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  1. #1
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    Sep. 4, 2012
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    Default Unhappy to collect and engage

    This is quite lengthy, I typically skim posts like this but please take time to read, maybe someone can help.

    A little background: This is something that has progressed over the year, after watching videos from a year ago i'm finally realizing how drastic the changes are. I have a horse, my personal horse who a kid leases, kid is extremely talented, very green but has big goals and the determination to get there. The family is incredible and I couldn't appreciate people like this any more than I do. The mare is 11 maybe 12 years old, would have to look at her reg/ papers. Has mileage in everything from the Jr. Hunters, Big Eq / Medals and has done the 1.25, a wide variety and did very well in all, yes this lease fee could easily pay my rent and insurance. Due to financial situations on the lessee's part, and my appreciation for a kid so young to be so attentive and dedicated, I decided to waive the lease fee about 6 months ago when it came to the rider having to quit or find something "affordable". The mare is up to date with her teeth, vet work, a great supplement program, no bad habits, all in all she the most gentle, forgiving and honest horse i've ever come across.

    Starting at the beginning of the season she was a little sensitive to the bit and having a hard time bending, just basics that pointed to her teeth needing to be done. Nothing stood out but she got her teeth floated before we headed to Thermal. Took the kid from the local short stirrup and green rider division a couple months before that, to the 13-14 Eq and Smaller medals. Went around great. I schooled her toward the middle of the week and noticed she was pretty reluctant to collect, was engaging nicely but had a very stiff jaw. Moving forward without writing an entire novel.

    It's progressed to a point that I can no longer look at and say "lets try this, this should help" I have a valuable horse that is going downhill, completely my fault as i've tried to cut so many corners to make this lease possible for these wonderful people. A few key ingredients, she's had chiropractic work as usual and it did nothing, hocks were just done about a month and a half ago, made a huge difference for about two weeks then now we're back to where we were. She is on regular Adequan and Legend each month. Vet suggested SI injection which we did, helped again for a bit and then were back to where we were. The mare is now so reluctant to move forward, swishes her tail and pins her ears when asked to engage and collect, something is clearly bothering her! An idiot could see this. She has an abnormally short step with her left ONLY when collecting and ONLY at the trot. Let her go on a loose rein, or somewhat loose and she's happy, a little crabby here and there but nothing worth worrying about, no short step, moves out and no doubt would win the hack. Pick up the reins again and ask her to engage with a light feel and we have a very unhappy horse. She will jump around just fine and perks her ears forward, isn't lame one bit other than the short step which I wouldn't look at and consider "lameness". Now seeing how unhappy she i've put things to a complete halt, the horse needs time as well as better vet work.

    Due to the family's financial situation the poking and prodding thing isn't going to cut it, it doesn't really cut it for anyone realistically. I of course know that it can take quite a few "educated guesses" for lack of better words before the problem is nailed. I'm not really willing to continue with the educated guesses anymore, especially from a vet. $5,000.00 later and we still have an unhappy horse.

    THE POINT Taking to consideration that on the loose rein everything is beautiful and for the most part normal until the horse is asked to collect and move forward, starts taking that short step in the hind and if she didn't have a heart of gold would probably fire out and refuse to even move. I've thought about her back (done), hocks(done), neck, stifles, actually though about pretty much everything and have come to about 100 forks in the road. We have a new vet coming to see her in a couple weeks that i'm pretty confident about. In the meantime I could really use some "educated guesses" or suggestions.

    Excuse the novel that I didn't intend to write



  2. #2
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    Dec. 31, 2000
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    El Paso, TX
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    Default

    Hocks fusing???
    Not sure if injections would eliminate that pain completely.

    Have you ever had feet/pasterns x rayed? Navicular?Ringbone?

    She sounds like she has had a lot of use, and may be at the point where things are showing up. Has she ever had 3 months off, with maybe a couple of light hacks/trailrides a week? Or has she pretty much been showing/training/worked?
    Hillary Clinton - proven liar, cheat, traitor and defender of rapists! Anyone but Hillary 2016! https://www.facebook.com/AntiHillary2016



  3. #3
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    Sep. 27, 2000
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    Southern California - on a freeway someplace
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    Default

    A full-body nuclear scintigraphy will set you back about $1800. While expensive, it may prove cheaper in the long run than poking and prodding here and there. Based on your user name, you are in an area near by several facilities that can do this. I used Dr. Martinelli.

    I just pulled out my bill from a year ago to look up the MRI cost, and the full-body scintigraphy was $2000.
    Last edited by Peggy; Sep. 26, 2012 at 12:27 AM. Reason: see second paragraph
    The Evil Chem Prof



  4. #4
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    Jul. 22, 2012
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    CA
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    Default

    I may be missing this somewhere, but have you had X-rays done? If after all of this, nothing has helped, I would probably have extensive X-rays of quite a few areas done. Definitely back, feet, pasterns, probably hocks, knees, withers too. Really as much as possible.

    I would wager a guess that it's a back issue, if collection is the problem and she's stepping out nicely on a loose rein. It wouldn't necessarily make sense for it to be her hocks if she's using her hind end adequately when she's not being asked to lift up and through.

    Good luck! I agree with jetsmom that it sounds like she may just be reaching that point where everything is taking its toll.



  5. #5
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    Default

    Great indepth post
    My first query though, is what is her lifestyle like - ie stalled, in/out, turn out, pasture time etc; if this was my horse, I'd have taken her out of work while trying to figure this out IF she's in a situation where she can be out on pasture & moving (ie grazing) through the day.
    If you live in an area where this is just not possible, it becomes rather more difficult to decide what's most suitable.

    I rather assumed that you've been doing Xrays, some blocking?
    Did you have only one bodyworker out or at least a couple of different people?

    She is on regular Adequan and Legend each month.
    What diagnosis led to this treatment? has she been on this just recently or long term?

    Taking to consideration that on the loose rein everything is beautiful and for the most part normal until the horse is asked to collect and move forward,
    Is it really though, or is she just pretty stoic & finally lets you know when it's beyond what she can manage?

    Have you examined saddle fit? tried different saddles to see if there is any effect?



  6. #6
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    Jul. 22, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_red_ottb View Post
    I would probably have extensive X-rays of quite a few areas done. Definitely back, feet, pasterns, probably hocks, knees, withers too. Really as much as possible.
    ...neck too.



  7. #7
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    Jul. 28, 2004
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    Texas
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    I bought one who had the same problem -- especially at the canter. He did not like to canter with contact. He also did not like close distances. We suspected neck, so we had a full body bone scan done because necks are difficult to diagnose by xray. His neck looked fine, but he had two mild kissing spine areas, one near withers and one just behind saddle area. Injected those and got him going really nicely.

    Can't give a long range opinion because he got a martingale strap stuck behind his poll and tweaked something. Threw him back out to pasture, but am going to re-inject and put him back to work this fall.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.



  8. #8
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    May. 20, 2003
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    Middleburg, VA
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    I have a horse that has symptoms very, very similar to what you describe.

    We had teeth done. We did chiro. We did massage. We did osteopathy. All caused some slight changes, but didn't solve the issue, and the problems were getting worse.

    Finally, things got bad enought that we had a vet finally figure it out -- EPM.

    Two weeks into the treatment, and we have a different horse, that is starting to return to the really nice horse we knew a couple of years ago.

    Just a thought...
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles



  9. #9
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    Sep. 4, 2012
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    Del Mar, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peggy View Post
    A full-body nuclear scintigraphy will set you back about $1800. While expensive, it may prove cheaper in the long run than poking and prodding here and there. Based on your user name, you are in an area near by several facilities that can do this. I used Dr. Martinelli.
    Will look into this, he has seen her before so it may help! Thanks


    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Great indepth post
    My first query though, is what is her lifestyle like - ie stalled, in/out, turn out, pasture time etc; if this was my horse, I'd have taken her out of work while trying to figure this out IF she's in a situation where she can be out on pasture & moving (ie grazing) through the day.
    If you live in an area where this is just not possible, it becomes rather more difficult to decide what's most suitable.

    I rather assumed that you've been doing Xrays, some blocking?
    Did you have only one bodyworker out or at least a couple of different people?

    What diagnosis led to this treatment? has she been on this just recently or long term?


    Is it really though, or is she just pretty stoic & finally lets you know when it's beyond what she can manage?

    Have you examined saddle fit? tried different saddles to see if there is any effect?
    We have two vets who are in the same practice, and are now FINALLY asking for a third opinion. She has been on Adequan and Legend since the day her previous owner bought her, nothing was changed as suggested by the vet. The thing that upsets me is the vet never did any blocking or suggested x-rays, big reason why we're getting a third opinion. He's a great vet but hasn't really helped much in this situation. She has two saddles that were fit for her, both do fit very nicely. Not static at all, her ears are forward and she is just fine on the loose rein, no hesitation or sign of discomfort at all when on a hack length rein.

    Quote Originally Posted by SidesaddleRider View Post
    I have a horse that has symptoms very, very similar to what you describe.

    We had teeth done. We did chiro. We did massage. We did osteopathy. All caused some slight changes, but didn't solve the issue, and the problems were getting worse.

    Finally, things got bad enought that we had a vet finally figure it out -- EPM.

    Two weeks into the treatment, and we have a different horse, that is starting to return to the really nice horse we knew a couple of years ago.

    Just a thought...

    Thats funny (not funny) because about a year back I asked this vet that we still have if she could possibly have EPM, her hind end has ALWAYS been under toned, hind legs shake when trying to get up from rolling. No other symptoms though ... Vet ruled out EPM "in his opinion" so we moved on.

    Quote Originally Posted by EAY View Post
    ...neck too.
    I suspected neck, withers and possibly even the hip too. The short step looks like it's coming from up high rather than low. She is very willing to collect at the walk, its the trot that sets her back. During the walk she engages and collects very nicely, she starts to take that short step in the hind but does not show any discomfort near as bad as when asked to trot or canter.

    Will explore all of the above mentioned though.


    Quote Originally Posted by big_red_ottb View Post
    I may be missing this somewhere, but have you had X-rays done? If after all of this, nothing has helped, I would probably have extensive X-rays of quite a few areas done. Definitely back, feet, pasterns, probably hocks, knees, withers too. Really as much as possible.

    I would wager a guess that it's a back issue, if collection is the problem and she's stepping out nicely on a loose rein. It wouldn't necessarily make sense for it to be her hocks if she's using her hind end adequately when she's not being asked to lift up and through.

    Good luck! I agree with jetsmom that it sounds like she may just be reaching that point where everything is taking its toll.
    The back was my first thought, was hoping the SI injection would have done more. It helped her so much, to the point that I had my old horse back for about two weeks .. then a sudden decline again.


    Quote Originally Posted by jetsmom View Post
    Hocks fusing???
    Not sure if injections would eliminate that pain completely.

    Have you ever had feet/pasterns x rayed? Navicular?Ringbone?

    She sounds like she has had a lot of use, and may be at the point where things are showing up. Has she ever had 3 months off, with maybe a couple of light hacks/trailrides a week? Or has she pretty much been showing/training/worked?
    Our current vet suggested that to me that "she may just be at that point where things are showing" but I can't accept that answer ... She's 11, sure has done quite a bit but was never the "full circuit" "three shows a month" type of horse. These signs she's displaying now, while things here and there have been downhill for about a year, the collection issue, the drastic sign of not wanting to bend (mostly to the right) and the short step in the hind were VERY sudden, maybe over a period of a week. I could be so very wrong but I feel like it can't be wear and tear signs, I just feel it's too sudden, maybe just my hopes though. Nothing is "hot" no swelling on any area, nothing to indicate an injury. However I know that injuries do not always show.


    I had posted a video here a bit ago but have lost so many passwords and have had my user names used by others at the barn that I just recently made this one. I will look to see if I can find it, that will probably help.
    Last edited by delmarjump; Sep. 24, 2012 at 04:56 PM.



  10. #10
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    Sep. 4, 2012
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    Del Mar, CA
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    I should add, I don't want to speak poorly or through any negative feedback toward our current vet. He has been great for nearly 10 years now to my horses, this one just seems to be the unsolvable problem.

    It's probably awful too that I feel so much for the lessee's financial situation to the point that I've held back and still feel even guilty requiring these procedures, however it is in the lease contract and it is unfair to the horse who I love to pieces.



  11. #11
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    Oct. 10, 2007
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    down south
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    I was going to suggestion epm also. It will change their temperament, way of going, and overall willingness. My other thought is how is the girl riding her? Is she mainly riding on a looser rein? Does the kid ask her to come up and engage or only when you ride? How often do you ride? Asking this because if she has been out of the work of coming through and engaging and lifting or if it's inconstant work she may not ne strong enough to do it for you. Except for a few steps or she may not want to if she has had it easy for awhile and has gotten to plop around on the forehand.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  12. #12
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    May. 20, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by delmarjump View Post
    Thats funny (not funny) because about a year back I asked this vet that we still have if she could possibly have EPM, her hind end has ALWAYS been under toned, hind legs shake when trying to get up from rolling. No other symptoms though ... Vet ruled out EPM "in his opinion" so we moved on.
    I would seriously look into EPM then. Honestly, from your description of your horse, yours and mine could be twins. We first went through all the saddle fitting checking, to dentistry, to training recriminations ("What am I doing wrong?" even though we know darn well that we have been very successful at training/working horses) to blaming the horse for not working ("It's laziness!"), to all the injections, chiro, etc.

    Now that we know what the real issue was, and see what a really remarkable result has occurred in just 2 weeks on the medicines, we are simply sick at ourselves that we let it progress to what it did: a horse unable to collect, stiff in the mouth/pole, starting to show some muscle atrophy in the hind, slight weight loss, and overall unhappy unless not being worked or just hacked. We keep telling ourselves that we had 3 different vets look at her in the course of the treatments, and not a one of them picked up on it, but it isn't helping. Luckily, the vet does not think it will cause any residual effects, but I would have preferred the horse have not be in discomfort and just soldiering on much as possible until it just simply wasn't doable any longer.
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles



  13. #13
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    I would be looking at stifles and neck.



  14. #14
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    Have your Vet block out the suspensory and see how she goes.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JET11 View Post
    Have your Vet block out the suspensory and see how she goes.
    Really crossing my fingers it's not a suspensory issue, she has an old suspensory injury up front which healed nicely. My only hope and assumption that it wouldn't be a torn suspensory is because she is completely sound o/f and on the flat UNTIL asked to collect and engage. Wouldn't a suspensory tear show quite a bit with any sort of activity and reign length? Given the fact that this has progressed with more work, the injections seemed to make the symptoms disappear for a bit, would that mask a suspensory that much? There is no heat or thickening, the symptoms don't come and go they're pretty consistent other than the injections helping for a bit. Also an entire year of being ridden on a suspensory I feel like it would be so unbearable for her at this point. Not in any disagreance with you at all, just some ideas, and my serious hope that it is not this issue :-/

    Quote Originally Posted by FineAlready View Post
    I would be looking at stifles and neck.
    Stifles and neck (back excluded after injection) were my last guesses.

    Quote Originally Posted by rabicon View Post
    I was going to suggestion epm also. It will change their temperament, way of going, and overall willingness. My other thought is how is the girl riding her? Is she mainly riding on a looser rein? Does the kid ask her to come up and engage or only when you ride? How often do you ride? Asking this because if she has been out of the work of coming through and engaging and lifting or if it's inconstant work she may not ne strong enough to do it for you. Except for a few steps or she may not want to if she has had it easy for awhile and has gotten to plop around on the forehand.
    Both the rider and I typically ask her to lift and engage.





    Another member suggested a Selenium deficiency which in all honesty was something I NEVER considered but am giving a ton of thought to now. She used to be on a regular selenium supplement, this was two owners ago. She was on the supplement because "all the horses" that this owner had we're on it. Hmm...



  16. #16
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    This is tough. It's always hard to try and find that mystery ailment. I hope the new vet can pick up on something!



  17. #17
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    If the hocks have been ruled out (radiographs and injections)- which it sounds like it has. I was thinking it sounds like my suspensory ankle horse. There is no tearing, but the branches are slowly stretching and thickening. Not much lameness, but ask her to sit and collect, she gets a little cranky.

    I ice and wrap her hind legs every day to help slow down the process. Pasture turnout/lay up will help in short term, but start pushing her and the problems return. Sadly we just work with what we have.



  18. #18
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    Apr. 24, 2002
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    Good luck with this. My horse had similar issues about 1 1/2 years ago but much worse. Did blocking, injections, chiro, saddle fit check, massage, etc. Vet wanted to do stifle surgery but blocking stifle did not solve the behavior so I decided to turn out. I could lunge with no problem but could not ride. After 6 months of turn out daily for about 2 hours (would not go to pasture as ran himself white lathered in about 15 minutes) in an arena and lunging 4 times a week, I decided to try getting back on. Got on at the walk for about a week and then VERY gradually added trot and finally canter. Now about a year later I have my riding horse back - we no longer jump but I can hack and enjoy my horse.

    Good luck to you. Sometime tincture of time works best!



  19. #19
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    re Selenium, Vit E deficiency (both have neuro effects) - ask vet for bloodwork (can draw extra & run more tests later IF correct tubes are used, re clotting/non clotting etc)

    Thats funny (not funny) because about a year back I asked this vet that we still have if she could possibly have EPM, her hind end has ALWAYS been under toned, hind legs shake when trying to get up from rolling. No other symptoms though ... Vet ruled out EPM "in his opinion" so we moved on.
    through bloodwork? (though false +/- 's do occur so retesting is not unusual).



  20. #20
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    Sep. 4, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    re Selenium, Vit E deficiency (both have neuro effects) - ask vet for bloodwork (can draw extra & run more tests later IF correct tubes are used, re clotting/non clotting etc)


    through bloodwork? (though false +/- 's do occur so retesting is not unusual).
    The somewhat annoying thing, for lack of better words, and a reason why we're stepping out of the box with our current vet is because no tests are ever done on the mare. It seems to always be a "no, that can't be the problem, I'd suggest this" and then we go right to injecting this and that and poking and prodding at this and that. I'm just not a fan of all the injections and poking and prodding. Where as blood work, simple flexions, x-rays etc .. can be so much more revealing than trying this and that. I am going to ask that the vet that is looking at her will run some tests. Now I wont stop stressing and guessing until the appointment comes! Really just crossing my fingers it's not a suspensory. EPM would be pretty devastating as well but i've heard so many positive things about treatment and even treatment only being needed for a brief period of time.



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