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Shaky Legs

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  • Shaky Legs

    What are some reasons why an otherwise healthy horse would develop shaky legs? Front legs only, kinda looks like knees might buckle. Trips maybe once a week -- maybe from the shaky legs, maybe not. Is really only "trippy" when being lazy or looky. No difference if he has a rider. If moving in a very forward frame and paying attention, there's no issues and can't see the issue until horse stops. No conformation problems. No lameness issues.

  • #2
    My horse has shakey front legs due to neck arthritis (C5/C6 I think). I think this is an unusual presentation, though, its more likely to affect the back end. He also "knuckles over" occasionally on his right side. You might want to have a neurological exam and neck x-rays.


    • #3
      I've seen this in horses that are heel sore as well. The prop the leg forward and stand on their toes instead of weighting the whole foot.

      kcmel, interesting that you see this in your neck horse. Blush does this a bit when her breakover isn't aggressive enough.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks for the suggestions.


        • #5
          First thought would be neurological.

          Which could be several things, EPM, cervical spine compression. Definitely worth having a vet look.
          Ring the bells that still can ring
          Forget your perfect offering
          There is a crack in everything
          That's how the light gets in.


          • #6
            I've always heard this attributed to sore heels. Perhaps have your farrier run the hoof testers over the back of the hoof to see what happens. My warmblood with Navicular issues does this when he has flare-ups.


            • Original Poster

              Thank you (and bump!).


              • #8
                i would get a vet out sound nero logical to me could be shivers to whatever could be toxcins
                in the blood as in eating toxicins ie fern yew buttercups etc

                call a vet and get the horse properly diagnoised


                • #9
                  Unbalanced skeleton - overloaded, tired muscles. Probably caused by heel pain.


                  • #10


                    • #11
                      My horse does this a lot in front. He has been off lately so I called the vet to diagnose. He said the shaky legs is usally from sore heels or a sore suspensory. After using blocks in the left heel and left suspensory he was ultimatly diagnosed with a sore right hock. The vet didn't make that big deal about the shaky legs though. Although I know my horse does it more when he is worked and not feeling completly sound.


                      • #12
                        over at the knee

                        A friend of mine has a mare that is a bit over at the knee on both knees. She sometimes does this when she is tired. So far she has never had any lameness problems or soreness that could be found. You only see it when she is standing still and not all the time????


                        • #13
                          Usually pain related. Have you used the hoof testers on him? Sometimes vets (and us) get so wrapped up in chasing symptoms, they forget the obvious-sore feet.

                          Could be the trim/angles are/is way off. Actually seen a couple with mismatched feet, incorrect angles or even going way too long between trim/reshoe get shaky on their front legs and it was cleared with proper farrier work.

                          I'd start there. Actually going to say check with the foot gurus on here. Shoes or not, if the problem is in the foot, they can possibly help. Or start a trainwreck-worth a shot. Can you link to or post pictures?

                          Otherwise, it could be arthritic, neurological, result of an injury or he could have something like kissing spines.

                          But start simple and from the ground up. Look at his feet.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                          • Original Poster

                            Well, my horse has long sloping pasterns, long toes and is over at the knees. So, after some research, I assumed it had to do with this combo and when my farrier came out yesterday, discussed it with him. We worked on angles and added an aluminum breakover shoe, extending out the back. He's still a little awkward on the shoes (plus I had to add bell boots) so I can't tell yet if it's really making a difference or not. I'll probably stay off of him until Saturday. I may need to call in a different farrier who has more experience in corrective shoeing if he needs wedges or pads.


                            • #15

                              Not sure if your horse's shaky legs were like mine but I did a whole thread on it called weener situation...read on:

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                              • Original Poster

                                Yeah, I remember that thread.

                                Weener's fine. Cleaned it up a few weeks ago and always get a good look during carrot stretches when he becomes really relaxed.


                                • #17
                                  I so don't like the term "corrective shoeing", it's misleading.

                                  The trick is to trim and shoe to support the way that horse is built. You cannot "correct" anything. Adding wedges, shims or pads won't do a thing if the trim is not correct for that particular horse, make it worse more then likely.

                                  You may need a different farrier more adept at problem cases like the one this horse's conformation creates. Always best to have that farrier work with your vet and see and understand any x rays or diagnostics that have been done.

                                  Pretty good idea, based on what you say, you do have a foot problem making him uncomfortable and probably sore.

                                  Be careful with the breakover shoes, he needs to get used to them and the change they create in how he moves. Yank them if he gets really sore.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                  • #18
                                    I second Stinky's guess of Shivers. You might want to read up on it.


                                    • #19
                                      Yeah, I had one who was over at the knee and would do it when he was tired too. He wasn't even that badly over. Vet and farrier both did thorough checks and pronounced him sound. I rode and jumped him for years with no problems.

                                      I would definitely have your horse checked for soreness even if she does have that conformation. It's hard to beat a professional's opinion.
                                      exploring the relationship between horse and human


                                      • Original Poster

                                        I feel pretty confident it is/was the long toe and conformation. He's not over that much, but the long toe/short heel combo, in addition makes it fairly obvious. My horse is pretty clear about his discomfort, when he has it. He is not stoic at all. I probably shouldn't have called this thread "Shaky Legs" because he's not shaking or shivering or anything, just not locking his knees like he should at times. Hard to explain.

                                        Unfortunately my horse does not grow hoof -- just some toe. He's on a great diet, in great shape and is outside in a four-acre pasture 24/7. His feet are a lot better, but it's going to take time to get that heel to grow. So for now, we need to support him as to not cause issues elsewhere, as was happening.

                                        Anyway, I feel pretty good about what we're doing and feel no need to have a body scan and neuro tests done right now. One thing at a time . . .