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Please tell me about your experiences with event horses having low ringbone.

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  • Please tell me about your experiences with event horses having low ringbone.

    My horse has been a little off (head bobs) going to the left on the proper diagonal on uneven footing. I took him to the vet and in the x-ray of his left front it showed some low ringbone. This is in addition to a small bit of pedal osteitis. We were just moving up to training level.

    He now is in special plastic shoes, we don't know the source of the discomfort, and he will be on pasture rest for 2 months before we re-evaluate. The vet told that I could inject his coffin bone and keep jumping him, but that it was a progressive degenerative disease and that jumping (esp. xc) will only shorten his useful life.

    A little information on my horse ... he is 16.3, 1/2 tb 1/4 qh 1/4 clyde, 9 y.o., and a little bit upright in the pasterns.

  • #2
    Ringbone can be tough to manage. I have a 16 year old 16.2h TBXPerch gelding who was diagnosed with very mild high and low ringbone as a 12 year old. He hunted with his first owner from age 5-8. He evented at the lower levels with me from 8-12. Blocks indicated that the low ringbone was bothering him. I gave up jumping him when the ringbone was diagnosed after several unsuccessful attempts over the span of 6 months to keep him sound with injections, shock wave, rest, etc. Once we stopped jumping, the soundness returned after 3 months of time off. For the last 3+ years he has stayed sound enough to be my light dressage and trail horse - enough to keep him moving around, fit, and happy in work. We both enjoy the new direction we have taken. I have had him injected successfully when he presented as a grade 2 during this 3+ year time span (once in the coffins after a very dry summer when the ground was very hard, and once after this past winter in the coffins and pasterns following frozen ground conditions). If he has "off days" that are less than grade 2, I give him some bute (with my vet's guidance) and time off. That usually takes care of it. I am very careful about riding only on good footing (outside and in a ring), I manage his weight carefully (I keep him on the light side), he gets lots of turnout with 2 quiet horses (not a lot of running around), and I have a fabulous farrier who keeps his feet balanced and gives him a good break over at the toe. He is a "forever" horse for me so I want to do what I can to preserve his soundness for the long haul. My vets think that not jumping plays a big factor in maintaining his soundness for light work. I take new radiographs yearly and his ringbone is now considered "moderate". Hope that helps. Good luck!


    • #3
      A good farrier and a good vet... and those 2 working together... is the best way to deal with ringbone. I never had to deal with low ringbone. Char's was high and DXd 5 years apart in both front legs (left in 94, right in 99). Between fantastic shoeing (including bars and pads as needed) and Legend injections, she did amazingly well for many years (moved up to Prelim in 2000). That said, eventually the ringbone did take its toll... spread from the pastern to basically the whole foot in her left leg (vet that did the initial diagnosis looked at the xray and his first reaction was "wow, i'm so sorry"). Good luck!
      "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

      "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


      • Original Poster

        I did have an ottb that had high ringbone as a 7 year old and we did the pastern fusion. It was a long recovery, but he was sound afterwards.

        I only have the ability right now to have one horse (no longer have my own horse property). Unless there is an ability to manage the low ringbone without compromising my horse's future, I may have to decide between sticking with him or sticking with eventing. I'm just hoping it doesn't come down to that.

        The vet that made the diagnosis and the recommendation to not jump was a large animal generalist and not a specialist. I am going to have a lameness specialist look at the x-ray later this week and give me a second opinion.

        I was just really curious if there were people out there managing low ringbone in mid-level or higher eventers without negative consequences.


        • #5
          Known several with manageable high ringbone in various disciplines. They were useable but it eventually caught up with them and they had to step down to a reduced workload.

          The low ringbone does not usually have a hopeful prognosis and is considered a deal breaker on a PPE. The low bothers them alot more and there is only so much shoeing and vet care can alleviate with this progressive degeneration. Sorry.

          He may be useful in a limited fashion for you. Vet and farrier can advise you best. Good luck.

          Oh, if it is low ringbone? I would not think jumping would be in his best interests.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #6
            Low ring bone is going to be a problem managing without putting in $$$ and even then it might not work. It depends on how much money you want to put into it.

            Personally, if I were faced with this disappointing diagnosis, I would be kind to the horse and find him a job that he can do. If that's not your cup of tea, then you'll need to find another partner.

            FWIW, I sold a consignment horse last year that was diagnosed with low ringbone on his PPE. He ended up being given to his prospective buyers because they could offer him the kind of life he needed, but he was worth absolutely nothing in the marketplace.

            I wish there were happier words for the OP. Horses just break your heart.
            Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


            • #7
              Go read Dr. Soule's declaration that is linked on the thread on the Dressage Board about the Romney's Super Hit having 4 tranquilzers in his system at his PPE. I believe the link to the Declaration is on about page 4.
              "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
              Thread killer Extraordinaire


              • #8
                My mare has lower ring bone, though mild. She and I trained for eventing and most times she was fine, but the jumping was taking a toll. After an unrelated fall, my vet, trainer, and I decided it was time for her to retire for the ring bone would only get worse faster if I kept trying to push her. Since then she has enjoyed a semi-retirement of light dressage, trail, and the occasional Hunter Pace with no jumping. I use an herbal supplement for joints, but mainly just keep her active and engaged. She is mine till the day she dies so there is no question about doing what I can to keep her comfortable. To keep going in eventing I eventually bought another horse and bought a farm to keep them all. Worst best decision of my life for the work list only grows and the time to ride shrinks. Still I love my mare and each day I get to spend with her is a blessing for me.


                • Original Poster

                  So, from experiences posted so far its not sounding too good as far as a jumping future

                  Thursday of next week his xrays will be reviewed by a lameness vet in the Seattle area. That may give me a bit more information. For now, he's on pasture rest with his magic shoes.