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I don't know if I should be worried or not

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  • I don't know if I should be worried or not

    my TB mare had front shoes put on about 3 weeks ago. It was awful for her and the farrier. Only because the horse was not behaving and it was taking a long time. Two days later when we went out to ride we picked her front feet (the ones that got the shoes on) and when we picked up the first leg, the horse went down on her knees. We picked up the other one and she started to go down on that one too but we put her foot down before she fell. Other than that, she was fine except for a ton of black fly bites on her chest. We kept picking up her fronts for the next several day and gradually she got better. The first time we did it she was standing on concrete like she was when she got her feet done. I think we did it in the outside sand ring and she started to go down too but that's when we put her leg down. After that first day of falling, we wouldn't try to lift them on concrete but either in her stall, on the grass or the rings and she was fine. We then got her to the point where we could do them on the concrete. Well, tonight I went to pick them up in her stall and she was fine with the first one (the one where she fell a couple of weeks ago) but when I went to pick up her other one (in her stall) she fell again. We took her outside on the grass and picked them both up again and she was fine. My daughter rode her and she was fine (has always been fine being ridden). Again tonight though she had a lot of black fly bites. I doubt this has anything to do with it but I cannot figure out why she is doing this. I am a worrier and this literally gives me a stomach ache. She has no other symptoms or strange behavior so I don't know what to think. Anyone?


  • #2
    Any chance she's just being a doofus? My young mare, who is barefoot, will once in a blue moon decide she can't hold her foot up and will act like she's going to fall if I don't let her foot go RIGHT NOW. A smack seems to help her remember she has three other feet to stand on.

    I will be really interested to see what other responses you get. She jogs sound and doesn't act footsore?
    Full-time bargain hunter.


    • #3
      If she started doing this after the shoeing, perhaps you might look into the shoe and the nails. Do you know what size nails he put into the shoes? She may have been misbehaving because it hurt! She may be remembering the pain now or she may be having sporadic pain. If she is thin walled this can hurt like hell. Get someone knowledgeable, either a farrier or veterinarian to use a hoof tester around the nails and ask the farrier what size nails he used. In the meantime you can try using Venice turpentine to toughen the feet some. You might also want to keep her up during the black fly periods, or use SWAT to keep it off her tender areas. Not saying this is related but black flies are brutal.
      "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK


      • #4
        Sounds to me like the nails could be too close to some sensitive structures inside the hoof. My poor TB just got quiked the other day. It was one nail. He almost fell to his knees when we walked on the asphalt. In the soft sand footing he seemed fine. Farrier pulled the offending nail and horse went back to 100% fine.


        • #5
          It sounds like it might be a hot nail. Call the farrier and tell him exactly what happened. He should come out and look at it, and if the problem is caused by a hot nail, he should make it right.
          "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


          • #6
            I don't know what it is, so I can't really offer any advice. I'm curious why people think it's an issue with a nail if she is completely sound riding and only does it when her feet are being picked.

            My instincts tell me she is either:
            -Doing it to be a P.I.T.A. Stranger things have happened.
            -When her feet were done last time something DID hurt her and now she is doing out of a fear reaction
            -The shoe was sliding on the concrete when you had the other foot and the only way to stop her foot from sliding out from under her was going down.


            • #7
              I'm just wondering how he got the shoes on her if she goes down when you pick up a foot?
              She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!


              • #8
                Is she completely sound? Sometimes if they are lame in both front legs, it is difficult to know that they are lame. One of our boys had bilateral suspensory lesions many years ago. Our only clue was that he was stopping at fences. He looked sound to the vet until the vet blocked 1 leg and he was then lame. One of our older guys has trouble lifting his hoof for hoof picking when his navicular disease is acting up.

                I would call the vet for a brief lameness exam.


                • #9
                  was this the first time she got shoes?


                  • Original Poster

                    Let me try to answer your questions.

                    She started getting front shoes last year. We take them off for the winter. This was the first time this year she was shod and she was HORRIBLE. She started off fine but then I think she decided that she'd had enough, all of her friends were outside and she wanted to be outside too. It took about two hours to get two front shoes on with alot of half rearing, walking etc.

                    Two days after she got her shoes, is the first time she went down, when we lifted both fronts, on the concrete from what I can remember. That was about 3 weeks ago. We kept lifting them and she would be fine on one side or she would lean back like she was shifting her weight. She was definately more afraid on the concrete. We got to the point where she would lift them anywhere, thank goodness, concrete included.

                    She is the type of horse that always has some kind of lameness issue. She's never been quite right but definately rideable with limits.

                    When I went to lift the opposite leg last night, she went down...slowly and then got right back up. My daughter still rode her and she was perfect...better than she'd been in awhile. She went down in her stall by the way. When we took her out on the grass soon after she went down, and lifted the same leg, she was fine. Didn't even flinch in fact she tried to stretch her neck (with the leg lifted) to get some grass.

                    When I tried to lift her legs again today, she sort of started to move funny....either shifting her weight or maybe trying to go down, I swatted her on the underside of her tummy(!) and she stood to attention.

                    This is baffling. I've heard of horses going down when their girths are being tightened but never really this kind of thing. This horse is a drama queen I think as she is very spoiled but I just can't believe that they can play games like this (if that's what she's doing).

                    I fear for what is going to happen when the farrier comes again. I'm wondering if she needs to have some calming paste. We are definately going to have her feet done outside, on the grass, where she can see her friends. Yes I know that's a little weird but I have to do what is the easiest for everybody.


                    • #11
                      I would definitely not be riding this horse until you got a neuro exam.
                      McDowell Racing Stables

                      Home Away From Home


                      • #12
                        I would have someone with experience, preferably with TB's- a local trainer, come out and evaluate the horse for you. A good trainer should be able to tell you whether the horse is trying to pull one over on you or whether the horse has a hot nail. It could also be that if your mare has thin walls, the shoes may be putting pressure on her sole and might need to be beveled. It would also be a good idea to have a knowledgable trainer evaluate the horse under tack. She may be showing signs of unsoundness that you may not be able to pick up. Good luck!
                        If you always do what you've always done- you'll always get what you've always gotten.
                        Madison Ridge Farm


                        • #13
                          By all means get someone experienced to come and have a look at her. Anyone with a hoofpick or hammer and some experience can tell you if she is nail bound. However, IMO she is being a bit of a drama queen.

                          You aren't going to hurt her by asking her to pick her foot up correctly and in fact if there is a problem, she HAS to pick her foot up to get it fixed. So politely but firmly tell her to stop being a drama queen.

                          The sooner you do this, the calmer she'll be when you do have a problem to resolve. I've known a few youngsters try this. Firmly, but fairly, tell her to get over herself.

                          By all means follow the advice here about getting her checked out. But remember to do this she needs to pick her feet up!


                          • #14
                            LaurieRace, second the neuro exam. Does she stumble when walking? If you pull on her tail (to the side) are you able to pull her over? Does she knuckle her feet over when standing? Can you lead her down a hill with her head up without her stumbling? If you cross one leg over the other (front) will she correct or will she leave them?

                            If there is any stumbling on the tests, ability to pull tail and have her move, or the cross leg tests and she should be evaluated for a possible neuro problem. If it were me, I'd have a vet look at her just to rule out a physical problem. Could be behavioral, but you won't know unless you eliminate all the physical possibilities.


                            • Original Poster

                              Well we had the vet out today. He did a laminitis exam and the horse passed with flying colors. He also did a neurological exam and she passed that well too. She didn't fall down when he was there at all, in fact, she didn't even attempt to and we lifted her legs several, several times on different surfaces. He doesn't know what could be causing it. He took the temperature in all of her hooves and they were all about the same maybe a degree or two off from each other but he wasn't concerned about that.

                              I'm thankful that she doesn't have laminitis....very thankful and very thankful that she passed the other exam but I am still baffled as to why she does this.


                              • #16
                                I had a TB/QH with navicular. When I moved to a new area, over time the new farrier let the toe get long. Finally, when it came time to trim/shoe, the horse's legs buckled & he fell down. Now, this horse had a large streak of laziness, and was very smart, but ... I know he wasn't faking this. I don't think most horses will actually go down unless 'they mean it.' Falling down is very scary for a horse.

                                Now, they will certainly lean on you when hoof-picking, or will lean on the farrier during shoeing, but when their other legs buckle, I'm generally going to take it seriously.

                                In my experience, different farriers have vastly different ideas about what a foot should look like. My previous farriers were all about keeping the toe back (and that is what my eye was trained to see as being good.) The new farrier was not up for discussion or suggestions and between missed appointments and a different philosophy, the toe had gotten too long and the heel was too low. It was a gradual change in the hoof shape - over a year - but when the crucial point came, it was very sudden and very dramatic.

                                At any rate, you might want to (a) take a look at the angles and/or (b) have the vet take some xrays to see what's going on in there. I *knew* what the problem was with my gelding because I had been concerned at the shape the foot was being trimmed. The vet agreed with me on the assessment of the foot shape, and xrays clearly showed how messed up the angles were - it actually looked like the coffin bone had rotated - it hadn't - but that's how far the toe had gotten out in front of the foot.

                                I finally found a new farrier who understood what it mean to get that toe back under the foot and it took a couple of trims/shoeing, but it got much better. Since I have the same farrier, the horse has never had that trouble again.

                                I don't know if this is the problem your mare is having, but it's worth some thought. Good luck & hope she's doing better soon.
                                "If I am fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom."