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View Full Version : At what point do you say ENOUGH?



eventer_mi
Jun. 13, 2011, 12:32 PM
A little vent here - I rarely vent on COTH, so I beg your forgiveness.

I've had Oliver (Trakehner gelding, 9 yrs old) for about three years now. He was just broken under saddle when I got him, and it's been a long, hard road to now. We have yet to make it past BN due to many issues and life getting in the way. Lately, as some of you know, I've had issues with him being cold-backed when mounted and bucking in the canter - a lot of you suggested SI, and my vet confirmed some soreness in the SI region, so we did a bone scan Thursday, which came up negative - nada, not for SI, not for stifles, not for hocks, or anything the back end. I guess this is a relief since there appears to be nothing wrong with his SKELETAL system - of course, it doesn't detect soft tissue injuries.

Vet suggested that I scope for ulcers, and I did unwillingly (since insurance paid for it last year and we're exempted this year - $$$), and sure enough, it turns out that pony has some ulcers, one which is pretty severe. Of course, I can't afford the two months of GG that I did last year on the insurance company's bill, so I've ordered some blue pop rocks and am waiting for them to come in. I also injected his SI despite his negative scan on advice of my trainer, who mentioned that he's always been a bit funky in the SI area. I have yet to ride him and see if there's any improvment.

So, at what point do you say ENOUGH and stop trying to make the horse 100% comfortable at considerable expense? I've had horses before who didn't get scoped, didn't get GG, didn't get bone scans or SIs done, and they were fine. This is a gelding who's on 12+ hours of turnout on grass a day, hay in front of him at all times, SmartGut, GG when he's away competing, and mostly he's pretty mellow. I don't know what else to do! I am only a lowly high school teacher and this is getting pretty d@mned expensive and we've yet to DO anything. Just when he's going well - bam! Another vet bill.

So, I guess I'm just venting as nobody can really help, but how much are you all willing to do to get your horse feeling 100+ %? I'm not talking about pushing a horse that's obviously in pain or sick, but how far are you willing to go? I love this horse, but it feels like somedays I'm just spinning my wheels in the dirt and watching the balance in my check book go down, down, down. Sigh. I do have to say that I'm pretty lucky in that there has been nothing seriously wrong with him, so I thank God for that, but this nickle-and-diming is really getting to me.

deltawave
Jun. 13, 2011, 01:00 PM
Horses are like people--some are remarkably healthy and tough, while others are forever at the doctor's office for some ailment or other.

It's not his fault he's not a perfect physical specimen, and he probably didn't get the memo that he's expected to be a successful upper level event horse by now. :) I've had Bonnie for 11 years and she STILL hasn't gotten that memo! :lol:

Sometimes the sound, solid ones are not mentally capable of doing what we want them to do. Sometimes the more fragile ones have the best brains and all the "want to" in the world and their bodies are the only thing holding them back. I have one of each standing in my pasture right now, nose to nose. :sigh:

SI injuries and ulcers are TOTALLY treatable. Keebler's had both done, recovered just fine, and of course a totally unrelated problem laid him up for a year. I wouldn't give up just yet! :)

But nothing is ever going to render horses "affordable". :no: Nickels and dimes don't even begin to describe it . . . it's pretty tough to know ahead of time which horses are going to prove to be the rugged, just-add-water types.

Fairview Horse Center
Jun. 13, 2011, 01:01 PM
Bucking in the canter is almost always a training issue from lack of being in front of the leg. Correct that by loose reins, and sending the horse very forward.

I know someone that gave away a $25,000 horse after many thousands of $$$ of vet work trying to find out what was wrong. New owner said GO!! No more problems. She got a heck of a horse for $1.

As for the ulcers, there is a thread on here about ordering very low cost omeprazole from another country and results.

deltawave
Jun. 13, 2011, 01:03 PM
I have the orneriest horse in the world and am among the most incompetent riders on earth, and he never EVER bucked into the canter except when his SI was hurting.

OP already mentioned she has ordered Blue Pop Rocks. :)

whicker
Jun. 13, 2011, 01:11 PM
Might do a lyme and tick disease snap test. I live in the epicenter for tick bourne diseases, so that is always a strong possibility for us.
Have you checked the threads over on the horse care forum for ulcer care? There has to be other cheaper ways to treat than gastro gold. Papaya is one that a 4* rider I know uses...

eventer_mi
Jun. 13, 2011, 01:16 PM
Oh, I know that he didn't read the memo; I just needed to vent a little after paying that astronomical vet bill (hopefully insurance will recoup some of my costs). Yes, I did order the poprocks after reading the other thread (I think I mentioned that in my OP). And no, the bucking in the canter is NOT a training problem - he's definitely uncomfortable, as he was cantering beautifully just a month ago.

i know that SI and ulcers are treatable. It's just frustrating, that's all.

Lori B
Jun. 13, 2011, 01:20 PM
I'll let you know when I figure it out. My 'great brain, high maintenance body' horse just started doing baby dressage again, but it's still 1 step forward, 1 step back for us. After our successful return to dressage, she has been stiff and a bit wonky, so off to call the chiro again.

I second the suggestion that you explore low budget treatments for ulcers and test for lyme, which can make for a low-grade mysteriously uncomfortable horse w/ or without other issues. And it's not expensive to treat if you are lucky.

monstrpony
Jun. 13, 2011, 01:48 PM
Do some reading on EPSM/PSSM and see if that fits. Bucking into the canter can be a symptom, but don't know enough about this horse otherwise to know if that's a reasonable possibility. Just a thought.

Lisa Cook
Jun. 13, 2011, 02:04 PM
Bucking in the canter is almost always a training issue from lack of being in front of the leg. Correct that by loose reins, and sending the horse very forward.

As the owner of a pony who has SI issues, I beg to differ. The ONLY time this pony bucks in the canter is when her SI is bothering her. It is my cue to call my chiro/acupuncture vet.

wanderlust
Jun. 13, 2011, 02:13 PM
As the owner of a pony who has SI issues, I beg to differ. The ONLY time this pony bucks in the canter is when her SI is bothering her. It is my cue to call my chiro/acupuncture vet. Exactly... bucking/kicking out in the canter is a big sign something is amiss in the back/SI/stifles/etc.

LessonLearned
Jun. 13, 2011, 02:16 PM
The short answer is -- only you know when enough is enough.

I have a 14 year old Appendix who has had multiple physical issues for about 4 years now, which include anhydrosis, a dropped hip, dodgy hocks, crappy feet, and our most recent layup - a pull of the lateral collateral ligament of his right front fetlock (most likely caused by ripping shoes from crappy feet).

This guy has not gone beyond beginner novice, but is the most willing creature on the planet and he LOVES xc.

Despite those good qualities, I have been so frustrated that for the last three summers I basically couldn't ride him from July until September (with the past year being the exception he had off from July until February when he came back to light work).

This spring I decided ENOUGH and while I worked on his rehab, I also started looking for a new horse in case he could not come back. (I knew that I could never part with the old dude, so resigned myself to the fact that he might just be done with active work).

Of course, as soon as the new horse came home, the old horse has not taken a single lame step and is better than ever (little stinker).

In discussing it with my trainer, we realized that although he had been given time off for his various maladies, he had never really been given complete down time. We think a year as a pasture ornament really did the trick.

It may be that your guy just really needs a true break and supportive care and he will be back to work, but it also might be that you need to move on to someone that you can enjoy and move forward with.

SueCoo2
Jun. 13, 2011, 02:18 PM
What is SI? Just so I can keep up, thanks! :winkgrin:

netg
Jun. 13, 2011, 02:27 PM
Might do a lyme and tick disease snap test. I live in the epicenter for tick bourne diseases, so that is always a strong possibility for us.
Have you checked the threads over on the horse care forum for ulcer care? There has to be other cheaper ways to treat than gastro gold. Papaya is one that a 4* rider I know uses...

My vet made sure I understood that ulcerguard is the same thing. Still expensive, but much less if purchased from Smart Pak or something!

Lisa Cook
Jun. 13, 2011, 02:32 PM
What is SI? Just so I can keep up, thanks! :winkgrin:

SI = sacroiliac joint

deltawave
Jun. 13, 2011, 03:17 PM
My vet made sure I understood that ulcerguard is the same thing. Still expensive, but much less if purchased from Smart Pak or something!

Milligram for milligram, Gastrogard and Ulcerguard are almost identical in price. An eternal source of confusion. A DOSE of Ulcerguard is the same as A QUARTER DOSE of Gastrogard. The cost PER DOSE is virtually the same, it just depends how much you intend to give. I won't belabor the point; it's been discussed ad nauseam. :)

Hey Mickey
Jun. 13, 2011, 03:26 PM
Just a different thought.
Have you tried acupuncture, chiropractic work, massage or a body worker (a "body worker" is kind a combination or all 3 and I've had really good luck with the lady that I tried)

I found this interesting and insightful when I was looking for ulcer treatments for my horse.
http://www.lunatunesfreestyles.com/horse_ulcers.htm

When I treated my horse for ulcers I used this instead of ulcerguard or GG
http://www.horseprerace.com/canadian-gastroguard-omeprazole-paste-p-83.html?gclid=COiPnojRqqMCFYxi2godo0-W3w

I had good luck with this paste. My picky horse liked it and it is defiantly a cheaper option.

LSM1212
Jun. 13, 2011, 03:53 PM
Oh honey... I feel your pain. I seem to be the queen of having a horse start to come back and then *bam* some issue comes up and we are back to square one or even further back than that. I was even contemplating starting a thread like this of my own!

We haven't even made it past Starter yet and I've had my guy 5.5 years. And he's 12.5 years old. But for me, he's it. Once he's done, I'm done. At least w/ ownership. I can't afford to retire him and buy and support another. So I keep trying... at least for now. I think I'll know in my heart/gut when it's time to give up.

His "major" list:
Dropped hip (off for a year)
Emergency Colic surgery (off for a few months and then very slowly brought him back)
Major issues w/ feet (hampered bringing him back after the hip issue and has had problems on and off numerous times)
We inject LF coffin at least yearly (he has bone spur)
Just did his hocks last week (first time) and are also doing Legend (loading and then maintenance)... not looking forward to that billThose are the major things. Of course there have been a ton of minor things. And because of the permanent hip thing... if he's off for ANY period of time, I have to start from scratch. Keeping him fit and going is what keeps that in check.

So same pattern. We are doing okay for a few months and then something happens. And then he's off. And then it takes forever to get him back to where he was before the issue. So it's very much like the movie "Groundhog Day". I just feel like all I'm ever doing is the same "bring him back" stuff. :)

He gets body work done every 6 weeks along w/ a bunch of other stuff. His maintenance costs are high. So I don't show much. Only so much money to spend and showing is last on the list.

My Vet did admit this last visit (for the hocks) that if we can't straighten him out this time, we might want to consider retirement. :eek: I've "threatened" it before but he's never agreed. So I guess in reality, this might be my guy's last shot. :sadsmile:

So again... I feel ya!

GotSpots
Jun. 13, 2011, 03:54 PM
You can pour a fortune into the not-quite-right hothouse flower. And it's a very different story between the high end maintenance one does to keep an older horse or one with significant mileage competing comfortably at the upper levels, and the big load it sounds like you're taking on for a horse that hasn't gone BN. It's one thing if a campaigner needs some work to keep doing a pretty high-end job; it's quite enough if you can't even keep them in basic work.

A couple in-between thoughts that will save you a bit here/there: first, if I have a horse who I know wants to be ulcery, I throw them on a week's course of Gastro but don't scope them. In my experience, if there's an ulcer issue, I'm going to see a change in the horse well within a week, and it saves on the vet call (plus, a week of Gastro is a bit of a no-harm, no-foul if there are no issues). Second, sometimes if I'm trying to sort through behavior vs. pain, I may try a few days of previcox/equioxx, to see if there's any difference. Again, it doesn't always help, but it can sometimes differentiate. And third, with the cold-backed issue and now the bucking, with your horse, I'd guess kissing spine. In many cases, can be managed or treated to some extent (injecting the back, shockwave, careful handling/saddling/building of muscle).

But, if I were in your shoes, while I might play around with the first two above, if I were really close to my wits' end, I might be tempted to kick him out in a big field for six months and see what he looks like after that (and leg him back slowly with lots and lots of walking). Sometimes tincture of time is one of the best cures, and they sort themselves out just being horses for awhile. Has the advantage of being one of the cheaper options out there, too.

moonriverfarm
Jun. 13, 2011, 04:05 PM
Just my itty bitty opinion, but I think when it takes that much maintenance to keep a horse going, it's a sign that this particular workload is too much. Why keep pushing it? Retire him and look for a fitter or younger or sturdier mount. Unless you have a six figure horse that is!

purplnurpl
Jun. 13, 2011, 04:25 PM
SI = sacroiliac.
not joint. could be soft tissue as well.

Boomer had a jacked SI and I worked with it. He damaged it as a 3 year old by trying to jump out of his stall window.
Sometimes it would swell up and he would need some rest.

I would not totally give up, as you sound like you don't really want to.

I'd give him some slippery elm to deal with ulcers and a magnesium supplement...not much else in the way of supplements other than injections here and there where needed.

You've got a full body bone scan (or half at least) so you know he's fine bone wise...


http://horsetech.com/mmx.htm#Quick%20Links%20to%20Product%20Pages
http://www.takeherb.com/product.asp?PID=21125&gdftrk=gdfV21061_a_7c270_a_7c710_a_7c21125

put him on that stuff for a month and then send him to Carsten Meyer for a month.
If he was my own horse this is what I would do.
:yes:

purplnurpl
Jun. 13, 2011, 04:25 PM
Just my itty bitty opinion, but I think when it takes that much maintenance to keep a horse going, it's a sign that this particular workload is too much. Why keep pushing it? Retire him and look for a fitter or younger or sturdier mount. Unless you have a six figure horse that is!

work load of BN is like vacation all the time.
:yes:

enjoytheride
Jun. 13, 2011, 04:41 PM
There will always be an easier or sounder horse out there. What it comes down to is how much you want to deal with, and what your options are. I know from experience it's pretty miserable trying to improve your riding if your horse is always lame or bad.

So can you sell him or retire him and get something else that would make you happier and less frustrated? If you can then really consider that, there's no reason being miserable. If you can't do that then get him sound and do what you can.

retreadeventer
Jun. 13, 2011, 04:54 PM
Ulcers:
I have on horse I know has suffered from ulcers for quite a while, and I have treated with various expensive treatments; cheaper treatments; and finally, this, on the recommendation of a racehorse trainer friend -- Buckeye's EQ10 Gut Health feed.
Yep, a commercial mixed feed.
It has live probiotics among other stuff.

Wow. What a difference. This horse is doing better -- keeping weight -- not having any apparent ulcer shenanigans -- since about week two on this feed. He is cleaning up which he never used to do and is much much better about wanting to eat. That's totally anecdotal but it is way easier to use than meds and is about $20 a bag I think.

But yes the nickel and dime stuff is hard. Unless you have a way to get cheaper vetwork (marry or date your vet?:)) it's very difficult to afford. Sympathizing!!!!

eventer_mi
Jun. 13, 2011, 05:29 PM
thanks for all the responses so far, everyone.

I'm not quite ready to give up on him yet, as there is nothing major wrong - just little things that are driving me crazy. He's an incredible pony otherwise. I just needed to vent a little and hear other people's stories so I didn't feel so alone while everybody else out there is competing and having FUN. I truly do appreciate all the helpful suggestions.

Thanks again!

RAyers
Jun. 13, 2011, 05:57 PM
I am going old school to eventer_mi.

At some point you need to stop looking for external issues and focus on the riding and training. You did all you can from a vet perspective. Now focus on the rides and work. And that is free.

I had plenty of horses that bucked at the canter. Generally, I felt it was me and my ride and I worked to fix that. They all somehow worked through it and got better.

I admit, I get a little fed up with the idea that Muffy kicked out at the trot so it must be a hock issue. Or Superwonderhorse shook his head at the canter so his chakras must be realigned. It is almost like people are more willing to abdicate hard training and being tough by lookng elsewhere. I am not saying there may not be problems but using Occam's Razor, the data shows you, eventer_mi, that there are no issues so the simple answer is ride the horse.

Ulcers: I use a bit of alfalfa and soaked beet pulp in my horses; probiotics if needed. Those are cheap. The key is lot's of fiber and a bit of a buffer in the gut. I agree on the turn-out and room to move.

Reed

P.S., Yes the BN workload is basically ride and hack every 3-4 days, maybe jump a fence or two here and there and if they REALLY have to, break a sweat once or twice (unless it is a baby).

Fairview Horse Center
Jun. 13, 2011, 06:54 PM
And no, the bucking in the canter is NOT a training problem - he's definitely uncomfortable, as he was cantering beautifully just a month ago.

That is exactly what the $25,000 horse did. In fact, I personally have a horse that was doing dangerous bucking in the canter, after being perfect for years. Finally I changed trainers, to one that pushed LOOSE rens at the horse, and insisted he be FORWARD! He was cured within a few rides. A $100 fix.


I am going old school to eventer_mi.

At some point you need to stop looking for external issues and focus on the riding and training. You did all you can from a vet perspective. Now focus on the rides and work. And that is free.

I had plenty of horses that bucked at the canter. Generally, I felt it was me and my ride and I worked to fix that. They all somehow worked through it and got better. .

Yes. Horses that have pain someplace CAN learn that bucking is STILL not acceptable, and they MUST go immediately forward. If there IS pain, you can ride them until you make them sore, and THEN you can diagnose it clearly.

Bucking IS a lack of forward. Send the horse forward. It is free, and much better than dead or retirement for a horse with a probable training issue.

Bucking in the canter is THE SINGLE, MOST COMMON training issue.

or you can spend thousands and still be shooting in the dark. A sore horse can find another way of telling you what and where. Bucking IS a behavior issue, even if resulting from soreness. Fix the training issue, and see what you have then. It is MUCH cheaper.

eventer_mi
Jun. 13, 2011, 07:13 PM
OK Reed - I needed that.

I guess we all get so wrapped up in making our horses totally comfortable and then we forget that horses have been competed and ridden for hundreds of years before the invention of GG and SI injections. Now that I know he's got to be comfortable, it's time to start working his a$$!

Thanks for the kick in the pants. I needed that.

deltawave
Jun. 13, 2011, 07:32 PM
Bucking in the canter is THE SINGLE, MOST COMMON training issue.

Really? :confused: What is this based upon? I'm a VERY mediocre rider, sadly do a lot of schooling on my own, have ridden for 30+ years and have had ONE horse briefly buck on canter departs. And only in one side. Problem disappeared a week after SI injections.

One person's revelation does not make a given problem the SINGLE, MOST COMMON TRAINING ISSUE for everyone else.

Fairview Horse Center
Jun. 13, 2011, 07:59 PM
Really? :confused: What is this based upon?

Based upon my own experience, trainers I have talked to, 100 Day test rider/trainers, and the numerous threads that pop up on here, and on other forums, again and again, year after year.

RAyers
Jun. 13, 2011, 08:15 PM
OK Reed - I needed that.

I guess we all get so wrapped up in making our horses totally comfortable and then we forget that horses have been competed and ridden for hundreds of years before the invention of GG and SI injections. Now that I know he's got to be comfortable, it's time to start working his a$$!

Thanks for the kick in the pants. I needed that.


You can be a tough rider and can push hard on your horses. It does not mean you care less for them. If the medical side of things is taken care of then it is up to you to do the rest. You have done a wonderful thing making sure they are healthy. That is what a good horseman does. But they also are willing to say, "You want to buck and kick? Well fine, do it in a frame!"

There is no such thing as a perfectly sound horse. To try to make one that way is impossible. There are only horses that are sound enough to do the tasks they are asked to do. That is the best we can do.

deltawave
Jun. 13, 2011, 08:51 PM
Based upon my own experience, trainers I have talked to, 100 Day test rider/trainers, and the numerous threads that pop up on here, and on other forums, again and again, year after year.

Guess I've been riding the wrong horses, talking to the wrong trainers, and reading the wrong threads year after year. :lol: Probably a good thing. Not fond of bucking.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jun. 13, 2011, 08:55 PM
That is exactly what the $25,000 horse did. In fact, I personally have a horse that was doing dangerous bucking in the canter, after being perfect for years. Finally I changed trainers, to one that pushed LOOSE rens at the horse, and insisted he be FORWARD! He was cured within a few rides. A $100 fix.



Yes. Horses that have pain someplace CAN learn that bucking is STILL not acceptable, and they MUST go immediately forward. If there IS pain, you can ride them until you make them sore, and THEN you can diagnose it clearly.

Bucking IS a lack of forward. Send the horse forward. It is free, and much better than dead or retirement for a horse with a probable training issue.

Bucking in the canter is THE SINGLE, MOST COMMON training issue.

or you can spend thousands and still be shooting in the dark. A sore horse can find another way of telling you what and where. Bucking IS a behavior issue, even if resulting from soreness. Fix the training issue, and see what you have then. It is MUCH cheaper.


My horse went quickly up through training level...I was hoping to move him up to prelim this year. Started bucking in the canter...then trot...then even kicking out at the walk. When he first started bucking in the canter...I initially treated it as a training issue....but given how good he was before...I wasn't surprised it was pain related.

Interestingly...he was very forward and happy on a lunge line with no rider on his back...even with side reins. But once you added a rider...bucking. Xray confirmed what I suspected....severe kissing spine.

I've just poured a ton of money into him...but he really isn't much better. I'm at wits end....and if he doesn't improve soon...I'm putting him out to pasture.

But if this wasn't such a damn nice horse...I'm not sure I would have poured half the amount of money into.

Bottom line...bucking in canter CAN be a training issue...but it can also be something else.

For the OP...it is certainly a hard question...and one I'm struggling with.

eventer_mi
Jun. 13, 2011, 09:23 PM
Fairview Horse Center - You know, I'm with Deltawave on this - I've ridden quite a few horses, started most of them myself (and they've gone on to happy careers with other riders), and I have yet to have one that had issues with bucking in the canter. Oliver, the horse in question, never bucked in the canter. He started off by being very cold-backed (about a month ago), with kicking out when i sat on him. He walked it out, worked pretty well, had a LOVELY canter for the first few circles, and then started to kick out and buck. You can't tell me that "this is a training issue" - I know my horse, and I know he's uncomfortable.

Again, Reed, you're absolutely correct. It's time for Oliver to start earning his keep! I've done what I can to make him as comfortable as I can, and now he's got to start working.

JustABay
Jun. 13, 2011, 09:59 PM
No words of wisdom from me, just a hug and sympathy. I am going through the same thing with my guy, it seems like the second we arrived at our new barn, full of hope for a great season and a career change into eventing *BAM* the whole damn horse falls apart. Weight, SI issues, hocks, and now feet.

I struggle too with "when is enough, enough?" and I've realized that "enough" for me is when it just doesn't make sense financially anymore to keep pouring money out. My last attempt is pads going on this week. If that doesn't work, he's gone to be a lawn ornament indefinitely, and I'm going to put all that money into savings :lol:

Fairview Horse Center
Jun. 13, 2011, 11:56 PM
willing to say, "You want to buck and kick? Well fine, do it in a frame!"


I totally disagree. When horses are stuck behind the leg, my trainer also calls it stuck in the bridle. They need to be kind of shaken loose from their frame, which they are using as an excuse. They need a clear place to go - freely forward from the leg. Single, clear aids, leg or hand, just like you do with starting babies, but not both until they have a good gas pedal again.

RAyers
Jun. 14, 2011, 12:27 AM
I totally disagree. When horses are stuck behind the leg, my trainer also calls it stuck in the bridle. They need to be kind of shaken loose from their frame, which they are using as an excuse. They need a clear place to go - freely forward from the leg. Single, clear aids, leg or hand, just like you do with starting babies, but not both until they have a good gas pedal again.


You realize that a gallop is a frame? Just like there is a dressage frame, a jump frame, a hack frame, a frame for reiners, a frame for hunters,... There are good frames and bad frames.

What you describe is a frame. A frame is a balance, nothing more and nothing less. A horse can gallop forward, in front of the leg in a frame with its head out, reaching for the bit.

Reed

lstevenson
Jun. 14, 2011, 02:43 AM
What are blue pop rocks??




http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Virtual-Eventing-Coach/121366797928434)

Vic_007
Jun. 14, 2011, 07:01 AM
I will be honest, I can't say i'd be very interested in keeping a horse for a sport like eventing if he was younger and kept having the same medical issue re-appear.

I think you need to weigh the pros and cons... How badly do you want to compete? How much can you take away from training and competition money to keep hi sound and willing... What will the long term affects be and what will deteriorate after a certain amount of time? How will these episode hinder you from advancing in you training when he needs time off??

Sometimes, the horse just isn't suitable for us... If the ulcers are something reroccuring i'd be inclined to sell. Its not about the vet bills, but it would be very hard to continue training when he has issues each year...

That being said, maybe you can find something to prevent the ulcers from happening? I don't know alot about SI ulcers.

Vic_007
Jun. 14, 2011, 07:16 AM
btw- I don't see a major issue with the poster metioning bucking in the canter either. He obviously is in pain and thats his way to say eff off.... Horses are only horses and they have every right to tell us that if they are in pain, they cant talk so its their only way!

I've trained horses who buck from poor training too... And what has been mentioned here is cleary a horse thats in pain, not a poorly trained horse.

pixie
Jun. 14, 2011, 07:51 AM
You have my sympathy! I had one of these types of horses. He was a dutch/cross that I purchased when he was turning 4 and I gave him away when he was turning 7. One thing after another...at one point I think I rode him 3 times in the span of a year. I was constantly injecting something and yes he had the ulcer problem as well.
The final straw was when he hurt his suspensory behind. He did this when I actually had about 6 months of good riding time into him. He was a real heartbreaker.
Be thankful your horse is blessed with a good quiet mind and kind spirit as was mine. They will always have a job with someone.
You will know when enough is enough! But like others have said, if there is no soft tissue injury make him work harder.

deltawave
Jun. 14, 2011, 08:23 AM
So how do we categorize horses that buck when they're galloping freely forward? Yahoo, feel-good bucks? Bucking at liberty?

Look, it's certainly very rational to categorize a pissed-off, eff you buck as a training flaw, a lack of "forward", or a disobedience coming from the horse saying "no". But one cannot characterize ALL BUCKING this way. Sometimes horses buck because it HURTS.


I personally have a horse that was doing dangerous bucking in the canter, after being perfect for years. Finally I changed trainers, to one that pushed LOOSE rens at the horse, and insisted he be FORWARD! He was cured within a few rides.

Obviously, FHC, you've had a recent revelation in this department, that's great. But the term "no better preacher than a recent convert" pops into my head here. Why is your anecdote so much more valuable than the half-dozen others here where horses had their SI joints injected or various ailments addressed, also with complete resolution of the problem?

Although I would very much have liked for mine to be a $100 fix, rather than closer to $3 grand. :sigh: :lol:

grayarabpony
Jun. 14, 2011, 08:56 AM
If the horse's behavior changes but the riding hasn't, the problem is probably physical. I sure as heck wouldn't say the problem isn't physical because the bone scan was negative. As the OP said, soft tissue anyone? Ulcers?

Pushing a horse through pain is bad horsemanship, and will just lead to the horse breaking down completely more quickly than he would have otherwise.

Someone basing their experience on threads on COTH is hilarious. People often don't come back and give updates. A trainer being able to push a horse through something is not a final fix.

Bensmom
Jun. 14, 2011, 11:57 AM
Both DW and Reed are wise -- very wise. :yes:

You've gotten lots of good advice, and I cannot add much to it, except to encourage you to seriously examine where YOU want to be, and of course, to look at his feet. :)

Many folks here have been around long enough to maybe remember all that I went through with Ben. I was driven to try to keep him competing, even just at BN and moving up to Novice, and now that he is retired, I look back and see it was ME pushing because I needed something to believe in and work toward.

Once I took a step back and was basically forced to retire him, I was able to see that if he had done 6 months to a year off, it might have helped early on, but I couldn't stand the thought of going there. Was I so driven to keep trying because I was afraid of facing the rest of my life if my attention wasn't on my horse? I'm not sure, but I think that may have been it.

I'm only mentioning that because I want to encourage you to look at your goals with Oliver and see how you might adjust them some to relieve your frustration with the situation. Perhaps take that deep breath and go to work with him without focusing on missing out on showing and see what you have -- maybe set a goal of six months of riding and working hard as Reed suggested, with no competition goals and then see where you are? See how he holds up under that regime?

I know just how awful it can feel, and how much it can hurt your pocketbook.

And, just because I have been there, done that, have more than a t-shirt with your current issue, I want to suggest one more thing. Ben had recurring SI/hind end issues. Showed up with the bucking in the canter, and was requiring monthly chiro visits, with the same adjustment needed each time.

The vet looked at me, after a double vet exam, and nicely said "You have a training problem." So, I made him a deal -- I would work on teaching him that the bucking at the canter was NOT cool and NOT allowed, even if he was saying ow, trying to kill me was not appropriate -- and the vet would use the computer balancing software on his hind feet as the first client to try it.

It was a deal, and a month later, we were due for a reset, and he shot the films and ran the x-rays and the photos through the computer.

The vet came outside in about an hour and told me he owed me an apology -- the films showed that Ben was basically bowlegged, from the fetlock down. He stood with his hind feet turned a bit out most of the time and you couldn't see how extreme the angle was with the naked eye, but there it was on the x-ray. His toes were also really, really long -- much longer than they should have been, although, again, to the naked eye, they looked ok.

So, we chopped off toe, and built up wedges for the outside of his hind feet on the bottom of his shoes, which forced his leg to stand straighter.

and BAM, SI problems and bucking in the canter GONE. Seriously. It made a huge, huge, difference. Essentially, he had been walking at a funny angle, and had had to break over a long toe, and that was basically making him hind end sore.

Worth looking at, and compared to many other fixes, it isn't terribly expensive to have the shoeing/trim checked by a radiograph. Many vets and farriers check front feet with x-rays but don't do the rear, and I think it is equally important.

So, now that you've vented, make a plan and go and ride! :) He sounds like a really nice horse!

Best of luck,

libby

deltawave
Jun. 14, 2011, 12:07 PM
Libby, that's so interesting. A couple of horses at my trainer's barn have had unilateral wedges added to their hind shoes (per consultation with vets and a young but very bright farrier) with dramatic improvements in the horses' movement and even musculature.

Damn critters are so dang complicated . . . :sigh:

Grasshopper
Jun. 14, 2011, 01:22 PM
Libby--was that Todd that did that? If not, PM me who it was please. Am interested for the mare. Thanks!

Bensmom
Jun. 14, 2011, 02:59 PM
GH -- I can give you details and pictures and more info than you ever want! It is AVS that has the software though. Larry has mixed opinions on using the software to shoe by -- with my pony it was clear that it made a difference, but he thinks that sometimes the software is wrong. :yes: And he is right.

But, using the x-rays to shoe by is so helpful and can make such a huge, huge, difference!

I think there is still a big thread in the archives http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=35563 about hoof pictures and lots of stuff about balance from forever ago.

DW -- it really can change how comfortable they are and Ben's muscling did change, once he was properly balanced. It is a lot like runners having to have the right shoe for whether you over pronate or not.

I hated physics in college. But then, years and years later, I found myself drawing in the dirt at the barn, demonstrating leverage and pivot points and loading of columns -- all to decide how to shoe my pony. And I found it fascinating. :) Go figure -- you never know where you will use all the stuff! :yes:

eventer_mi -- don't mean to hi-jack your thread! I can be quite an evangelist on this stuff . . . :) And, keep in mind, this was something that helped Ben's hind end, but in the end, his poor front feet and metabolic system required his retirement, and I am so fortunate that I CAN make that choice and have him in a big field with Bubba, and Sam. They have Board meetings and run the world from retirement. Not everyone can make that decision though, and I hope we've helped you to be able to figure out what your own personal limit will be.

Libby

Eventer-n-SC
Jun. 14, 2011, 09:36 PM
Our stories read exactly the same right down to the lowly high school teacher part. I've owned my guy for 11 months and he still doesn't have a right lead canter due to any one (or combo) of the issues you listed plus some. Just keep swimming.

onelanerode
Jun. 15, 2011, 10:54 AM
Having been down a similar road, I will also encourage you to look hard at your horse's feet, his trim and shoeing job.

My last horse was also diagnosed with "SI pain" and was not holding chiropractic adjustments. The vet who did the initial lameness evaluation told me to get her SI injected. I wasn't ready to do that with a 4-year-old until I had a much better understanding of why and/or whether that was the best option, so I called in my regular vet and started talking to other respected horsepeople. I had more than a few people tell me that, in their humble opinions, her toes were too long, her heels underrun/crushed, and that flaring needed to be addressed.

So I ended up getting a new farrier and giving my mare 9 months off (I also overhauled her diet to make absolutely sure she was getting the nutrients she needed to maintain/build muscle and grow strong new horn), and when she came back into work, slowly and correctly, with her "new" feet, she was very, very sound. No refusal to go forward, no sewing-machine movement, no leaping around and refusing to pick up the canter. I had no more lameness issues with her at all for the rest of the time I owned her.

So I suppose all of that is to say if you've not yet ruled out issues with the trimming/shoeing, I would strongly recommend you do so. :yes:

Good luck ... it can be a ridiculously frustrating situation.

eventer_mi
Jun. 15, 2011, 12:01 PM
Libby - soooo interesting that you mentioned your farrier using xrays to shoe - I JUST changed farriers because of my barn owner's recommendation. Not even knowing my horse, he said, "I'll bet your horse has issues with SI pain and trouble with the right stifle." he was right. Of course, a vast majority of horses will most likely have issues with SI and stifles, but to target the RIGHT stifle based on analyzing his feet, well, I was willing to jump on his ship. He works in conjunction with a vet to take xrays and work from them, so I'm hopefully optimistic that this will help.

Eventer-n-SC - it's damn HARD to do this on what the government pays us, no? I'm hoping you are enjoying your summer so far!

Well, here's an update - Oliver has had his SI injections, and had his required four days off, and I rode him very lightly yesterday and YES! I felt him really swing through his back at the walk in a way I haven't felt before (and he didn't try to buck me off when I sat on him!), marched up and down the hill without hesitation, and really felt him lift through the wither and come on to the bit. Best yet - picked up a canter, and no bucking - soft, light, uphill. Lovely.

So yes, I'm thinking it was an SI issue, even though his bone scan was negative. I haven't gotten my omeprazole meds yet, but I did start him on Grand Digest per recommendation from the feed store (instead of Succeed) but it's only been two days so I'm not thinking it had time to work, so I've got to chalk this one up to the injections. Yay!

Thank you all for your support, kind words, and kicks in the a$$. This is why the COTH family is so wonderful.

LSM1212
Jun. 15, 2011, 01:22 PM
So happy things are going well for you and Oliver! :)

Bensmom
Jun. 15, 2011, 04:41 PM
Ah, good for you and Oliver!! I will be very interested to see if once you get his feet right, if he maintains comfort in the SI area.

The way of moving can definitely irritate joints and muscles. Taz was having his hocks injected every three months when he was eventing prior to coming to me -- but the culprit wasn't his hocks (though he did have some changes showing there, so they thought they'd found it) it was his high suspensories instead. Which stayed inflamed because of the way he traveled behind.

Did all of the stuff I learned with Ben train me to look for this? Oh, hell no! We injected hocks and he'd get better, before getting sore again. I refused to inject more than every six months or a year, though, and so what happened was that he finally tore a hole in a suspensory, up where it ties in.

Then we found the real problem. We discovered that the steroid can leak enough out of the joint to "calm" inflammation in the high suspensory. The U/S showed thickening consistent with chronic inflammation there.

We did 10 months of stall rest and rehab, including sugery, and began shoeing him behind with special supportive heels, and he's never had a problem again.

Now, he isn't competing now, nor is he in hard work, but you can see a big difference in how comfortable he is when he does work.

Please keep us updated on how Oliver does! I am wondering if you have some balance issues behind that aggravated the SI joint and now that you've addressed the acute inflammation there, and now will be addressing what might be the cause -- I am betting you have a happier horse!

Libby (who would probably be better off to go back into lurking mode instead of boring everyone with shoeing stories . . . :lol: )

Poll Evil
Jun. 20, 2011, 11:31 PM
I have the orneriest horse in the world and am among the most incompetent riders on earth, and he never EVER bucked into the canter except when his SI was hurting. :D:D:D:D Love the honesty and irony! Great show!

Carol Ames
Jun. 21, 2011, 12:25 AM
we forget so easily that, we signed THEM up:yes: for whatever activity we are doing;); it is :no:NOT always one THEY would have chosen:no:; another way of looking at this is "this horse is here, in your life to teach you something:cool: