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Sickle hock and loin pain, are they related?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by angel View Post
    While I do see what many of you are calling "sickle hock," I would say this mare is actually more "camped out" behind. The hock joint is fairly straight in its articulation.
    At first I was going to disagree with you, but there are indeed some pictures where she looks camped out.
    If you line the point of the hock up directly under the point of the butt, which is the case in the 3rd picture on the top row, you see that the lower leg is angled under the horse. That is sickle-hocked.

    But in the 4th and 5th pictures, she looks perfectly camped out - not a lot, but some. The cannon bone is vertical, but the point of the hock is behind her. So, I think until we see a true comformation picture (all of these appear to be at some small angle, which is more likely making her look s-hocked in the 3rd picture when 4&5 are a better representation) it's a bit of a guess. I'm leaning towards camped out though. Not bad, just a little. Even if she's s-hocked, that isn't bad either.

    As a rule, sickle-hocking will result in more extravagant movement in the front legs, and there will be greater engagement of the hock joint.
    I think I'll disagree here Lots of WP horses are sickle-hocked, as they feel it aids in the hind leg having more reach (engagement) but those horses are flat flat flat up front

    The little lunging you are doing should not be a problem.
    Agree, 5-10 minutes a side, assuming it's mostly walk with some trot, no cantering, is not a lot at all. How short/long are your side reins? What are your goals in the lunging? *What* you're doing in those minutes may be a problem, but probably not the length of time.

    If the mare is sensitive in the loin area, I would either suspect the saddle or the way you are sitting it.
    If the saddle is making the loin sore, then it's either much too big of a saddle, or sitting much too far back. The loin should be well out of range of the back of the saddle. So sitting in the saddle, however badly, shouldn't cause soreness there.

    A saddle whose tree is too narrow for the horse on which it is being used is one of the biggest offenders for creating loin area pressure points.
    Agree. A poorly fitting saddle can cause all SORTS of compensation issues, including in the hocks and SI area, and both of those can cause soreness in front of the SI. Even wither soreness can cause soreness in the SI/loin area.
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • #22
      Originally posted by expression View Post
      Ahh, I hate trail riding I live in Western Wa. I have also noticed that she stands funny in the cross ties, I kinda chalked it up to her being three. But, her hocks do come in at an angle when she is resting.
      Hocks that point towards each other is called cow-hocked. It may be her natural conformation - very common in many draft breeds - or it may be related to some body issues or even hoof balance issues.

      This probably isn't related but she likes to cross canter on the lunge she picks up the right leads when I'm riding but I haven't been cantering her under saddle for more than one round around the arena.
      Most likely the cc issue on the lunge is balance. I would stop all canter work on the lunge. She's not fit enough.

      The saddle hasn't been fitted to her specifically yet but the tree is not too narrow.
      Don't take this the wrong way, but how do you know? Would you be willing to post some pictures? No pad, saddle where you normally put it, 1 picture from the side and one from a 3/4 front view. Make sure to show the whole saddle, and the barrel and shoulder of the horse, minimally. Full body of the side shot would help too, to see where it is in relation to her girth. And, one picture directly from the back, to show how the panels lay on her back and to see the gullet clearance of the spine, laterally and vertically.

      There is more to fitting a saddle than the tree width While it might be the case that it's not too narrow, it could still be, say, too curvy, and therefore be rocking on her back.

      I am worried about her back being sore and it being related to her hocks, is there anything I can look for that may determine if it is or is not related?
      what happens of you put a thumb and fingers on either side of her spine, starting at the withers, and pinch all the way down? A healthy back will not flinch unless you're REALLY digging in.

      I would like also to know besides trail riding; excersizes that may help this problem. She has a fabulous temperament and I would like to keep her but I can't afford to board a lame horse.
      First you need a vet exam to determine where things hurt, exactly. Then hopefully that vet won't just stop there but will try to figure out what the original cause is. In other words, if the hocks are sore, it is not fair to assume they are the primary problem.

      Then I would find a good chiropractor. She may be out in her pelvis or SI area - that can cause all sorts of soreness issues.

      Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
      Personally I wouldn't ride a 3 year old consistently, muchless start a horse in their 2 year old spring, but honestly chances are very light controlled exercise probably isnt the problem.
      Agreed. Light, controlled, mostly straight line work, with some work on bigger circles at the walk, are likely going to help, not hurt. But it shouldn't be work that allows her to hollow her back and trail her hocks - she needs to be *working* and learning to use herself properly. Improper work is bad enough on a mature horse, but it can be the end of a young horse, even if you don't know it until many years later

      With her conformation, which looks to me to have three major issues- sickle hocks, downhill build, and possibly behind at the knee/calf kneed-
      I gotta be honest with all of you - I am not seeing a downhill horse, much less a majorly downhill build as some of you are seeing. I see a pretty balanced horse. Are we looking at the same pictures? Here again, a good conformation picture would help. The sickle-hock issue is debatable, but again, I think she is a bit camped out, not s-hocked, and either way, it's not bad at all. I do agree she's slightly calf-kneed, but certainly nothing that makes me go "eww".

      there is no telling whether she will stay sound into the future, or if her current workload is too much for her.
      True even if she were perfectly conformed

      [quote[ A vet though, may be able to give you some insight into whether there is any damage there currently, whether her saddle is the problem, or what her potential might be.[/quote]
      I wouldn't necessarily look to the vet for saddle fit. Often they know less about that than they do about nutrition, which is very little
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


      • #23
        I'm going to be the bad guy to go ahead and say it. There are times in my life that I wish someone would have said it to me. You should pass on this mare. She may not hold up for the training that you are obviously interested in- and she will be hard to sell under any circumstance as evidenced by comments on this forum. Ever fall in love and regret it later?

        The conformation shots are not perfect- but she looks level to me standing. Really her greatest flaw is being sickle hocked and her general confo of the hind end. Also, short and upright in the pasterns. Not really built to be terribly comfortable or to last.

        I think people are perceiving her to be downhill from the video- when in all actuality- she is extremely heavy on the fore hand and inside shoulder. Physically, it will be hard for her to rock her weight backward if she has hock/loin issues. Training-wise, she needs to essentially be re-started. She is a recipe for heavy on the forehand or run out from under you.

        In regard to some above comments: WP does not desire or breed for sickle hock. They would fall apart because they are required to put so much weight on their hocks while traveling so slowly.

        Also, please keep in mind that QH are a very fast maturing breed- and are considered physically mature late 3yo year. It sounds like this mare may be 3/4 QH. Regardless, a horse does not grow out of being sickle hocked or having short pasterns- if you had a photo of this mare as a filly...she'd exhibit the same issues.

        If she's developed new onset soreness over the loin as you've progressed with your work- it's not a mare issue. She is sore from some combination of the workout/equipment.

        If she's mare-ish...do you even want to go there?

        It is a buyers market right now- you can find any number of crosses- or registered horses very reasonably right now. You should be excited about this. The point is, you are one of the very lucky ones who got to try before buy- and you should be happy that you don't have to learn how to deal with/accomodate all of these issues because you are not locked into this purchase.


        • Original Poster

          Thank you, everyone who commented, it was very helpful.

          I had my farrier out this morning, and sadly, he concluded her hind end is indeed a mess I am disappointed, but at the same time relieved.

          The mare is going back, and I am still looking. It is a buyers market right now, so hopefully I can find something that will take less maintenance to keep sound. Thanks again to everybody for your input.


          • #25
            I'm so sorry you had to do that, it must be disappointing. But if you plan an active sport career for your horse, it's far better to get a horse that will be comfortable doing what you want. You stand a better chance of success.

            And...yes, the horse is downhill. It's not a matter of leaning on one shoulder or being 'on the forehand' (while being ridden), it's just the way this horse is built. The hind legs are quite a bit longer than the front and 'everything goes down' from there - deep low chest, long coupling, low set neck. Not only is she 'downhill' if you look at her topline, she's made 'functionally downhill' (MORE downhill) because of her coupling, low chest and low set neck.

            I think quite a few people are so used to looking at downhill horses that they can't even see it any more.

            Too, it's a matter of degree. I could care less if a child's pet pony for lead line classes is built downhill or sickle hocked. I would be a lot more concerned if it was a horse I hoped to move up the dressage levels. The more one wants an active career for their horse, and the more important it is to the person that THAT horse specifically get somewhere, the more one scrutinizes the horse.

            My friend got a foal that wound up having an incredibly twisted foreleg that could not be corrected. He was fine for hacks around the farm with her husband. She did NOT try to teach horse to do dressage or to jump.

            Too, there's another issue, and that is how many faults a horse has and how they work together. A lot of people - too many - judge conformation as if it's a bunch of separate things - one has to think really hard about how the faults operate together.

            In horse conformation judging we were taught to look for 'types', meaning constellations of faults that often go together, and to consider the effect of the overall type and how it would affect training and performance...

            And to consider very, very hard, what we are really going to do with the horse. Maybe we're being too fussy about conformation if the horse is really only ever going to get light use and we're not so desirous of moving up the dressage levels or jumping a lot.

            That horse had several faults that all together, add up to a major issue for demanding career for an active sport horse.

            I think someone is going to have a lot of fun with that horse, she should make some family very happy.


            • #26
              KWPN scores hocks.

              There is a thread going now on access to the linear score sheets on KWPN stallions.

              Look at Jazz.. Contender... Contango... Citango. Needless to say these are TOP stallions.

              It would be interesting to see Ravel's score on his hocks.