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Update! - Not sure what is going on with my horse

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    Update! - Not sure what is going on with my horse

    I feel like this is my only place I can talk to someone about my horses problems who will actually listen and be helpful so keep reading if interested.

    My horse is still going through his “splint journey.” Started in March, 2 months strict stall rest, then in May, he was allowed turnout and super light work. In June, he was put back on stall rest with light work, slowly increasing. To this day, he is still “off.” I understand the stall rest does not help his stifle problems, but during our trot work, he is always “off” and it’s 90% of the time only to the right. My trainer has convinced herself that it is my saddle, so I got a saddle fitter out. My saddle was not sitting level so she fixed that but I also got a new saddle that is said to fit him almost perfectly. But he is still “off.” He “becomes sound” when I ride him forward enough and he’s balanced but if he needs my help to “become sound”, isn’t something wrong?! The vet will be back at the end of the month to re-X-ray his splint. You’d think it be calcified by now but he is still quite sensitive to palpation.

    He is not lame when I lunge him, only when I ride him. I know it’s possible for horses to be rein lame but he is ridden in a stretchy long and low frame.

    Part of me just feels hopeless like he won’t be 100% for riding again or at least won’t be at his previous level and he’d just be better as a pasture puff.
    Last edited by MDKCongo; Jul. 30, 2020, 08:27 PM.

    #2
    Sigh it is so frustrating and I commiserate with you.

    A bit the same as a person is not dead unless warm and dead.

    A horse is not lame until forward and lame.

    This is where experience comes in and how much you trust your instructor, as it is cruel to push a horse forward if it is lame when forward.
    It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by SuzieQNutter View Post
      A horse is not lame until forward and lame.

      This is where experience comes in and how much you trust your instructor, as it is cruel to push a horse forward if it is lame when forward.
      That’s not what the OP wrote.

      The horse improved when pushed forward and asked to work on the aids properly.

      He “becomes sound” when I ride him forward enough and he’s balanced but if he needs my help to “become sound”, isn’t something wrong?!
      Yes and no.

      When you lunge your horse, he has his own balance/forward motion - and you are not up there messing with his balance and adding weight to the mix. = sound.

      When you get up there and let him be long and low; on his forehand, you are adding weight to his limbs, you are playing with his balance and you are increasing the work effort by being underpace.
      His range of motion is then limited and he cannot warm up properly his joints. = not sound

      When you ride forward, on the aids and balanced, you are positionning yourself in a way that’s not hindering his motion and balance. = sound

      That said, as much as you can create a lameness with poor riding, you can very well hide a lameness with good riding and that’s why you need the vet the check it.

      I had a great arthritic older gelding who needed his forward flexion gymnastic to stay sound.

      Splints can be tricky if they’re in a weird spot.

      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

      Originally posted by LauraKY
      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.

      Comment


        #4
        Very early issues are really hard to pinpoint and according to my vet, often you need to wait for the issue to show itself a little more. If it's a degenerative condition it'll gradually get worse, but when it does, it's a lot more easy to diagnose.

        I had one like this, the lameness was so mild that vet couldn't pinpoint it and unless I wanted to spend big dollars in scanning almost everything, we just had to wait a bit for it to become more obvious. It did that a few months later, one of his hocks got a bit fluidy.

        Comment


          #5
          If you're concerned, maybe take a break until after the vet arrives to re-examine. Hand walking over poles and backing up in hand can keep the stifles engaged in the mean time.

          Maybe I'm reading your post wrong... he's on stall rest, but still being ridden?
          Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
          Quiet Miracle 2010 16.1h OTTB Bay Gelding
          "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

          Comment


            #6
            Definitely no more work until you find out more. I would also be ultrasounding to see if the injury is interfering with the suspensory. If it is, the piece needs to be removed.
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by JB View Post
              Definitely no more work until you find out more. I would also be ultrasounding to see if the injury is interfering with the suspensory. If it is, the piece needs to be removed.
              What JB said. I've had several horses pop splints over the years and while a bit ouchy at first, once they were cold and set, they were never a problem again, which does make one wonder if there is a spur? from the healing splint that that is rubbing against a tendon/ligament and maybe needs to be removed/shaved back. Hope you get to the bottom of it.
              Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook

              Comment

                Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by JB View Post
                Definitely no more work until you find out more. I would also be ultrasounding to see if the injury is interfering with the suspensory. If it is, the piece needs to be removed.
                He has been ultrasounded. The suspensory was irritated in the beginning but after the rest with no work, it was normal again. Later on, he had something going on with his SDFT. He is no longer allowed to be ridden in boots in the front and it has healed.

                We have talked about surgery, but the vet does not recommend it because there is no fracture and removing some of it would just make it grow back.

                Comment

                  Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by FatCatFarm View Post

                  What JB said. I've had several horses pop splints over the years and while a bit ouchy at first, once they were cold and set, they were never a problem again, which does make one wonder if there is a spur? from the healing splint that that is rubbing against a tendon/ligament and maybe needs to be removed/shaved back. Hope you get to the bottom of it.

                  The splint was a cold splint about the size of a nickel last year. A couple months later, it grew double the size and over the period of rest, it is now slightly more than half his cannon bone. 2 vets recommended we try a homeopathic called Calcarea phosphorica and he’s been on that for a month.

                  He’s gotten x rays about every 2-3 weeks and there has been no indication of a spur or any fractures, just the bottom of the splint not calcified yet.

                  Comment

                    Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by BoyleHeightsKid View Post
                    If you're concerned, maybe take a break until after the vet arrives to re-examine. Hand walking over poles and backing up in hand can keep the stifles engaged in the mean time.

                    Maybe I'm reading your post wrong... he's on stall rest, but still being ridden?
                    Yes, he is on stall rest with ridden work. The month of May, he had worked up to 10 minutes trot. Throughout the month of June up till now, he is at 15-20 minutes trot with 3 laps of canter around the arena each way. I’m not asking him for much, just to keep his hind end moving and his head below his withers. This past Sunday, he felt amazing, but on Monday, he felt really off and today he felt mediocre.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I absolutely would not ride him until you see the vet... I would not ride a horse that’s on stall rest. In hand exercise only.
                      Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                      Quiet Miracle 2010 16.1h OTTB Bay Gelding
                      "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

                      Comment

                        Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by BoyleHeightsKid View Post
                        I absolutely would not ride him until you see the vet... I would not ride a horse that’s on stall rest. In hand exercise only.
                        He is only on stall rest so that he doesn’t go out and run and not putting strain on that leg so that it can start and finish healing.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by MDKCongo View Post

                          He is only on stall rest so that he doesn’t go out and run and not putting strain on that leg so that it can start and finish healing.
                          Yes that is the purpose of stall rest... stall rest and hand walking... rest being the key word. Personally I would not start under saddle work unless they were cleared for turnout.
                          Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                          Quiet Miracle 2010 16.1h OTTB Bay Gelding
                          "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

                          Comment


                            #14
                            At this point I'd consult with a surgeon.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
                              At this point I'd consult with a surgeon.
                              Ditto! Seems pretty clear that it is still a problem. I'd want a surgeon to look at the films and ultrasounds, and you may even need to do a standing MRI of that area to find the problem.

                              BoyleHeightsKid Stall rest can mean truly no exercise (like a horse with a fresh fracture), or just no uncontrolled exercise (meaning no turnout, but everything else is ok). ​​​​​​Controlled exercise is how we rehab injuries and keep scar tissue down. For example, my vet has one of my horses up to 20 minutes walking, 20 minutes trotting, and 4 minutes cantering under saddle on the road back from a suspensory branch sprain. He was not cleared for uncontrolled exercise (turnout) until he started cantering under saddle. I can't imagine a vet clearing a horse for turnout before tack walking.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by MDKCongo View Post

                                He has been ultrasounded. The suspensory was irritated in the beginning but after the rest with no work, it was normal again. Later on, he had something going on with his SDFT. He is no longer allowed to be ridden in boots in the front and it has healed.

                                We have talked about surgery, but the vet does not recommend it because there is no fracture and removing some of it would just make it grow back.
                                You still need new xrays, and ultrasound. Broken bones can "heal" and even heal, but develop sequestrums.

                                Broken bones can "heal", and chips can break off and either do their own thing and not bother anyone, or start infringing on the suspensory or something else.

                                Originally posted by BoyleHeightsKid View Post
                                I absolutely would not ride him until you see the vet... I would not ride a horse that’s on stall rest. In hand exercise only.
                                There's a time and place for ridden work before turnout is allowed. There's a whole lot to be said about controlled exercise to get a horse fit and strong in all the right places, so that when he does get uncontrolled exercise (ie turnout), he's less likely to either re-injure the original injury, or cause a new injury
                                ______________________________
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by MDKCongo View Post
                                  Yes, he is on stall rest with ridden work. The month of May, he had worked up to 10 minutes trot. Throughout the month of June up till now, he is at 15-20 minutes trot with 3 laps of canter around the arena each way. I’m not asking him for much, just to keep his hind end moving and his head below his withers. This past Sunday, he felt amazing, but on Monday, he felt really off and today he felt mediocre.
                                  Your horse reinjured himself.

                                  This might be too much at this point. It is demanding for a horse to carry its head below its withers. And if he’s going on his forehand, it might have put too much weight/strain on its forehand.

                                  Sometime between Sunday and Monday, something happened... Maybe you pushed too much in your Sunday training.

                                  :/ It happens in rehab.


                                  2 vets recommended we try a homeopathic called Calcarea phosphorica and he’s been on that for a month.
                                  Invest in real medecine, Previcox comes to mind.
                                  ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                                  Originally posted by LauraKY
                                  I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by MDKCongo View Post

                                    Yes, he is on stall rest with ridden work. The month of May, he had worked up to 10 minutes trot. Throughout the month of June up till now, he is at 15-20 minutes trot with 3 laps of canter around the arena each way. I’m not asking him for much, just to keep his hind end moving and his head below his withers. This past Sunday, he felt amazing, but on Monday, he felt really off and today he felt mediocre.
                                    Why are you asking him to keep his head (poll?) below his withers? That isn't correct work. That is stretchy work to loosen up muscles that are contracting in a more functional outline. It is not working work
                                    ______________________________
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by JB View Post
                                      Why are you asking him to keep his head (poll?) below his withers? That isn't correct work. That is stretchy work to loosen up muscles that are contracting in a more functional outline. It is not working work
                                      Who said one had to work in working gaits?

                                      And that’s not incorrect work in general - like you said it’s to stretch the outline, and I will add it’s to work through the back. It’s probably part of the OP’s usual warmup pre-injury.

                                      Is this type of work appropriate so early in rehab? Maybe not. This is something the OP will have to discuss with the vet.
                                      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                                      Originally posted by LauraKY
                                      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by alibi_18 View Post

                                        Who said one had to work in working gaits?
                                        Well, working gaits are the basis of all work. Working walk, working trot. The horse is *working*, he's not just putzing a long.

                                        But regardless, that isn't at all what what I meant.

                                        Head/poll below the withers is not a working (as in, not stretching, not lollygagging) position. It's a stretching position. Being asked to keep the head there is not how you ride a horse as a matter of course, it's a position in between the actual work, whatever that looks like for the situation.

                                        ______________________________
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                        Comment

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