My friend went to a clinic this weekend and she had a rather peculiar accident...
She was standing still, and then asked her horse to move forward to prepare to approach a fence at the trot. The horse refused to move, she continued to ask(kick, tap with crop, etc.) but the horse would not move forward, she started to back up vigorously. The horse finally just fell, completely fell over throwing the rider off.
A friend, and I are concerned about the horse - and think there may be something very wrong with the horse, because it did not seem normal at all...
Details on horse:
16yrs. old, TB, Mare, Supposedly ridden 6x week, has known joint problems, and looks uncomfortable and 'stuck' to the eye while watching her move.
Does anyone have any idea what could have caused this?
Oh my, that sounds like EPM. Poor thing! Does she have a bad attitude sometimes? My goodness. Be careful. I sure wouldn't ride her until she is carefully looked at by a vet. This should be over at the Horse Care thread, there are many good people on that board who can help. But I think professional advice is called for, just my two cents.
Could She have just been cranky and got her feet tangled up while backing?
I don't know, of course, but in the absence of video or further description I don't see a reason to think a medical issue caused the fall (though one could certainly have caused the refusal to go forward). She refused to go, right, and then when the rider insisted started backing, in the course of which she fell?
When my youngster was very green, we had a similar argument with a similar outcome. She was just not terribly coordinated or balanced yet, and got all tangled up in her own legs - not a thing wrong with her and she never tried it again (I think she scared herself by ending up on the ground - plus she had to go right back to work (as soon as I checked she was ok), so it didn't get her anywhere).
Or was the fall not in the course of the refusing/backing?
Mine does this very occasionally as part of his girthy, coldbacked thing--but generally only when I have just gotten on, and something spooks him before he gets going forward. I got on him at the trainer's the other day, took one stride, and he saw something in the trees and backed up three or four strides and started to sit down, so I jumped off, undid his girth quickly, and he straightened up and looked embarrassed.
Honestly, this sounds less neurological and more like that, especially coming from a halt. I have found that there are certain times when a horse feels "stuck" that you had better just get off and lead the horse forward, because anything else is going to equal a blowup of some kind.
It sounds like you feel that the horse is unsound anyway, which may or may not be related, but if you haven't been asked for an opinion all you can do is say, "You should probably get Poopsie checked out." and leave it at that.
I would get a vet workup. Could be wobblers, EPM, or any number of things. First thing is to get to the bottom of that as soon as possible.
It doesn't have to be anything terrible. There is something that some horses have where the girth can pinch a nerve and they will fall/lay down/lean back/sit down almost when asked to move forward. Hopefully it is that, as that is easy to fix by tightening the girth very slowly and walking the horse between tightenings, then getting on in two-point and keeping the horse walking.
I had a horse that developed that nerve issue when he was in his mid-teens. Who knows why, but it was easy to manage. He was also arthritic.
I would not sit around on the horse if that's what the issue is -- keep her walking so that it doesn't have time to pinch/irritate the nerve. With my horse I had to eventually untie him before I put the girth on, as I had to walk him forward as soon as the girth came around his belly or he would fall down in the aisle. Weird. Walk him forward and he was fine.
Definitely get a good and very thorough checkup; also find a Tellington Touch practitioner; have them work the horse in hand, especially in he dingo; to simplify going forward and halting in balance I would guess from your description; that the lumbar sacral jointedis not functioning as needed; and that the horse moves forward by leaning until balance is lost and the legs move hurriedly to prevent a fall;working the horse through the labyrinth; can be used to isolate going forward and turning in either direction, as well as, stopping and standing still; by isolating these movements; you can begin to look more at the bio mechanical functions of the body and see what is happening ; or not happening
I'd check for kissing spine - my OTTB had that problem: the quick backing up and then falling over. I went to my regular vet (non-holistic) and had x-rays taken when it first started happening. He diagnosed KS, and suggest that I either use him solely as a trail horse or inject his vertebrae in specific places. I then had a holistic vet out (I'm a total sucker for this horse as my husband keeps telling me once he gets the vet bills) and we started chiropractics and acupuncture after she said it was functional KS and could be fixed. He hasn't had a episode since we started and we now are slowly increasing the time between appointments.