of things.

It's just one tool in a very big toolbox.

And it's not really a pass/fail thing. Just an indicator of something wrong. It could be minor, major, or nothing at tall.

I hope, in your case, that it is minor or nothing at all.:)


Reed - cool story. Thanks for sharing that.

katarine
May. 14, 2010, 01:45 PM
Trotting on pavement in a small circle is only a SMALL aspect of diagnosing overall lameness. This is only ONE tool to determine if or where a horse is lame. I would hope the vet also trotted the animal in a large round pen with soft footing as well. The animal should also have been trotted in a line and a large circle on the pavement as well.

The pavement can help determine if there are problems in joints, hooves, and skeleton. The round pen in soft footing goes more to muscle and joints. The hill can help determine front or back end lameness.

Most good vets also know their parking lot so well that they can tell if a horse should be sound or lame on almost every spot. A former top vet (president of AAEP, Olympics, etc.) here pointed out that he knew exactly how every point on the parking lot of his clinic should be taken; he had seen so many horses trot out there. It is a paved parking lot on a slope and was done deliberately that way over 50 years ago.

Reed

The 'big clinic' here, Coosa Valley Equine, uses their paved areas in exactly the same way. Do a local block of ___ joint and take them to that spot right there and trot them. In a circle. On concrete. See what that tells you. Go from there and trot a straight line down that stretch over there.

My own truck vet uses the turn around in his concrete paved driveway by his own clinic for the exact same thing. BTDT got the bills to prove it :)

What's really amazing is how they have brushed concrete, so it's quite sticky for shod or barefeet. It's really just incredible how they had the forethought to create a surface that offers traction. Stunning.

If the only vets I actually saw in person were those encountred at events, I too might not understand how a lameness evaluation is performed.

PS= only one of mine trots but he's Grade 1 from an injury so he's not perfect on any surface. All the rest can surely flatwalk on concrete, sound, in a circle. You bet.

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 14, 2010, 02:02 PM
Only my horses with known lameness have ever had a problem trotting a circle on pavement. So I guess I'm saying more are sound than are not...

They always do this for me in PPE.

Did he x-ray the feet? Just curious.

Foxtrot's
May. 14, 2010, 04:15 PM
Good question. Trotting in a small circle on pavement is asking a lot in the way of soundness. If a horse can do that it is a very good sign. However, I would guess that a lot of 'sound' competitive horses would not trot completely sound.
It would - of course - depend on how he trotted.

Auventera Two
May. 14, 2010, 05:44 PM
However, I would guess that a lot of 'sound' competitive horses would not trot completely sound.

On a circle on a downhill section of pavement, you mean? I also would bet not.

I've been present for a handful of lameness evaluations with different vets on client horses I trim and none have ever trotted them in a tight circle on sloping pavement. Trotted them in a small circle on limestone, or gravel, or the flat asphalt driveway? Yes, definitely. But I have not seen a vet do it on a downhill slope.

My dressage horse that is now passed on had been through multiple lameness exams when a farrier screwed up her shoeing, and they never used a downhill slope to do it. It was always on the flat. I guess each clinic does it differently.

*JumpIt*
May. 14, 2010, 06:09 PM
My mare was clearly a 3 (RF) on her trot circles on pavement with very mild slope. She failed her pre-purchase for it and X-rays showed some minor navicular changes. I bought her anyways and hasn't taken a lame step since. (knocks furiously on wood)

The way my vet explained it to me is that it is a good indicator of eventual unsoundness.

Watermark Farm
May. 15, 2010, 12:16 AM
I've seen many UL eventers fail the famous "8 meter circle on hard ground" but were sound. It's an interesting test but I don't think it's the end-all, be-all of tests. Just one more tool.

I just did a PPE on a 20-year schoolmaster gelding who 'failed' the small circle --- he was 2/5 lame on it. Otherwise he passed the PPE with flying colors. Wise vet looked at the radiographs we took and saw the horse had a flat P3 plane on that foot. "Oh, well that would explain why he can't trot sound on that circle on that foot." I thought that was interesting. I bought the horse anyway!

Ghazzu
May. 15, 2010, 01:06 AM
Reed knows whereof he speaks.

Go Fish
May. 15, 2010, 01:21 AM
The pavement can help determine if there are problems in joints, hooves, and skeleton. The round pen in soft footing goes more to muscle and joints. The hill can help determine front or back end lameness.

This...exactly.

I've been having PPEs and lameness exams on horses for more years than I care to count. Especially with the PPEs, I've never had a vet NOT have the horse trot in a small circle, both directions on pavement.

While I don't purposely go trot my horses in a small circle on pavement before I get on, I can pretty much guarantee that they'd pass. I guess I've been riding for so long that I often know the horse is off before he/she does!

Thomas_1
May. 15, 2010, 06:07 AM
Hey just to clarify, horse has had ongoing soundness issues with front feet. It only manifested itself this time when he was ridden on hard or irregular footing going downhill to the left on tight turns. Vet and I have been down this road before so I think he just wanted to cut to the chase. After testing him, he used hoof testers and a block on the right heel since he looked lame on that foot. He went sound on the right but then started to take mincing steps on the left. X-rays were taken last year and were clean so diagnosis was bilateral foot soreness and a change in shoeing was recommended. I do trust and respect him but got to thinking how many horses could actually pass that test sound? Heck, if they changed the jog at Rolex from a straight line to a circle would many of those top event horses pass? So the test for your horse was cutting to the quick. Turning the horse on small circles helps to assess flexibility of the neck and back and the ability to move each leg away from the body or towards the opposite leg. e.g. a horse with a delayed release of the patella may hold the highleg stifly and then move it jerkily. This is ordinarily done at walk and then at trot. It's also very very common to put a horse on a slope to assess whether it's hind or foreleg if there's a slight unsoundness. Obiously what you move on to with an evaluation depends on what you see at earlier stages. Similarly how you move on or what you leave out depends on what you're suspecting or already know.

If I were generally assessing soundness though I'd want to see at walk and at trot straight towards and away and then side on and then 20 metre circles and both directions on an arena surface first. Then on a hard surface and including walk and trot on a tight circle. Then if I was seeing something and struggling to figure what or if it was fore or hind I'd have the horse on a slight slope.

Its totally normal - indeed here just standard practice for a horse to be trotted both ways on a tight circle for a ppe. Here vets have standard procedures for ppe staged tests and those include best practice recommendations and which specifically talks about lungeing on a firm surface as part of the examination. This has been incorporated as standard best practice for at least a decade that I know of. They're not always done though and for instance if it's a vetting at say a yearling sale then it's not going to be practical or appropriate. In those cases then here the vet has the option to explain to the purchaser that they didn't perform the test, but will be expected to explain why, and the likely implications, to the purchaser.

However this wasn't a ppe, it was a "the horse is having some problems on hard surface going downhill and doing tight turns". So why the heck would you want to observe the horse going in a straight line or on a small circle - rather than a tight circle? or on the level rather than on an incline??

It's not my experience that it's normal for horses to show a problem with this test. I'm not however understanding why the OP even has it in her head that this test might be challenging for all horses. After all she knows HER horse has a problem with it's front feet and that's why the vet was called to check. Clearly the "test" confirmed the opinion and validated the judgement and informed the appropriate treatment.

Picture this, you might even want to do a challenging ride where there's a rocky path or just hard surface ground, some tight twists and turns and downhill sections. How do you check your horse is up to the job BEFORE you push it on to say do say 5 or 50 odd miles?!

It's a fact that despite the assertions of Auventera and her suggestions that she just might have some "real" experience, that trotting on a circle on hard surface on a slight slope is a standard clinical observation protocol. I personally find it incredible that someone who likes to hang out on the endurance white space doesn't know how to undertake a progressive and sytematic evaluation.

Had Auventera appreciated what to do and got similar assessment she might have discovered sooner what was wrong with her own horses:

http://www.horseshoes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3888&highlight=auventera

FatPalomino
May. 15, 2010, 01:07 PM
Reed knows whereof he speaks.

Roger that! I am quite interested in why the conversation has continued after his post! Great post, RAyers.

kayandallie
Jan. 31, 2011, 06:26 AM
I haven't had it done on all my pre-purchases but would prefer that it be done.
Had a horse show a bit lame for one and the xrays revealed a chip in the ankle. Vet said it would probably end up bothering and would need surgery. We passed on the purchase.
All of mine that I have now would never trot sound. But then, they're retired. My life's ambition would be to find one that trotted sound on that concrete circle! Of course, with my luck, it would break a leg the next day.

katyb
Jan. 31, 2011, 04:52 PM
My vet always has the horses trot a small circle, in the asphalt parking lot, as a part of their exam if I bring them in "not quite right, but I'm not sure why". He also has them walk and trot a straight line.

I would not consider one of mine sound if they could not trot a small circle on hard ground sound.

Plumcreek
Jan. 31, 2011, 05:59 PM
My vet has a dedicated concrete lameness pad featuring 1)a flat circle area, extending to 2) a sloped circle area and 3) a runway extension with a bunker at the end so the vet can see how the hoof hits at ground level, if needed. Plus, a dirt round pen. This set-up delivers answers, which is the point of going to the vet.

caballus
Jan. 31, 2011, 06:46 PM
Trotting on pavement in a small circle is only a SMALL aspect of diagnosing overall lameness. This is only ONE tool to determine if or where a horse is lame. I would hope the vet also trotted the animal in a large round pen with soft footing as well. The animal should also have been trotted in a line and a large circle on the pavement as well.

The pavement can help determine if there are problems in joints, hooves, and skeleton. The round pen in soft footing goes more to muscle and joints. The hill can help determine front or back end lameness.

Most good vets also know their parking lot so well that they can tell if a horse should be sound or lame on almost every spot. A former top vet (president of AAEP, Olympics, etc.) here pointed out that he knew exactly how every point on the parking lot of his clinic should be taken; he had seen so many horses trot out there. It is a paved parking lot on a slope and was done deliberately that way over 50 years ago.

Reed
You hit it on the head, Reed. Thanks.

When I have truck ins for trimming, I always w/t on my tarred driveway and it is on a gradual slope. That way I can not only see but can hear, too, the footfalls. A good vet/farrier/trimmer will listen carefully. I do this both before and after trimming.

My guys are all fine on the driveway. On the straightaway and circling at the end of a 10 or 15' lead.

saultgirl
Feb. 1, 2011, 09:24 AM
Just so everyone is clear on what "Grade 1 lameness" is:

Lameness is difficult to observe and not consistently apparent regardless of circumstances.

So really, to diagnose grade 1 lameness is not easy, since it's more about an off step here or there. It's not about a horse with a definite problem on a tight circle.

Fharoah
Feb. 1, 2011, 01:17 PM
Just so everyone is clear on what "Grade 1 lameness" is:

Lameness is difficult to observe and not consistently apparent regardless of circumstances.

So really, to diagnose grade 1 lameness is not easy, since it's more about an off step here or there. It's not about a horse with a definite problem on a tight circle.

Oh yes I had an intermittent 1/5. Specialist only used flat ground a slope would have been helpful. We also did not lounge on concrete and I would be reluctant to do so. However the horse with an intermittent offness good days and bads days nearly passed him vet check with flying colors only showing a few shorter strides on the asphalt. First they tried to refer to him as sound. A slope and lounging on concrete may have given us more information.

psychurmine
Feb. 1, 2011, 01:48 PM
We also did not lounge on concrete and I would be reluctant to do so.

I too would be afraid of possibly getting run over by a vehicle.

dalpal
Feb. 1, 2011, 03:38 PM
IME very few.

Funny thing, I have a client with an old horse who is...mmmm.. Rickety, shall we say?!!! We had stopped riding him due to him being unsound in his body. For unrelated reasons he had to go to NCSU and they jogged him on pavement. Barefoot. When I talked to the head surgeon later he told me it was the only sound horse they had seen that day! I nearly wet my pants laughing.

I agree...very few.

ultimateshowmom
Feb. 1, 2011, 06:54 PM
Today I had the vet out to check my horse who has been on and off lame for the last two weeks. He put him on a small circle on pavement that had a slight downhill slope. Vet sad he was grade 1 both ways after watching him go. I guess my question is, how many horses would actually pass this test? It seems pretty tough for a horse to trot a circle, going downhill on a hard surface.

Wierd- we took our horse to a very well known university for lameness issues. Spent 45 minutes in the round pen, Flex test galore, 10 minutes on the pavement and could not find a lame issue at all. Since then he has been lame on and off. Taking him back soon. So I would say that lameness is a very wierd thing. How about lameness when he has a rider on him? We will try that next. Good Luck to you!:cry:

TrotTrotPumpkn
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:25 PM
Wierd- we took our horse to a very well known university for lameness issues. Spent 45 minutes in the round pen, Flex test galore, 10 minutes on the pavement and could not find a lame issue at all. Since then he has been lame on and off. Taking him back soon. So I would say that lameness is a very wierd thing. How about lameness when he has a rider on him? We will try that next. Good Luck to you!:cry:

Don't feel to bad, yet, my friend's horse saw the vet (different ones) repeatedly because she was taking very lame steps at home and then at the clinic was fine. She also was lame for the trainer away from home. [I wonder if horses get nervous and then move better at the clinic sometimes?] Have you considered a neurological issue?

Vets still maintain the horse was just being naughty (which I find absurd--she was LAME not acting out). They did put a rider on her the second or third time, I forget. Anyway good luck with your horse. My friend had hers adjusted by two different chiros, and "magically" the second time the horse became completely sound and stayed that way.

Ironically, I had my horse adjusted by the same chiro, as my Christmas present to him, and he went from sound in-work to terribly lame for about a month (did bute, stall rest, etc.). I'm pretty sure he strained a muscle.

I really get tired of it all sometimes. Someone remind me of that next time I say I'm horse shopping please.

whbar158
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:58 PM
I am sure many horses would not pass the test, but there are many horses out there that do have problems. To me a horse that needs just right shoeing, and this and that to stay sound is likely not that sound (ie has something wrong somewhere that gets bothered if everything isn't just right). The same is true about people, I have something wrong with my back, if I walk in certain shoes for too long it hurts, other shoes not so much, but something is wrong either way. But there are horses out there that are sound and would be sound on a tight circle.

There are plenty of horses that have something wrong but are sound and happy doing their job, but might not be able to do a different job because it would stress whatever is wrong with them.

I can see the tight circle being really important for the slight lameness issues because those can be so hard to tell you have to make it worse to really see what is wrong.

PortPonies
Feb. 6, 2011, 04:40 PM
Lunging on both reins in a tight circle will exaggerate any subtle lameness. Doing it on a slope will help identify whether it's fore or hind subtle lameness.

How does slope affect lameness? I have a front leg lameness issue going on right now, and have been bewildered that my horse is lamer going UP slope. I thought it was the other way around -- more weight on forehand going down.

Also - would you expect inside or outside legs to bear more weight and show more lameness on a circle? Left-front-lame horse appears more lame while lunging to the right, which again seemed a little counterintuitive to me, since I would think the tighter bend on the inside would stress things more.

Petalstorm
Feb. 6, 2011, 11:59 PM
Reed, I know that parking lot well...
Been there many times over the years.
Is the Vet that you are referring to Dr. Beeman? (or Dr. Swanson)
I called Dr. Beeman on Christmas eve because my good hunter, Patton was so lame when I went out to feed that he could barely walk. I explained the situation through tears and he simply said, "I'll be right there." He pulled into my driveway 20 minutes later.
Love, love, love that man!
(Turns out the horse had torn his collateral ligament...)

Androcles
Feb. 7, 2011, 12:50 AM
I too would be afraid of possibly getting run over by a vehicle.

:winkgrin: :yes:

How many horses are 100% sound, period?

horsepoor
Feb. 7, 2011, 03:12 AM
:winkgrin: :yes:

How many horses are 100% sound, period?

And what is 100% sound, really? Sometimes I think I've lost sight of it.

As for the pavement - I've had horses that could trot perfectly well on it, and others that had surprising things show up. I consider it to be an amplifier -- if there is something going on in the front feet, for instance, it seems to show up a little better on the pavement. It is just one of the many tools used in a lameness exam or PPE. I stopped freaking out about it long ago -- having had a lot of lameness exams, I have yet to have a horse slip or have an issue like that.