Okay my mare was doing wonderful about 4 months ago in training. She was light in the bridle, soft, and balanced. She was trotting in and cantering out lines, and we had started letting her canter on to another fence. Then she got hurt, and the vets thought she got kicked, or fell because she had a torn muscle and a huge hematoma on her stifle. We did 4 weeks stall rest and cold hosing. Then hand walking for a week, and lightly back under saddle. I sent her to a friend of mine to be started back, and he called me saying she was really bratty and overly sensitive to ride. I went up and thought she looked really uncomfortable, and noticed she had lost a lot of muscle on top of her hips. So we find a chiropractor and it takes a week for him to come and see her and his findings were that she had significant reactions to challenge of sacrum, and significant reaction to palpation over SI joint. His recommendation was SI joint injection. So we did that. Put her back into work after 2 or 3 days off, and everything seemed to be going better. She was weirdly heavier on her forehand, but she seemed happier. We are now at three or four weeks since the injections, and my horse is still not the same. She is better sometimes than others, but she is still not the same easy baby. She is sometimes almost back to normal, but then she has days were she is heavy and dragging me. She wants to run through the bridle, acts like she is irritated, and can not settle. I have owned this baby since she was born, and she has always been super easy. I guess I am not ready to believe that she has decided she wants to go from easy breezy to hateful. I am hoping somebody my have dealt with a similar situation, and have some insight. Also she has lost some weight since the last time I saw her, and is eating 2 scoops am and 1 1/2 scoop plus 1 scoop of beet pulp. When she was working before she was on 1 1/2 scoop twice a day and was fit and shiny. Some friends I have asked have said ulcers or hocks. Any other ideas or insight on the same ones???? PLEASE HELP!!!
I'm usually one to not cut the horse all kinds of very, very expensive slack and call everything a response to some exotic source of pain.
But your horse sounds like pain is the problem.
1. You have known her forever and she has been light and willing.
2. Yes, she turned 4 and many horses start reading political literature around then and mounting revolutions. But! Those "Down with The Rider!" statements are usually bigger, more explosive thinks like twisty bucks, not a horse who decides to get heavy and just stonewall you. That's not how Young Turk 4-year-old horses roll.
3. Because she got pretty broke as a young horse, she also probably got a work ethic installed. So you can take her abnormal new way of going seriously as something being wrong in her body, not her mind.
What to do next depends on your style and wallet. If you have a great lameness vet that you like, have him/her work up the horse. If you want to be completely DYI, give her a bute test and see what you have during that. If you are somewhere in the middle, sure-- take care of "the usual suspects"-- hocks and ulcers.
If I liked the horse and had a great lameness guru, I'd start there. And I'm cheap. But I consider high-up hind end injuries something needing expertise and thorough investigation.
I have a horse that is 14 now but I got him when he was a week old. I raised him. Some time ago he had an injury and we did a bone scan and found his sacro was injured. He got cast in his stall. I had it in injected and a very similar story as yours. He gets very lame behind and it's his hocks and sacro.
All I can say is I am soooo sorry you are going through this. I pray everyday my goofy horses do not hurt themselves.
The quality of a persons kindness is said to be reflected in the love they show for animals and other creatures!
The change in her routine while she was on the mend followed by the change in personality and loss of weight screams ulcers to me. My gelding was fat and shiny, but had been super reactive latey (very unlike him). The vet didn't think ulcers were likely given how good he looked. I insisted on scoping him and guess what, he did indeed have ulcers.
She seems painful. In addition, I hate to ask, is she still with your friend? How well do you know the set up? Are you sure she's getting what she needs? I've seen the best intentioned "friends" royally screw up people's horses.
I'm thinking "pain" or ulcers. I'd get the vet reinvolved, not just a chiro.
I would look back to the original injury. I would suspect that it is not resolved.
6 weeks is not a long time for anything that involves a significant hematoma. Was an ultrasound done at the time? Radiographs?
Time to get the vet involved. I suspect your chiro may also be a vet or he has no business injecting anything.
Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.
Okay when my mare had the swelling on her stifle we called vet out, and he took x rays. Couldn't see anything and suggested the vet school. The vet school did ultrasound, and they said hematoma and recommended she be stalled up for 4 weeks, and then so on. When I saw she was uncomfortable looking undersaddle that's when I called chiropractor, and then we took her back to vet to do SI injections.
I'm thinking ulcers also. Has she been on a lot of bute? Sometimes the change if routine can start it. It's actually cheaper to treat ulcers than to scope for them. Try her on some Ulcergard or Gastrogard & see if there's a change. Otherwise it's probably related to the injury. Where are you located? Is there a good lameness bet near you?
Besides the above thoughts, she could have an injury higher up. She certainly is acting like she is protecting something from pain. You describe exactly the behavior displayed when they don't want to use their rear end because it hurts.
She need to stop any and all work. You can just stall rest her then increase turn out time until she is mostly out and wait. Or, you can find out what's actually wrong using a vet. Start from the bottom up with blocks and maybe you will get lucky before you get up into the hip.
I don't like injecting without an actual diagnosis for the simple reason you don't know what's wrong and are guessing. You can throw a lot of money at what's not wrong, more then you would spend on actually looking inside to see what is wrong.
And I like chiropractic but my horse chiro sends me to call the vet before even suggesting injections or other medical treatment just like my own chiro will send me to a doctor if he's not sure. It's not a replacement for proper vet/medical treatment and diagnostics.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
At 4, it is possible that she has just decided she preferred her extended time off to working and just needs a reminder about what her proper responses to your aids ought to be. The weight loss could be caused by a growth spurt and if that is a case, sometimes if they are growing, their attitude can seemingly change as they figure out how to use their body and go through the adolescent growing pains. Over the 2.5 years I've had my 3/now5 yo his attitude has changed about 10 differnt times and I've had to up and/or change to higher protein/fat feed a few times when he suddenly goes from a perfect weight to a little under.
All that said, when he starts to get really heavy or nasty (as opposed to inattentive and occassioanlly sulky, it normally has been a pain thing and I have found that I'm needing to keep him on an every other month massage schedule (along with myself - LOL!) to keep muscular isses from developing while he is growing and in training.
If you can afford it, I'd follow the advice above and treat for ulcers (cheap) if you are concerned about that and then possibly get an equine trigger point myotherapist (massuse) out so see if she has any muscle soreness (Not cheap, but less than a vet/chiro visit), which wouldn't be surprising given that she is going from stall and pasture rest back into work. If they find something that they cannot resolve, it might also help pinpoint where a bigger issue might be lurking and give your vet a more targeted place to start. Hopefully this will help you get moving back on the right track.