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lameness opinions please

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  • lameness opinions please

    Long reining horse today I noticed a slight head nod down when in trot on the left rein. No other signs. Can this indicate lameness in the left inside hind leg?
    trying to figure it out.
    I can see no other signs of lameness at all when trotted up in a straight line or hear any difference in the sound of the feet landing on a flat concrete surface.
    It only shows on a circle in trot and I only have a field to do that in.
    Is he trying to get weight of the inside hind onto the opposite diagonal pair?
    Thanks for any opinions, he has luxating patella on this leg and I wonder if it's bothering him. Though it sticks very rarely.
    No signs when ridden either but we don't ride circles.
  • Original Poster

    Sorry I should have said the head nods down when the left front hits the ground.


    • #3
      If the horse is nodding its head down when loading a front limb he is trying to compensate for a weight bearing issue on whatever limb besides that one is currently unloading or about to unload. In a trot, head down on LF would point to right hind. Statistical probability is hock or sacrum. If it is a foot or lower limb problem, most likely medial. Look at horse from behind when the horse is standing square. Is the medial heel bulb jammed? Does the foot have a medial flare?


      • Original Poster

        Tom thank you for your reply.
        In a straight line in trot I understand what you say is correct, there is no nodding on a straight line, it's only on a circle where the inside limbs take most strain hence my train of thought which is a guess really.
        I'll check on the points you've raised, he passes and stands close behind but feet are good with no flares.
        Thanks again.


        • Original Poster

          Also when trotted in a straight line the hips look level. No uneven movement.


          • #6
            In a trot, head down on LF would point to right hind
            or RF.


            • Original Poster

              Would the lameness then show on the other rein crockpot?


              • #8
                First sign of my horse's navicular avulsion fractures was a little head bob for a few steps on a circle tracking right, not on a straight line. Eventually progressed to lameness on a straight line (within a matter of weeks). Remember "down on sound" for fronts, if his head goes down when the LF strikes the ground, then he is offloading his RF. I'm not experienced with head bobbing coming from hind end so not much help there.
                "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks LDavis and Crockpot, it's so tiny I'm struggling to figure out what's going on. He's showing nothing else at all.
                  If it was right front shouldn't he be showing worse on the right rein?
                  Any way thanks for all input. Very much appreciated.


                  • #10
                    I would just have the vet out so you know for sure where the issue is. The vet can also help you figure out a proper treatment for the issue.
                    I love cats, I love every single cat....
                    So anyway I am a cat lover
                    And I love to run.


                    • #11
                      You could try flexing the right hind, then trotting him straight off and see if it show up then. Most lamenesses do show up best at the trot in a small circle, but it's also harder to pinpoint exactly which limb it is because they are loading two at a time. A flexion test can usually at least tell you which limb it is (assuming it's in a joint and not the foot itself).

                      Also, Is this ongoing or something that you just noticed today? If it's new, is it possible he just twisted something in the pasture? If it's new and doesn't seem too serious, I would give him a couple of days and see if it works out before having the vet out.

                      Damrock Farm


                      • #12
                        My vet told me that usually a RF suspensory injury would show up worse when tracking left, and likewise a LF suspensory injury would show up more when tracking right. I would be scheduling a lameness exam just case.
                        "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11


                        • Original Poster

                          I long rein him once a week and thought I saw something last week. Been watching him like a hawk ever since and seen nothing and felt nothing.
                          Tonight he came hammering down hill in a huge trot on parched earth (we have sun at last) to come in from the field.
                          Nothing. He looked fine.
                          It is time for the vet I think.
                          Thank you for your replies. Its been helpful talking it out


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LDavis104 View Post
                            My vet told me that usually a RF suspensory injury would show up worse when tracking left, and likewise a LF suspensory injury would show up more when tracking right. I would be scheduling a lameness exam just case.
                            This is absolutely true. I am sadly experienced in this area.


                            • #15
                              Others experiences may vary but in my experience a head bob is usually more indicative of a front end problem than a hind end problem- although that can happen too. Would examine front end first. And yes a circle can exentuate the problem- sometimes to do with whether weight bearing or swinging leg problem.

                              but really at this point a full lameness work up from a good lameness vet would likely be more productive than our guesses.


                              • Original Poster

                                Yes crockpot I know that really. A hind end lameness has to be quite bad to cause a head nod doesn't it? . I think I got fixated on his hinds because of his luxating patella. That the inside front is taking the weight also puzzled me.
                                Yes I will get the vet. Thanks.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Crockpot View Post
                                  or RF.
                                  How? A trot is a two beat diagonal leaping gait with an aerial phase.


                                  • #18
                                    Horse will favor one diagonal over the other- head will go up when sore RF foot hits the ground and down when sound LF hits the ground. But yes, it can also sometimes be indicative of diagonally opposite hind problem.

                                    There is a pretty good discussion starting around 6:30 on this video

                                    Last edited by Crockpot; Jun. 8, 2013, 08:17 PM.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Crockpot View Post
                                      Horse will favor one diagonal over the other- head will go up when sore RF foot hits the ground and down when sound LF hits the ground.
                                      You might want to review the limb loading sequence in the trot. Note that the opposite diagonal pairs are not bearing weight at all, therefore ruling out any necessity to use the head as a counter weight to reduce weight bearing strain because they aren't bearing weight.

                                      Get yourself a copy of "Equine Locomotion" by Hillary Clayton and Willam Back
                                      It is an excellent reference on all gaits for all breeds as well as very good descriptions of which skeletal structures are loaded in which phases of the stride.

                                      But yes, it can also be indicative of diagonally opposite hind problem.
                                      By process of elimination, at the trot if a horse throws it's head down, it can only be to shift weight off of the contra lateral hind limb or attached skeletal structures. Whereas at the walk it may be the adjacent limb or the contra lateral hind depending on the foot fall sequence.


                                      • #20
                                        You might want to review the limb loading sequence in the trot
                                        very amusing.

                                        The head goes up as the weight is shifted to the diagonally opposite hind. The video explained it pretty well I thought .

                                        I'm happy with the texts that I have -favorite being Equine Lameness from Equine Research. inc. , by Christine King,etc

                                        We'll just have to agree to disagree.