View Full Version : Hind End Lameness: What am I looking at?

Lord Helpus
Nov. 20, 2011, 08:04 PM
I used to know this stuff, but I haven't had a hind end lameness in 10 - 15 years (knocking wood) and now I forget....:confused:

George comes out walking "sound" (not limping on any leg). Start trotting to the left and he looks like he is tieing up. He will not get out of a slow shuffle (not unusual for George, since trotting = abuse in his dictionary), but he will not/cannot go faster even when hit in the butt by the lunge whip. I have also gotten on him with spurs and a stick and no matter what I do, I cannot get him to go faster than this slow shuffle.

His left hind is also short and stabby when going left.

Turn him to the right and he becomes his usual sluggy self. He still would rather trot slowly, but when flicked on the butt, he moves right out and will even canter and buck. Also, when his left leg is on the outside of the circle, he pulls it forward almost evenly (I am being really picky. Most people would say he is even on both hind legs when going right.)

If I then turn him back to the left, he is much improved. He is about 75% - 80% as good as he is going to the right, but he still has a noticeably shorter step on the L hind.

Am I looking at his upper leg? Inside, outside? More likely to be in his hoof? Joint? Muscle? Ligament?

There is no heat or swelling and he was just chiropracted and I was told he was adjusted well now.

Anything that pops out at you that I can focus on? I hate to call the vet and pay to have a work up starting a ground zero. Usually I can pinpoint the major problem and then ask the vet to confirm it.


Nov. 20, 2011, 08:11 PM
My first thought would be hock.

Nov. 20, 2011, 11:03 PM
Or S-I.

Nov. 20, 2011, 11:56 PM
My vote would go to SI issue (which is akin to saying "navicular," which of course could mean a hundred different things).

When my OTTB messes himself up it's typically a torqued back in his SI area that manifests itself with a short, stabby hind left (it's always his hind left thanks to a wonky pelvis we've been working on for years via chiro and acu). He's relatively normal in one direction and barely moves in the other when it happens. Now that we've got a good handle on his body (by "we" I mean my vet/chiro) my vet is usually able to patch him back together into a sound horse in one session with one or two follow-ups.

Does he move funny on the straight of way? The last time my guy torqued himself he stepped equal distance with his hind feet, but moved his left hind in slow motion.

Nov. 21, 2011, 12:54 AM
This might be totally off base, but they way you say it's almost like he's tying up makes me think it might be worth getting selenium levels done. My horse got all stabby with his backend when his selenium was low and just generally seemed off to me but not in a way anyone else could really see. Anyways it's something that I'm paranoid about now And it's a cheap fix with a supplement so it might be worth investigating.

Nov. 21, 2011, 01:11 AM
Hock or hip. There is one chiro in our area that I love - she's very good and gentle. But there is one that will kind of stand on a step and force things around. (he has never worked on my horse but I have watched him on someone elses).

If this is a sudden recent thing my guess would be the chiro work had an unintended consequence or maybe he over did it in the pasture with this up/down weather.

Nov. 21, 2011, 02:49 AM
Can you figure out a way to watch him trot/canter straight towards you or away from you? Tricky, I realize, without a second person. In my experience with stifles, they will bring the troublesome leg medially. Just one more way to look at the situation, so to speak.

Am I correct in assuming that he will not canter, as well as not trot to the left? With a left hind issue you sometimes get more trouble striking off on the right canter. Yet you appear to have a horse who is sore in the LH but canters better to the right.

But, truly, I haven't much of a clue. I gave up trying to figure out what was going on with Star back in Sept. and sent him off for a bone scan with somewhat alarming results.

Charlie Piccione
Nov. 21, 2011, 07:42 AM
Could be as simple as acidosis of the hind gut. "Ulcers"

Here is a good read http://www.lunatunesfreestyles.com/horse_ulcers.htm

Lord Helpus
Nov. 21, 2011, 10:46 AM
Wow. I am surprise that George is still standing (He probably is too! :lol:). George is VERY "sensitive" and does not handle pain well. He also has absolutely NO work ethic. Standing still is his favorite gait.

Being ridden = cruel and unusual punishment.

Having a shot or being wormed is outside the realm of good care and he should. not. have. to. put. up. with. it.

Thanks. I will follow up on everything. George "golf carts" well, since I do not jog anymore. So I will golf cart him and then I can see how he is on a straight line. I will also have his Selenium checked (although that may become a big deal -- (see "having a shot" above) :D and I will have the chiro back -- In NC, all chiro's must be vets, and I think she is wonderful, so she is my first line of attack.

PS: What is "SI"?

PPS: Naters, I just got your PM. The answers are, sadly No and No, but thank you for your vote of confidence.

Nov. 21, 2011, 12:48 PM
sacroiliac = SI. Hope I spelled that right.

Nov. 21, 2011, 03:44 PM
When he trots to the left do you see a hitch in his gait? Does it look like hes bringing it up higher and almosts skipping? If so its definitely an SI. I had a horse that has a weak left hind SI. I have some videos of him


This was when it was really bad. He is NOT that skinny now, this was when I first got him underweight and in pain about 2 years ago. Sorry for the choppiness but you can see him "hitch" every once in a while.

Lord Helpus
Nov. 21, 2011, 04:05 PM
No hitch in his gitalong at all. It is more of a toe drag and plop. But nothing that looks string haltish at all.

Actually today, I started him out on the lunge to the left, just to see. The same -- could barely go forward. Immediately turned right and he was happy. Went back left and he was 90%. So I got on him and we went for a long walk. Trotted in a straight line on the way home and he felt wonderful - on both diagonals. :confused:

I have a call in to the chiro. Hopefully she can figure him out....

Nov. 21, 2011, 05:00 PM
You can press on the top of his back right before his hips on either side of the spine and see if he ducks down. This would indicate SI soreness.

SI also can be confused with stifle issues because the SI can send a shooting pain down their legs and that would cause a hitch which many think is the stifle getting caught.

SI horses present sometimes with a higher than normal butt (they can't get their back end under them) and kind of swinging hips. The back legs swing out a bit when you are looking at them from behind.

They have two SI joints (one on either side) so one might be more inflamed than the other. I would suspect some arthritic changes somewhere because it seems to get better once he is warmed up on the other side.

Here is a short article discussing the skeleton of the horse and the SI joints in particular. http://www.applesnoats.com/sacro.pdf

Nov. 21, 2011, 05:00 PM
Another vote for hock. Start there, then check the stifle as that can cause stabby gaitedness as well, but it seems he warms out of it so fusing hock is my best guess.