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I'm driving myself crazy. Updated. maybe stringhalt?

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  • I'm driving myself crazy. Updated. maybe stringhalt?

    I'm being driven absolutely crazy here, because I can't figure out if something is wrong with my gelding, or if its him just being him and me being neurotic. (possible!)

    I posted a while ago about my big trakehner gelding who was somewhat off. We found that he had problems in his front area that were resolved with proper farrier work, however it didn't resolve all his problems, nor did I get the answers I wanted.

    When he canters free or on the lunge line, he somewhat hitches his left hind. I shouldn't say somewhat, because he DOES hitch it up higher. Only at the canter. Only on the left lead. Happens about every 3-4th stride. On the lunge, he doesn't lose rhythm-you can speed him up and slow him down, and he remains consistent with his footfall. As far as I can tell, he's not short striding either. However the hitch also remains consistent on that left lead. Couple of normal strides, a hitch for a couple of strides, and then back to being normal.

    I'll post the video I did about 5 months ago. Pay attention to his canter; the trot work looks significantly better now that his feet are fixed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4ySxQuqUbU
    Do you see that hitch?

    Undersaddle, I see it rarely; and never, ever feel it. But I've had 2 of my trainers get on him while I watched and while they could not feel anything whatsoever, I saw that same hitch-but this time maybe once in every 15th-20th stride. He doesn't lose his balance, nor does he lose his rhythm (although he does seem to when he is being free lunged)
    Here's a small clip of his canter at our show (not sure how clear it is though) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-PgWDS677Q

    Now, I'm a little embarassed to admit, but he had this problem when I bought him back in April of 2008, and we had 3 vets at the pre-purchase check (long story). His flexions were 100%, we did xrays of the hock and stifle to be on the safe side. Did a brief examination of the sacrum area, found that he appeared to have no pain whatsoever with people probing him. The vets concluded that it appeared to be muscular and didn't seem to bother him. I said to myself "well, he'd been sound this far!" and decided to leave it, thinking that it would likely get better with use (he hadn't been much in work then)

    Fast forward a year. It bothers me He's constantly resting that left hind whenever he gets the chance. However, to be fair, I'm showing him 1st level this year with absolutely no problems whatsoever. His leg yielding is
    going really well. He backs up fine, without any hesitation at all, which I've heard can be a problem if its stifles (which is what I've always thought it would be)

    It hasn't gotten worse, nor has it gotten better. Which I was really hoping it would with work. (either way actually, because then I could say that it was definitely a problem) I took him into another vet, another clinic in. Didn't tell the vet much of anything. Looked 100% normal at walk and trot, vet saw him canter both directions, didn't comment much at all, in fact, said "gee, maybe that's just him". Vet had me pop on to take a look and said that it seemed that with a proper bend and my weight aids, he had no problem using that left hind and stepping underneath himself, although you could still see the hitch every 20th stride or so.
    Flexions again were fine. X rays were beautiful.

    I think that this has become more about me now than him. He honestly doesn't seem bothered about it-except maybe while he's racing around the arena, where he does seem to lose his rhythm. But undersaddle, he can canter and canter without problem. I'm getting a triful neurotic, and I keep wondering as we try to get better and better, will this somehow impact him.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Is it possible that it is indeed muscular? Something that he might have been born with, ect? If it is muscular, anything that I could do to make it better? We've had a chiropractor out to work with him; she has found nothing out of the ordinary either. Any suggestions that I could try to see if any improvement was made?

    Maybe I should try to just let it go and hope for the best? And never ever free lunge my horse again?

    *sigh*
    In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

  • #2
    I am guilty of being a worrier when it comes to my horse. But I think that you should listen to your gut. If you think there is something strange, there probably is. That being said, that doesn't mean you need to do anything about it or that there is anything to do about it. Or that you need anyone else to tell you that they see it too. Since you have all the baseline xrays and a PPE. I would just watch it. As he gets stronger you might see it fade away. It could be a habit he has. Is he really large? Does he eat the EPSM diet? If he were mine and he is a very large horse. I would feed the EPSM diet just as a precaution for string halt, shivers...not to make you more worried! I've just seen a lot of really large horses have rear end stuff and the diet doesn't hurt, so why not.
    “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
    ? Rumi






    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Gayla View Post
      I am guilty of being a worrier when it comes to my horse. But I think that you should listen to your gut. If you think there is something strange, there probably is. That being said, that doesn't mean you need to do anything about it or that there is anything to do about it. Or that you need anyone else to tell you that they see it too. Since you have all the baseline xrays and a PPE. I would just watch it. As he gets stronger you might see it fade away. It could be a habit he has. Is he really large? Does he eat the EPSM diet? If he were mine and he is a very large horse. I would feed the EPSM diet just as a precaution for string halt, shivers...not to make you more worried! I've just seen a lot of really large horses have rear end stuff and the diet doesn't hurt, so why not.
      He is quite a large boy. Almost 17.3hh and about 1500lbs.
      I'm not overly familiar with the EPSM diet. I believe we had one boarder that used it with her draft...that's when they try to decrease carbs and increase fat right? I'm not knowledgeable at all about equine nutrition but would it be a feasible diet for a horse that struggles to keep weight on? Right now, he's on Nutrena Safe Choice, beat pulp, MSM and vegetable oil.

      I know I am rather neurotic. It comes from having my previous horse-after oodles of surgery and vet opinions and money! - being diagnosed with a compressed nerve that affected his ability to use his hind end (think wobblers) and had to be retired at age 7. So I know I do get a bit paranoid now if my horse so much as coughs, but it bothers me not knowing exactly what this is and if it does somehow affect him in some way. (as in, would he perform better without this problem? does it influence him at all and he's just stoic about it?)
      In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

      Comment


      • #4
        Looks and sounds like either an issue with the ilium or stifles. If you REALLY want to know do a nuclear bone scan. But go with your gut.
        Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd let it go.

          You had 3 vets look at him for the PPE, and have taken him to a clinic to see another vet. Also had a chiro work on him.

          Flexions are fine, xrays are clean, he's not unsound... He W/T/C, does simple lateral work, backs up, all without a problem.

          I'd try to put it to the back of your head. Enjoy your horse, have fun with him, and don't worry so much. (Easier said than done, I know. )
          We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

          Comment


          • #6
            I am the queen of paranoid.
            Last year my hunter came up "lame" as in would take one uneven step per ride, only in one spot in the field which no one could see, only I could feel it. He was training with a BNT and we were schooling 3'6. My vet is a friend and she and 2 other vets had seen him school 3'6 and watched him go many a time. I however was convinced that his bursa/throughpin on his left hock bothered him. She finally agreed to flex him. He basically flexed a 6/5 and was lame at the walk after the flexion. Vet (who is so far from a panicker and always very calm) was completely horrified as was I.

            Long story short, drained said bursa gave him time ect...and the hock still doesn't look normal, nor will he ever flex 100% on it again, but I now go by feel, if he feels sound that is good enough. You've done everything right so if you can't feel it leave it be.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks guys. Guess I just needed people to tell me that its ok to just leave it and that he doesn't look horribly off in the video (see to me its so completely obvious, but I've become so fixated on it lately)
              In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't think you mentioned whether you'd ever used a chiro or masseuse with the horse, but that might be worthwhile.

                I don't know where you're located, but if you're in a selenium deficient area, it might be worthwhile checking his blood levels of selenium (you'll have to ask the vet to do this specifically; it isn't ordinarily included in a standard blood panel), and Vit. E. Deficiencies in either or both can cause muscle and nerve issues that look like hitchiness.

                If all checks out fine, then I'd let it go. It will either get worse, better or stay the same with additional work, and if it gets worse you may then have more to go on.

                Good luck.
                "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Posting Trot View Post
                  I don't think you mentioned whether you'd ever used a chiro or masseuse with the horse, but that might be worthwhile.

                  I don't know where you're located, but if you're in a selenium deficient area, it might be worthwhile checking his blood levels of selenium (you'll have to ask the vet to do this specifically; it isn't ordinarily included in a standard blood panel), and Vit. E. Deficiencies in either or both can cause muscle and nerve issues that look like hitchiness.

                  If all checks out fine, then I'd let it go. It will either get worse, better or stay the same with additional work, and if it gets worse you may then have more to go on.

                  Good luck.
                  we are in a selenium deficient area. I haven't had him tested, but he is on a selenium/vitamin E supplement.

                  chiro was out to take a look at him. she said that his left stifle was a little sticky and stiff, but nothing that should cause what we're seeing, and she was quite stumped.

                  he is quite stiff in the back to begin with, and i wonder if this issue isn't higher up, but I also wonder why I wouldn't see it at any other gait
                  In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I do not see any hitching per se but I see a horse with a tight back and a stuck S/I joint plus it appears that his hocks are trailing out behind.

                    Under saddle he seems to use himself better probably thanks to your riding I also do not think it bothers him because I see no excessive tail swishing when making canter transitions, which are usually a sign of problems.

                    I would consider the following:
                    • Have bodywork done on him
                    • POssible mild EPSM issues and/or lack of selenium or magnesium

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by BornToRide View Post
                      I do not see any hitching per se but I see a horse with a tight back and a stuck S/I joint plus it appears that his hocks are trailing out behind.

                      Under saddle he seems to use himself better probably thanks to your riding I also do not think it bothers him because I see no excessive tail swishing when making canter transitions, which are usually a sign of problems.

                      I would consider the following:
                      • Have bodywork done on him
                      • POssible mild EPSM issues and/or lack of selenium or magnesium
                      So I understand the tight back (and he does have a tight back undersaddle as well!) but what would cause him to have his hocks trailing? Conformation? Weakness?

                      For the most part, he does seem quite happy undersaddle. He is a bit harder to get into his back then what I'm used to, but while he fights it a bit, it doesn't seem to be a pain reaction and it is getting better as I'm slowly starting to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to be doing up there :P
                      In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Unless you have money to do a bone scan out of curiosity, you are probablly good to just enjoy him!

                        I know the feeling. My horse has an intermittent short stride at the walk since an injury. He has been confirmed 100% sound at trot by sergeon/specialist so I am wondering if it is machanical. Not even sergeon can tell me he is sound at the walk I am still trying to figure it out.
                        Last edited by Fharoah; May. 11, 2009, 07:56 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TropicalStorm View Post
                          we are in a selenium deficient area. I haven't had him tested, but he is on a selenium/vitamin E supplement.

                          chiro was out to take a look at him. she said that his left stifle was a little sticky and stiff, but nothing that should cause what we're seeing, and she was quite stumped.

                          he is quite stiff in the back to begin with, and i wonder if this issue isn't higher up, but I also wonder why I wouldn't see it at any other gait
                          I ditto the suggestion to have his selenium levels tested.

                          I live in the same general area as you do. I have one mare who is on 2x the recommended Vitamin E/selenium amount. I had her tested last week and she still tested low.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            About the 46 second mark as he strikes off into the left lead canter, I see him pop his right hind up a little. He sort of snaps the fetlock. I don't really see the left hind hitch but the film is so grainy. I believe you that it's there, but wonder if you also see this little snap on the right hind.

                            I've seen this somewhere before. I'm thinking it was Ulla Salzgeber's horse Rusty that did this in the Piaffe. Maybe this means you'll become a famous international rider.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by LarkspurCO View Post
                              I've seen this somewhere before. I'm thinking it was Ulla Salzgeber's horse Rusty that did this in the Piaffe. Maybe this means you'll become a famous international rider.
                              One can live and dream, right
                              In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by TropicalStorm View Post
                                So I understand the tight back (and he does have a tight back undersaddle as well!) but what would cause him to have his hocks trailing? Conformation? Weakness?
                                Usually it is a conformation issue - gaskins that are a bit too long, but that does not mean the horse cannot use himself better regardless, which is what I see under saddle :-)

                                Is he also slow to warm up?

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by BornToRide View Post
                                  Usually it is a conformation issue - gaskins that are a bit too long, but that does not mean the horse cannot use himself better regardless, which is what I see under saddle :-)

                                  Is he also slow to warm up?
                                  He can be. He tends to block my access to his back for about 10-15 minutes. But that could also be me, because he seems to get into it much quicker with my trainer than I can.
                                  In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Slow to warm up could be a sign of EPSM, so keep an eye on it and/or perhaps consider this possibility too. His symptoms could be very mild but enough to affect him.

                                    Hope you get him figured out soon

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Well after my 2 year ordeal I say to stick with it. And I was "saved" by thermography. Look into finding someone near you with a thermographic camera (who knows how to use it on horses). It typically only costs from $100-$300 for a session and it can tell you A LOT, I was finally able to track down what was wrong with my mare after being told by vet after vet that she was fine.

                                      The thermographic camera picks up heat in the horse. You take pictures first thing in the morning, lunge your horse for 15 minutes or so, then let him sit for 2 hours and take the pictures again. It will show you if there is any inflammation after work. It was able to pinpoint the stifle on my mare, and sure enough she had a lesion and had surgery last month.

                                      To be honest I don't know why every vet does not use this technology. I am such a fan I am thinking of buying one myself (hey they only cost about $10k
                                      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                                        Well after my 2 year ordeal I say to stick with it. And I was "saved" by thermography. Look into finding someone near you with a thermographic camera (who knows how to use it on horses). It typically only costs from $100-$300 for a session and it can tell you A LOT, I was finally able to track down what was wrong with my mare after being told by vet after vet that she was fine.

                                        The thermographic camera picks up heat in the horse. You take pictures first thing in the morning, lunge your horse for 15 minutes or so, then let him sit for 2 hours and take the pictures again. It will show you if there is any inflammation after work. It was able to pinpoint the stifle on my mare, and sure enough she had a lesion and had surgery last month.

                                        To be honest I don't know why every vet does not use this technology. I am such a fan I am thinking of buying one myself (hey they only cost about $10k
                                        that might be an option actually. I don't think he's sore - he shows no indication undersaddle to be "off" except maybe a little bit of stiffness (but he's also extremely long backed too) but I am constantly wondering if it affects him somehow...

                                        (you can see how very long his back is, although I think he still manages to somehow step underneath himself fairly well)
                                        http://kayla.horse-corner.com/enrique/EnriqueTrot2.jpg
                                        Last edited by TropicalStorm; May. 13, 2009, 12:46 PM.
                                        In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

                                        Comment

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