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Young horse won't stay sound

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  • Young horse won't stay sound

    Horse: 7 year old OTTB gelding, owned for almost a year

    This horse moved to a new barn in February 2019 and was totally healthy. In April 2019, he came up lame one day (left hind). Farrier took a look at it, told us it was an abscess, so we started wrapping it daily with wet Animalintex pads. A few days later the farrier happened to peek at it again and told us it wasn't an abscess and was likely bruised, so we started wrapping it with epsom salt poultice to try to relieve the soreness. Throughout April, he would be sound for a few days, and then be off again. I suspected bruising may have been caused by him kicking the wall during grain feedings because there were bars between the stalls and he was getting aggressive with his neighbor. We moved him to a stall without open divider walls and he seemed to be getting better.

    Near the end of April, after he'd been sound for nearly a week, I was lunging him to see if he was sound before tacking him up to get on and ride. He limped on the left hind, then switched to the right hind, then both back legs seemed to have sore stifles. Suddenly, he could barely walk coming out of his stall. We finally got the vet out to look at him and as soon as she took a look at his left hind, a massive abscess popped. An X-Ray was taken at this time as well and the vet noted "mild arthritic changes" in his left hind fetlock joints when compared to his right hind, but it was nothing to worry about, just something to remember if he has issues in years to come. We started wrapping again, farrier claimed he had thin souls and we put back shoes on the horse when the abscess was done draining. He was instantly better when the abscess popped.

    He received back shoes on May 22nd and now, on June 6th, has turned up lame again in the same foot (left hind). He was ridden nearly every day for the past week (30 minute flatwork rides each day), getting back into his full work schedule from before, and was completely sound every time I got on. Got on to lesson and jump for the first time in a month and he trotted off fine to warm up and fell suddenly very lame at the trot. Upon dismounting, we realized he had a fresh-looking cut on the inside of his ankle. I suspect he must have nicked himself with his other hoof while running in a field yesterday or from a spook he had shortly after I got on to lesson. One trainer claims he has a pulse in the foot, and thinks it's another abscess.

    Until moving barns, this horse had never had an abscess in our care. He doesn't get turned out often, never in wet conditions, usually only being turned out for some fresh air and a chance to run a bit before coming back in due to heat or flies being aggressive these days. Stalls are cleaned thoroughly every day, so I don't suspect he's dealing with wet to dry conditions often.

    I want to think that cut on his ankle is the cause of this sudden lameness. His boots were not put on when he went out into a bigger pasture with another horse for the first time at this barn yesterday. He wasn't ridden yesterday, so if he was lame, we wouldn't have known. However, I didn't notice a cut there at all when I was grooming him, which is why I also think it could have been fresher than just being from turn out yesterday morning.

    If it's another abscess, what could we do? The only thing that's changed in his life in the past year is the barn he's living at (a nicer, more expensive barn than the one he was at previously). What could be causing repeated abscesses all of a sudden?

    Farrier is supposed to come out tomorrow, probably pull the shoe, and check it out. I washed up the cut well, put some fly spray on it to keep the flies out of it, and left him unwrapped in a clean, dry stall. I'm overwhelmingly frustrated that I can't continue to train my first horse, My parents are frustrated having to pay high board each month for a horse that is unable to be ridden. We don't even know what could be causing all the issues with the one foot all of a sudden.

  • #2
    are you using the same farrier as always or is this the barn farrier?
    -- * > hoopoe
    Procrastinate NOW
    Introverted Since 1957


    • #3
      Originally posted by hoopoe View Post
      are you using the same farrier as always or is this the barn farrier?
      This. Sometimes even great farriers just don’t work for certain horses.
      Also, it could be the same abscess, rearing it’s ugly head again. I once battled an abscess for about 3 months it would drain and then refill a bit higher up.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by StormyDay View Post

        This. Sometimes even great farriers just don’t work for certain horses.
        Also, it could be the same abscess, rearing it’s ugly head again. I once battled an abscess for about 3 months it would drain and then refill a bit higher up.
        Same farrier as the barn, which you'd think would be a good one for such a nice barn. Consensus today was that the abscess came back in the same place. The cut on his ankle was also very sore to the touch, so it was scrubbed with soap and water yet again to keep it clean. Hope it won't last too long, he gets lowkey dangerous when he's stall bound for a while...


        • #5
          Originally posted by thatbrokerider View Post

          Same farrier as the barn, which you'd think would be a good one for such a nice barn. Consensus today was that the abscess came back in the same place. The cut on his ankle was also very sore to the touch, so it was scrubbed with soap and water yet again to keep it clean. Hope it won't last too long, he gets lowkey dangerous when he's stall bound for a while...
          For a minor cut, there is no reason to keep him in the stall. Put some swat around the cut and turn him out. And for abscesses, the more movement the better.


          • #6
            Originally posted by StormyDay View Post

            For a minor cut, there is no reason to keep him in the stall. Put some swat around the cut and turn him out. And for abscesses, the more movement the better.
            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


            • #7
              Sending jingles and reassurance. Two abscesses in a row is definitely frustrating, but not horribly bizarre for a horse with poor feet/thin soles. I would also agree more movement is better as you want circulation in the hoof.

              Secondly, once horse is on the mend focusing on hoof health from the inside out. You want circulation in the hoof (Movement) and to encourage strong hooves. I prefer Durasole and Keratex Hoof Hardener. The Durasole I brush over the soles of my horses hoof. Does your horse travel on rocky terrain/gravel when he comes in, in the morning? It is not uncommon that once a horse has been bruised, to continually re-bruise with re-concussion in that particular spot. While hoof supplements are not a 1-week fix, I believe a biotin/hoof supplement is beneficial to work from the inside out long-term.

              We've all been there. Obviously right now, you can only pack and be patient. I might encourage a bit more length of time to bring a horse like this back into work. (Perhaps a whole week/two of just hacking) If there is bruising, you want to enable the foot to heal, and even if he is sound the one day after doesn't mean there isn't residual inflammation.