Update: Post 31 Bunny-Hop Cross-Canter and Falling?
Any ideas what could cause a fairly rapid onset of the above mentioned symptoms?
I was working with Gringo this morning (on the lunge) and he was lovely and sound at the walk & trot, both directions. I asked for the canter and immediately he was cross-cantering. Got the trot back and asked again, and again cross-cantering. I don't think I ever got the left lead canter, to tell you the truth.
Going to the right, same issues but add a horrendous bunny-hop canter to the mix, along with major tripping on the left hind - to the point of nearly falling.
Does anyone have ANY idea what could be causing this? I've got an email in to my vet - I'm moving Gringo back to my old boarding barn next Friday (this was prearranged a couple months ago) so I'll have access to better amenities at that point.
This is just really unusual for him. He's always been a very balanced boy and very sure of his hooves. Today, he was just not himself. Even his personality was lacking a bit.
The only change in the last three years is one of two things.
1. He was vaccinated two weeks ago - EE/WE/Tet, Rabies, Rhino/Flu and Strangles
2. Diet change from alfalfa pellets to Triple Crown Senior (he's barely getting 1c of TC Senior - it's just to get his supps into him).
I appreciate any and all advice. Thanks!
Last edited by appychik; Oct. 28, 2012 at 06:31 PM.
How old is he? Mine went through a phase of not holding his right lead behind for about nine months when he was seven. Injected everything, pulled his back shoes, gave him a light winter, fine next spring. I always wondered if it was hocks fusing.
He did not fall though, yours sounds more dramatic. Mine was actually quite balanced cross cantering.
Gringo is a late 9yr old (turns 10 in February). He's out of shape but still no reason why he wouldn't otherwise be able to hold the canter - or pick up the correct lead, especially when it's never been a problem in the past.
The rapid onset of this and the description makes me really, really suspicious of neurological problems. The bunny-hop behind is characteristic of neurologic disease, and if you add in the lethargy, feeling like he's "unsure of his feet," and almost falling? I'd be getting this horse to a specialist immediately for neuro evaluation.
I would guess he has a stifle trying to lock on him, which will make his canter look and feel awful. Lots of trotwork, up hills if you have them or over cavaletti if you don't, should help strengthen his stifle.
EPM? West Nile? Neurological damage from an accident? If he was normal and 100% the day before, I'd be VERY concerned! Sticky stifles don't go from normal to falling down overnight! Emergency call concerned.
My mare does exactly as you describe - bunnyhopping into it (or once she picks up the canter, she uses the bunny hop to change to the wrong lead in the back ). She has hock arthritis, confirmed by flex tests and rads. When we did hock injections, it stopped for the most part. Once those wore off, back to cross cantering. It's a bear to sit to while riding...feels like your hips are crooked and its impossible to sit straight.
"If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."
Thanks everyone. While a lot of people are screaming "stifles" - trust me when I say, I know stifles. Just spend a few minutes looking up my past drama issues with Gus. Seriously, I know stifles better then I wish I ever did.
Yes, he's out of shape but there is no reason why an otherwise sound horse can't canter on the lunge. He's pasture boarded 24/7 - and his pasture mate and him are always out running around.
Entirely possible that he slipped and fell, straining his stifle, but when Gus has flare-ups, it's evident at the walk and trot - Gringo only looks off at the canter. He's even tracking up nicely at the walk and trot. Again, only doing the bunny-hop.I.can't.move.my.hind.end. at the canter.
I'm still waiting to hear from my vet ... but if he still looks crappy by Thursday, when I can get out next, he's definitely going to be seen.
This is just so frustrating as I was planning on getting him back into work again and hopefully get him going undersaddle - least that's was my intentions for this winter. Long story as to why I have an almost 10 year old that is still "not broke".
Anyways, thanks everyone for the ideas re:disease/neurological problems. Unfortunately, that was the direction my brain was taking ... I'm just hoping it was a fluke and he was just messing with me. Though I know that is very much unlikely the case.
How sudden was the onset? Has he been successfully cantering on the lunge for a while and then bam this one day he was bad or has he been weird for a while? If for a while, I'd be looking for EPSM too. You can do some neuro tests in hand yourself...here are 3 easy solo ones-back him up a small hill, pull his tail to the side and see if he pulls against you or tumbles toward the pull, turn him in a TEENY circle and see if his feet cross neatly over or get tangled. Those will at least tell you if you should freak out or not on the neuro front. Good luck. Keep us posted......
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.
Honestly, I haven't lunged him (at the canter) on the lunge in a long time. He can be a bit loony and with not having proper lunging areas [read: fenced in area other the his pasture], I'd rather not risk him taking off on me - which he has done before.
That being said, a month ago or so I saw him and his pasture mate running around in their turnout. He had a nice, lovely 3-beat canter when he was ripping around out there. My MIL sees him daily - she's his primary caretaker, until Friday. She's never noticed anything and she's very particular (and crazy anal to boot). He doesn't seem himself and she & I both noted that, so who knows why?
So, yes, this could have happened a month ago and I just noticed it because I don't always ask for a canter when working with him - but regardless, it's not normal.
I think I'll try the neuro tests on him Thursday and see what we've got. Appointment schedule for a week from Thursday with my regular vet.
One of mine did this when he had an abscess brewing that took FOREVER to pop...he was never positive to hoof testers, I spent tons of money on vets etc to no avail...finally popped a ginormous abscess after like 2 months..Never had an swelling etc..but he bunnyhopped at the canter, and was worse to the left.
Well I know that you say that you know stifles because of your past horse but when my otherwise sound and healthy mare is out of shape she does that exact thing on the lungeline at the canter despite being 100% W/T and being sound cantering around the field.
Cantering in a field is not the same as balancing on a 20 meter circle nor does sound and balanced W/T mean stifles cannot be the cause. While I think you should look into any and every possibility that you think is worthy, please don't discount stifles just because it doesn't match the normal symptoms you experienced with your past horse.