View Full Version : What to do?

May. 7, 2012, 03:03 PM
So. I went to a show Saturday and competed first level. My horse's training is there - except he needs to lengthen more in the trot - his canter lengthens are there...

PROBLEM is he keeps having some kind of issue. Last September he did a flyng change - I was doing canter loops and I made the mistake of switching my aids and he read them as my asking for a change and he gave me a lovely correct change but he seemed to pull a muscle. After that he would labor a little in the left lead canter. So I had him vetted and a sporthorse massage guy worked on him. He is not 'lame' and the vet thinks he's 100%. The massage guy found a tight muscle and worked on it. It helped but I gave him 3 weeks off at Christmas and that helped. But though the canter was nice again, he seemed to be more croup high than he was before.

SO I took some lessons with my trainer and a lesson at a clinic trying to target the problem. Some things hve helped but not sure why he wont drop his poll and croup and lift through his back as much as he was - had back, saddle, everything checked.

I even crosstrained some and he did a little low level eventing this spring (he has done recognized eventing).

SO THIS SATURDAY - when asked into the left lead, he would crossfire/switch SO badly IN the transition, it felt like a massive buck each time. My trainer was there and her evaluation was that there was no lameness, no tightness - nothing. I tried to work through it and was able to get him to transition into the left lead obediantly but rode the left lead slightly counter bent and let him be on a fairly loose contact so he would not have to collect really - just enough to find some balance in my first level tests.

I am having the massage guy look at him again. But I dont know if I should lay him up for a month and then replan his training strategy and what would that be?

May. 7, 2012, 03:22 PM
Find yourself a sports medicine specialist!

May. 7, 2012, 03:32 PM
Find yourself a sports medicine specialist!

That seems the obvious first step.

As far as the horse's training goes, that's when you go backward to move forward. Start at the basics, remembering relaxation and rhythm before anything else, and gradually work back. Any type of muscle injury takes re-conditioning to work well and correctly again, so going back to the very basics helps you find where the injury starts being a problem there - assuming it is just a muscular injury. The first step tells you if there's something else you need to work on fixing.

May. 7, 2012, 03:37 PM
Since no one has mentioned it..just a thought...are you sure you are not twisting or getting crooked somehow?

May. 7, 2012, 04:35 PM
1) How old is the horse?

2) Do you have someone work on you regularly? I.E. chiro, massage, physio, etc.

May. 7, 2012, 05:02 PM
Your post didn't mention chiro work - so that's where I would go first, but keep the massage therapist working on him until you get him re-aligned.

May. 8, 2012, 12:48 PM
Sorry I have not replied - I TRIED but yesterday my computer kept freezing up so I had to go delete cookies and etc.

SPORTS MEDICINE SPECIALIST? I dont think there is such a thing for horses near me. I would LOVE that. For me, my 'sports medicine specialist' is a combination of vet (person A and B as I have 2), chiropractor (person C who happens to also be a vet), my equine dentist (person D) and massage therapist (person E).

Sometimes I get all their feedback and then I have to be the sports medicine specialist myself and figure out which one is right OR MORE OFTEN, which combination is.

And then I always use my trainer to run my ideas past her because she and I both have had a lot of horses with this and that injury that were sporthorses.

I WISH I HAD ONE PERSON who was all that.

My vet ruled out lameness in the sense of - he is sound on all 4 legs - the only issue he has is stepping into the left lead and going croup high in the canter. He also doesnt SIT into the trot like he did but unless you KNEW him and rode him, you might not see it.

I have a call to the massage guy and am going to give him some time off - and then I plan to do a load of stretchy - retrain muscles back. IF that doesnt work, the chiro vet is next. The massage therapist did not think there was a skeletal issue and I dont think so either - I have had so many horses worked on in the past I know how to do a quick eval BUT I could be wrong - it could totally be something I am not seeing.

I am trying to do what I think is the most probable first.

I AM SO FRUSTRATED because we were moving right along on so many other levels! =(

And he is 10.

Mad Mare
May. 8, 2012, 05:01 PM
I would try to find an equine osteotherapist, not a chiropractor, to take a look at him.


May. 8, 2012, 05:08 PM
Since no one has mentioned it..just a thought...are you sure you are not twisting or getting crooked somehow?


Or going against with your seat anticipating the issue?

Can you just try to have someone lunge you on a loose rein? Or just ride loose and let the horse swap around?

May. 8, 2012, 05:25 PM
Switch up the saddle - even if it seems to fit!
sometimes what is obvious to the horse, is not discernable to the human (at all)

(just discovered this week that while the Rider may love the Innovation, the Pony loves the Stabilizer :uhoh: )

Maybe read through (over in Horse Care, I think) the SI injection threads.

Is his time off in a stall or in a large field with a hill? sometimes more gentle, constant movement is needed ...

May. 8, 2012, 10:15 PM
Even if he doesn't present "lame" he could still be sore in his hocks. It might be worth having your vet do some flextions. My mare first showed her hock issues by losing the quality of her canter and then was reluctent to even pick up the canter. It is an inexpensive way to rule out one thing. Hock pain can also present as making the horse very back sore as they are holding themselves in abnormal ways to compensate for the hocks being sore.
Good luck!

May. 8, 2012, 11:43 PM
Sounds like the right SI joint. I would take a trip to your nearest lameness specialist.

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May. 14, 2012, 09:47 PM
So I took him to the chiro who is a vet at a very high end vet hospital for our area - and she does a lameness exam first and she thought it was not chiro but a lameness which - he has never been lame until today - like dragging his left hind just a little - happy to go forward etc but not 'right'.

So she blocked his foot - then his ankle - then above the ankle - before we got to the hock - he showed 60% improvement with the third block. So she wanted to do radiographs. So we did and he has lovely bone. So that was a waste of money maybe but it was nice to see - she said for a 10 year old he shows no sign of arthritis. But she thought that his hind strain on the right last fall maybe strained the left hind ankle so she wanted to give him a shot in the hind left ankle and me give him 3-5 days off and then see. After that - he might need to continue block at the hock but when she did all the flexion tests and everything - she was not thinking it was in the hock nor the stifle - only teesy fluid in the ankle that was all.

And she did a chiro on him - he was slightly off in the lumbar region but she said most athlete horses are if not worked on for a while so she really did not think that was the CAUSE of the hind left lameness.

SO he is home, rest for 3 days and then I will ride him SATURDAY long and low stretchy stuff and we shall see.

It was an expensive day to end with a question mark. SIGH

May. 14, 2012, 09:55 PM
How is he shod behind?

May. 15, 2012, 05:24 AM
Do you have any photos or video preferably of him doing the lengthened trot and canter?

May. 15, 2012, 06:44 AM
My horse gets something similiar to that. Last ride, we had standards up and were counter cantering in something like a pole bending. The distances were too short for his collection and he put a foot wrong behind, then got something like a charley horse in one of his hinds.

Who knows what caused it? It could be some version of sprain or electrolytes - any of the vast panarama of things an athlete can do to themselves at the end of a workout when the brain has switched off too early. In this case, we went too far and should have already started the cool down.

What I did at the time was drop the reins and start riding off my seat, which is an old 'game' of ours, as in 'you can have your head so long as you do all I say via my seat'. That sounds nutty, but it is how we sometimes relax at the end of a ride. We walk, trot, canter and change direction like this. He can put his head on the ground if he wants to, and move anyway he wants. He just has to transition immediately and turn easily. I started this game years ago when he was ring sour and I had no other options for riding. We don't play it much any more.

He felt rough at the start, but in ~5 minutes or so, it did get better and he worked out of it. When he was moving easily, I ended the ride and put him up.

May. 15, 2012, 01:48 PM
Get a good sport-horse vet to do a lameness workup - at a minimum flexions & observing him lunge both ways.

10 is the age where arthritis tends to start. If you don't want to spring for the workup, you could simply get hocks & stifles injected. I don't love the shotgun approach but certainly it works for a lot of horses.

Re-assess saddle fit (I know, you said you did, but if your horse isn't working correctly all the time, then it's probably changing) and lastly get a chiro.

Good luck! These subtle things can be really hard to pinpoint.