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How many horses are 100 percent sound trotting a circle on pavement?

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  • How many horses are 100 percent sound trotting a circle on pavement?

    Today I had the vet out to check my horse who has been on and off lame for the last two weeks. He put him on a small circle on pavement that had a slight downhill slope. Vet sad he was grade 1 both ways after watching him go. I guess my question is, how many horses would actually pass this test? It seems pretty tough for a horse to trot a circle, going downhill on a hard surface.

  • #2
    I've known a few good horses who were just terrifically sound. Grade 1 lamenesses are really hard to diagnose but it's all dependent on how much you trust the vet. Just because he/she went to vet school doesn't mean he/she's really good at diagnosing lameness.

    Comment


    • #3
      I was actually reading through my big lameness book tonight. They mentioned this exactly. To paraphrase, it said that some horses who perform at the top level of their sport may not be completely sound on concrete in tight circles, although they are sound on a more forgiving footing.

      Ideally a horse should be sound, but the problem could be sensitive soles or something minor that may not be imperative to the horse's regular performance. Of course, if the vet saw something, it is worth pursuing further diagnostics to make sure. Since your horse has been lame, it's pretty likely you need to do further testing.

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      • #4
        IME very few.

        Funny thing, I have a client with an old horse who is...mmmm.. Rickety, shall we say?!!! We had stopped riding him due to him being unsound in his body. For unrelated reasons he had to go to NCSU and they jogged him on pavement. Barefoot. When I talked to the head surgeon later he told me it was the only sound horse they had seen that day! I nearly wet my pants laughing.
        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
        ---
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would honestly say that a LOT of horses I know would probably score a 1 on pavement on a tight circle. Could just be sensitive soles, I know my shins even hurt when I run on pavement. I do think it's a useful tool as part of the picture, but it's certainly not the whole picture.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well I can tell you that it's what I'd expect and all but one of mine most definitely is.

            The one that isn't has a muscle strain right now.

            Lunging on both reins in a tight circle will exaggerate any subtle lameness. Doing it on a slope will help identify whether it's fore or hind subtle lameness.

            That's standard procedure and no or less than I'd expect for a good evaluation.

            It should be understood though that it's not a "pass or fail" and it's not a case of one bad step means a horse is unsound.

            It's about using good observation and evaluation and repetition and then identifying if there's a problem and where.
            Last edited by Thomas_1; May. 15, 2010, 06:29 AM.

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            • #7
              The problem with trotting in a tight circle - on a downhill slope- on pavement - is that it's just plain STUPID. The horse can SO EASILY lose its traction and fall - barefoot, or shod. I have never seen a lameness vet trot a horse in a small circle, on pavement, on a slope to assess lameness. How do you know if it's true pain/lameness or just a very sure footed horse trying not to wipe out? Good lord that just seems crazy.

              I've had 2 endurance vets trot my horse on a small circle on gravel and she was completely sound going both ways. But I guarantee if they put her on pavement with a downhill slope to it, she would mince and baby step so she didn't bust her butt. She tends to be quite "self preserving" and though she's sound, she's most definitely going to tense up and be VERY careful of how she places feet on a slick/sloping surface!

              If this is how your vet wants to evaluate lameness, then I'd be looking for a different vet.

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              • #8
                Trotting on pavement in a small circle is only a SMALL aspect of diagnosing overall lameness. This is only ONE tool to determine if or where a horse is lame. I would hope the vet also trotted the animal in a large round pen with soft footing as well. The animal should also have been trotted in a line and a large circle on the pavement as well.

                The pavement can help determine if there are problems in joints, hooves, and skeleton. The round pen in soft footing goes more to muscle and joints. The hill can help determine front or back end lameness.

                Most good vets also know their parking lot so well that they can tell if a horse should be sound or lame on almost every spot. A former top vet (president of AAEP, Olympics, etc.) here pointed out that he knew exactly how every point on the parking lot of his clinic should be taken; he had seen so many horses trot out there. It is a paved parking lot on a slope and was done deliberately that way over 50 years ago.

                Reed

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post
                  The problem with trotting in a tight circle - on a downhill slope- on pavement - is that it's just plain STUPID. The horse can SO EASILY lose its traction and fall - barefoot, or shod. I have never seen a lameness vet trot a horse in a small circle, on pavement, on a slope to assess lameness. How do you know if it's true pain/lameness or just a very sure footed horse trying not to wipe out? Good lord that just seems crazy.

                  I've had 2 endurance vets trot my horse on a small circle on gravel and she was completely sound going both ways. But I guarantee if they put her on pavement with a downhill slope to it, she would mince and baby step so she didn't bust her butt. She tends to be quite "self preserving" and though she's sound, she's most definitely going to tense up and be VERY careful of how she places feet on a slick/sloping surface!

                  If this is how your vet wants to evaluate lameness, then I'd be looking for a different vet.
                  The OP said a SLIGHT SLOPE. Short trot both ways so one way would be slight slope down and the other slight slope up. I'm not seeing a problem with that at all..... not at all.

                  If a horse is slipping and sliding doing that then clearly it's needing some serious traction and isn't going to be much good as a riding horse if it's likely to wipe itself out with an itsby bitsy trot on a circle.

                  I would presume that as the OP's horse has been lame for weeks and called the vet that this was merely some quick evaluation and part of a clinical and physical evaluation. I can't begin to think why the heck you'd suggest changing the vet!

                  Unbelievable!!

                  You must have got through more vets than I have socks with the raft of problems and undiagnosed "stuff" your brood have had.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post
                    ...You must have got through more vets than I have socks with the raft of problems and undiagnosed "stuff" your brood have had.
                    And yet apparently has never had a basic lameness exam done. Amazing.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Hey just to clarify, horse has had ongoing soundness issues with front feet. It only manifested itself this time when he was ridden on hard or irregular footing going downhill to the left on tight turns. Vet and I have been down this road before so I think he just wanted to cut to the chase. After testing him, he used hoof testers and a block on the right heel since he looked lame on that foot. He went sound on the right but then started to take mincing steps on the left. X-rays were taken last year and were clean so diagnosis was bilateral foot soreness and a change in shoeing was recommended. I do trust and respect him but got to thinking how many horses could actually pass that test sound? Heck, if they changed the jog at Rolex from a straight line to a circle would many of those top event horses pass?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rcloisonne View Post
                        And yet apparently has never had a basic lameness exam done. Amazing.
                        Or a pre-purchase vetting.
                        __________________________
                        "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                        the best day in ten years,
                        you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pasodqueen View Post
                          Heck, if they changed the jog at Rolex from a straight line to a circle would many of those top event horses pass?
                          I think you're comparing apples to oranges.

                          A horse doing the jog at Rolex isn't the same as a veterinarian attempting to diagnose a horse exhibiting an unsoundness.

                          Your horse has an unspecified lameness and you and the vet are trying to figure out what it is.

                          Trotting out or doing tight circles on pavement are normal in my part of the world. So is performing a flexion test, x rays, all kinds of things.

                          It's just one tool in a very big toolbox.

                          And it's not really a pass/fail thing. Just an indicator of something wrong. It could be minor, major, or nothing at tall.

                          I hope, in your case, that it is minor or nothing at all.


                          Reed - cool story. Thanks for sharing that.
                          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                          -Rudyard Kipling

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                            Trotting on pavement in a small circle is only a SMALL aspect of diagnosing overall lameness. This is only ONE tool to determine if or where a horse is lame. I would hope the vet also trotted the animal in a large round pen with soft footing as well. The animal should also have been trotted in a line and a large circle on the pavement as well.

                            The pavement can help determine if there are problems in joints, hooves, and skeleton. The round pen in soft footing goes more to muscle and joints. The hill can help determine front or back end lameness.

                            Most good vets also know their parking lot so well that they can tell if a horse should be sound or lame on almost every spot. A former top vet (president of AAEP, Olympics, etc.) here pointed out that he knew exactly how every point on the parking lot of his clinic should be taken; he had seen so many horses trot out there. It is a paved parking lot on a slope and was done deliberately that way over 50 years ago.

                            Reed
                            The 'big clinic' here, Coosa Valley Equine, uses their paved areas in exactly the same way. Do a local block of ___ joint and take them to that spot right there and trot them. In a circle. On concrete. See what that tells you. Go from there and trot a straight line down that stretch over there.

                            My own truck vet uses the turn around in his concrete paved driveway by his own clinic for the exact same thing. BTDT got the bills to prove it

                            What's really amazing is how they have brushed concrete, so it's quite sticky for shod or barefeet. It's really just incredible how they had the forethought to create a surface that offers traction. Stunning.

                            If the only vets I actually saw in person were those encountred at events, I too might not understand how a lameness evaluation is performed.

                            PS= only one of mine trots but he's Grade 1 from an injury so he's not perfect on any surface. All the rest can surely flatwalk on concrete, sound, in a circle. You bet.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Only my horses with known lameness have ever had a problem trotting a circle on pavement. So I guess I'm saying more are sound than are not...

                              They always do this for me in PPE.

                              Did he x-ray the feet? Just curious.
                              DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Good question. Trotting in a small circle on pavement is asking a lot in the way of soundness. If a horse can do that it is a very good sign. However, I would guess that a lot of 'sound' competitive horses would not trot completely sound.
                                It would - of course - depend on how he trotted.
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                                  However, I would guess that a lot of 'sound' competitive horses would not trot completely sound.
                                  On a circle on a downhill section of pavement, you mean? I also would bet not.

                                  I've been present for a handful of lameness evaluations with different vets on client horses I trim and none have ever trotted them in a tight circle on sloping pavement. Trotted them in a small circle on limestone, or gravel, or the flat asphalt driveway? Yes, definitely. But I have not seen a vet do it on a downhill slope.

                                  My dressage horse that is now passed on had been through multiple lameness exams when a farrier screwed up her shoeing, and they never used a downhill slope to do it. It was always on the flat. I guess each clinic does it differently.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My mare was clearly a 3 (RF) on her trot circles on pavement with very mild slope. She failed her pre-purchase for it and X-rays showed some minor navicular changes. I bought her anyways and hasn't taken a lame step since. (knocks furiously on wood)

                                    The way my vet explained it to me is that it is a good indicator of eventual unsoundness.
                                    “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

                                    !! is the new .

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I've seen many UL eventers fail the famous "8 meter circle on hard ground" but were sound. It's an interesting test but I don't think it's the end-all, be-all of tests. Just one more tool.

                                      I just did a PPE on a 20-year schoolmaster gelding who 'failed' the small circle --- he was 2/5 lame on it. Otherwise he passed the PPE with flying colors. Wise vet looked at the radiographs we took and saw the horse had a flat P3 plane on that foot. "Oh, well that would explain why he can't trot sound on that circle on that foot." I thought that was interesting. I bought the horse anyway!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Reed knows whereof he speaks.
                                        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

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