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Hind Hoof Twisting

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  • Hind Hoof Twisting

    Noticed that my 8yr old pleasure horse is twisting his right hind hoof when walking. Mentioned it to the trimmer yesterday and was told sometimes indicates hock issues. Horse looks sound and has no apparent other issues. Has anyone else experienced this and detected the cause ? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Hock issues; usually from sore stifles. Can be caused by a whole bunch of things.. back pain, weakness, stifles, bad or improper trim..


    • #3
      It’s called “wringing hocks”. You’d say it like, “he’s wringing his hocks.” For whatever that’s worth.

      I’ve seen that as a symptom of stifle issues more than hocks themselves, but of course an issue in one can cause or be caused by an issue in the other.

      In the past I would have chalked it up to weakness or conformation. However, I have a mare who I just had diagnosed with a tear in two of her patellar ligaments. The only symptom was wringing that hock and a subtle NQR feeling I got riding her. Nothing anyone could see.

      First vet said to do more hill work to strengthen her stifle. We showed the 3ft hunters all spring! Poor girl had a hole in her knee and was carting me around winning ribbons. Don’t I feel like an ass! So I would get that checked out if it were me.


      • #4
        Yes, to the "hock wringing" diagnosis and description.

        I don't know if it indicates stifle problems. Rather it often suggests some angular- and rotational deviations in the bones of the hock.

        In other words, what you are seeing in the hoof is an expression of some twists and/or turns in the bones on the way down from the hip to the ground. That is to say, that's most likely what you are seeing in a sound horse. You also might see the effect of a joint that isn't having the articulating bones moving in the one plane they should (that would be the stifle problem mentioned above).

        And so, OP, is this twisting hoof and the hock wringing above it a new problem?
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for all the responses. He has always done it. Several months ago we xrayed and vet checked that stifle after he scraped it up trying to squeeze between a tree and a stone wall.Vet did comment that he had huge stifles.
          But I do recall several years ago, before I owned him, he would come out of the stall and not want to step on the inside of that hoof. He would walk out of it in 2 minutes. But he was at that point stalled 23 hrs a day.


          • Original Poster

            After closer observation I have concluded that he puts the RH on the ground, twist it to the inside, then picks it up. Also has difficulty picking up the R lead under saddle. He does weave when anxious and recently observed him weaving and moving that hoof up and down rythmically while weaving. A puzzle for sure.


            • #7
              If you want to rule out unbalanced hooves, take some pics of both hooves from both sides and undeneath from heel area.

              Get close up shots.

              sometimes uneven heels or too much sole material, can make a horse wring the hocks and depending on which heel is too high they can wring to inside or outside. this is a very common reason for wringing hocks.
              "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


              • #8
                Any conformation pictures from behind or video when moving?


                • Original Poster

                  It looks like a hock issue to me. Will schedule vet appointment asap. Has anyone "fixed" a similar issue with injections ?


                  • #10
                    You may want to rule out a hoof balance problem first before you invest money and the risk of injections.

                    I have a horse that seemed weak in the hocks, was slightly cow hocked and also had prior stifle problems.

                    After doing some research I also started trimming him myself and came upon articles on twisting hocks and

                    stifle problems that may be caused by imbalanced hind hooves and specifically uneven heels.

                    My horse twisted badly but to the outside. Sure enough his farrier was leaving him long on the inside heels.

                    this is a common problem. Once I straightened out his hooves, VOILA. No more wringing hocks and his cow

                    hocks straightened on their own. And he's never had a stifle problem since.

                    Many times, evn a vet doesn't notice this as it's pretty common and many vets are not that insightful about hooves.

                    Just a suggestion that possibly could help you before you go the injection route.
                    "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks Marla, I do have a new trimmer starting in September. Hopefully everything is in balance.....or not !


                      • #12
                        My horse has done this all his life. After X-rays which showed negative palmar angle, we put a bar shoe on his hind feet. The farrier and I were both amazed to watch him walk away almost straight! It’s been several years and he still walks almost straight and he’s 15 and sound. Only adequan this year. Vet said he didn’t need hock injections this year.
                        Not my monkeys, not my circus.


                        • #13
                          My last horse had this issue on right hind. At four, he needed a stifle injection. Then a chiro adjustment. Happened more when he was young and not in a program. Once in a work routine at 5 years old and he had strength he could hold the adjustment much longer. When I would notice it, chiro adjusted him and then he was fine. Got to maybe once or twice a year. He had poor conformation in the hind end and his pelvis would get mis aligned. Really easy to manage. Never needed another injection, thankfully. Starting injections on a four year old really bothered me. Not that I obviously wouldn’t do it when needed, but not a good start on a four year old. He was never lame during the times he was out of alignment and could be worked while waiting for the chiro.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Buddy0227 View Post
                            Noticed that my 8yr old pleasure horse is twisting his right hind hoof when walking. Mentioned it to the trimmer yesterday and was told sometimes indicates hock issues. Horse looks sound and has no apparent other issues. Has anyone else experienced this and detected the cause ? Thanks in advance.
                            Please don't take medical advice from your farrier. I'd attribute your right lead issues to your riding.