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Lameness?! Bad trim?

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  • Lameness?! Bad trim?

    Currently, I'm training my two year old Gypsy Vanner gelding. I got him over a year ago, and we've been working on mostly groundwork and light under saddle work. I'm in college studying Equine Science, so over Spring break, I left my horse up at the college while I went back home. He was completely sound when I left and I had just started canter transitions with him.
    While I was gone, I had the farrier go give him a trim for his feet. I got a call that night from her saying that when she turned him in a tight circle AFTER she trimmed him, he was lame on his left hind leg. She did not notice it before she trimmed. They walked and trotted him in a straight line and he was perfectly sound. The farrier told me she thought the pain was coming from his upper leg- around his hocks, stifle, or hips. She said maybe he pulled a muscle running in the field, slipped on ice, or got kicked. She does not think the pain is in his foot, but I don't know if she's just saying that so as not to be blamed. I never had a problem with her before.
    Now two weeks later, he is still severely lame while turning in a circle. He looks a little stiff going straight but doesn't limp. While lunging, he keeps falling in to his left, tripping with the left foot, and carrying it very awkwardly.
    I've been allowing him to stay on pasture but he has not been in training since I left.
    We gave him a dose of bute the night I got back and the morning after. But I still don't see any change in the lameness.
    Both my barn manager and the farrier think the pain is coming from the upper leg, but he never had these pains before he was trimmed. He was not in any work for the week while I was gone.
    There's no noticeable inflammation or heat in the leg.
    I need some advice and possible answers that could be wrong.
    I'm a college student on a budget, and I'm hoping this can be diagnosed and treated without expensive X-rays.
    Do you think it could be a bad trim? I'm not sure what to look for in the hoof that would cause him to go lame.
    Thanks

  • #2
    I suggest you ask the farrier to come back out and use hoof testers to see how he reacts when focused pressure is applied. If that turns out to be a non-factor, then its time to get the veterinarian involved.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      My usual farrier is stationed very far away and only makes trips out here when she visits the college to do a bunch of horses. I'm not sure if she'd be willing to make the trip just for me.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by naturegirl429 View Post
        My usual farrier is stationed very far away and only makes trips out here when she visits the college to do a bunch of horses. I'm not sure if she'd be willing to make the trip just for me.
        If your "usual" farrier is the farrier that last did this horse before it turned up lame and wouldn't be willing to come back out and check your horse then I would be finding a new "usual" farrier. X-rays sometimes aren't as expensive as you might think. Especially since this horse has been lame for 2 weeks I would be having the farrier and in all reality the vet come check your gelding. I understand money is tight and hopefully your vet will be willing to work with you on the cost and potentially do a payment plan if need be.

        Comment


        • #5
          Is he lame when turning on a circle to the right? Is there any heat or increased pulse in the LH? If you put a short ruler against the dorsal wall and measure from the ground edge to the coronary band, do both feet measure the same. If you pick up the LH and press on the sole or gently tap on the sole(all around the hoof) with a small hammer or other tool, does the horse react? Have you done a flexion test of the hock/stifle? If not, you should. Its very straight forward. You will need another person to be standing at the horses head, leadrope in hand. With the horse standing squarely, pick up the LH, bring it forward and hold it high under the horse for 90 seconds. Immediately upon release of the leg, have the handler trot the horse off in a straight line. If the horse takes more than a couple 'bad'/limping steps, call your vet because something is going on at the hock and/or stifle level.

          Comment


          • #6
            If a horse is not lame before trimming, and lame after trimming, you blame a problem in the upper leg?

            Interesting since statistically most lameness ends up being the foot.
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
              If a horse is not lame before trimming, and lame after trimming, you blame a problem in the upper leg?
              If this was directed at me, I'm not blaming any location yet. IIRC, the OP said nothing about the farrier circling the horse prior to trimming it so we have no way of knowing whether this problem was present or not or if the leg position during the trim brought something sub-clinical to a clinical level.
              Interesting since statistically most lameness ends up being the foot.
              As concerns the front end, I agree. As concerns the hind end, your statement doesn't hold up so well.

              Comment


              • #8
                I would not assume the farrier is the cause until you have the horse looked at.
                I agree with the thought that you need to call the farrier and have them put a set of hoof testers on the horse and if that shows nothing call the vet and go from there.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I wouldn't necessarily blame the farrier. If you were gone for several days before the farrier trimmed him then he could have done something to himself and it not realized until the farrier was there. I would be calling my vet.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                    If a horse is not lame before trimming, and lame after trimming, you blame a problem in the upper leg?

                    Interesting since statistically most lameness ends up being the foot.
                    You do realize that when a horse is trimmed he's basically being held in an extended flexion, right? Of course that wouldn't explain the being lame 2 weeks later, but none of this really makes much sense.

                    If this horse's lameness has anything to do with the farrier, it seems most likely the horse slipped and fell while the farrier was working on him.

                    OP, have a vet out. The vet will start with hoof testers, and if that's OK, look at the leg, do flexions, and possibly blocks to determine where the pain is coming from. If paying for x-rays if a problem you really might want to re-consider horse ownership.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Oops! Posted on wrong thread! Sorry!
                      "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

                      http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Um. . . . extended flexion is an oxymoron.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                          You do realize that when a horse is trimmed he's basically being held in an extended flexion, right?
                          Congratulations! You have stated an oxymoron and at the same time, are wrong. While flexion occurs when the farrier asks the horse to lift the leg, the farrier then asks the horse to extend the limb in order for the farrier to work on that limb/hoof. On rare occasions when the horse is unable to extend the limb, it is then held in flexion by the horse but the position is far from extended.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think maybe grayarabpony meant "extended" as in a longer amount of time for the flexion to be held...? That's just the way I read it...and I would follow Ricks advice, and see what happens.
                            "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ainsley, yes, that's what I meant.

                              It sounds from your post that somebody managed to mix up or misunderstand what I wrote.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Ainsley688 View Post
                                I think maybe grayarabpony meant "extended" as in a longer amount of time for the flexion to be held...?
                                Either way, the statement shows a lack of knowledge and understanding of the hoof care process.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  OP, here's the (overwhelmingly) most likely scenario.

                                  Horse walks up to farrier, looks fine.

                                  Farrier works on horse. As I said before, working on the hind feet flexes the joints in the hind leg for even longer than a vet would. So, when the horse is turned around after the farrier is done working him, viola, he appears quite lame. He was already lame, but nobody knew yet.

                                  It's quite common to have lameness in the hind leg and yet there is no obvious heat or swelling. This is very often true of problems around the level of the hock and higher. For example when my horse had an upper suspensory strain (just below the hock) there was no heat or swelling, yet when the vet flexed the leg it was very painful.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                                    Farrier works on horse. As I said before, working on the hind feet flexes the joints in the hind leg for even longer than a vet would.
                                    Since the hock is only briefly flexed when the farrier asks the horse to lift the leg, and then the leg is extended, how are the joints of the hind limb flexed for 'evennlonger than a vet would"? Further, since the OP stated that the horse was sound in a straight line, and that ambulation requires frequent flexion and extension of the limb, what would that indicate to those with more than a smidgen of knowledge of equine locomotion, anatomy and biomechanics and having the critical thinking and analysis capabilities to interpret and act on said information?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                                      OP, here's the (overwhelmingly) most likely scenario.

                                      Horse walks up to farrier, looks fine.

                                      Farrier works on horse. As I said before, working on the hind feet flexes the joints in the hind leg for even longer than a vet would. So, when the horse is turned around after the farrier is done working him, viola, he appears quite lame. He was already lame, but nobody knew yet.

                                      It's quite common to have lameness in the hind leg and yet there is no obvious heat or swelling. This is very often true of problems around the level of the hock and higher. For example when my horse had an upper suspensory strain (just below the hock) there was no heat or swelling, yet when the vet flexed the leg it was very painful.
                                      I've been watching farriers trim/shoe my horses for 25 years and I've NEVER seen any sort of "farrier induced lameness" in an otherwise sound horse. When I was taught to pick out feet I was taught to minimize stress on the leg (front or back). When I was taught how to pull a shoe and rasp off any sharp edges I was instructed in how to balance myself (and not hurt my back) and not induce undue stress in the horse (any part of it). No competent farrier I've ever engaged (and I've suffered the misfortune of having hired two jack legs on separate occasions) ever induced any sort of "lameness" by the way they did their work.

                                      I don't know if this horse was lame before the farrier did their thing or if they made an error or if the horse took a bad step afterwards. I find your explanation to be odd in the extreme.

                                      G.
                                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'm not sure what you've been looking at then, G. My explanation makes perfect sense. I've been around horses a long time too, is your 25 years supposed to impress me?

                                        I guess I need to speak very slooowly, for those you particularly hard of understanding. My whole point is that the horse was lame BEFORE the farrier worked on him. I'm not blaming THAT farrier. The scenario I described above would happen with ANY farrier or trimmer. It's a result of the relationship between lameness and flexion, and not hoofcare in particular.

                                        You have to flex the hind leg in order to work on the hind foot you know. It doesn't take much flexion at all to make a lame horse react. Thus a farrier or trimmer may realize a horse is hurting before the owner does, particularly since it's not as easy to feel lameness from the saddle in the back end as it is in the front, unless the horse is very lame.

                                        If you're observant you can tell a lot by how a horse reacts while or after a farrier works on him. If you're not I guess you won't learn anything.
                                        Last edited by grayarabpony; Mar. 27, 2013, 11:28 AM.

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