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Strange lameness problem, help!

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  • Strange lameness problem, help!

    Horse is sound at the trot, canter, jumps 2-3 times a week and has been showing, coming back home and staying consistent. No ear pinning, no heat on the leg, horse is only off when walking, also seems to come from shoulder, as if the horse is on a stilt with it's right leg. The is not the head bobbing type of "off".

    Horse does have some swelling on the left inside suspensory area, vet suggested the "tendon sheath" but didn't mention possibility of tear, strain or what ...

    Has anyone had anything similar happen? This horse has been through the ringer with a hind suspensory, right front suspensory, both which are very old and healed great. She comes out of her stall the same every day, stiff and "off" looking with that shoulder/leg until she starts to work. Looks fantastic at the trot, stepping through evenly etc ...

  • #2
    Only your vet can get you a decent answer there...have him/her run an ultrasound and see what is going on.

    You don't ALWAYS get dramatic lamness or heat. It could also have a shoulder injury or sore back but I'd rule out a suspensory or tendon sheath first...some times the obvious is the correct answer.

    I rest mine when they are "off", don't want to risk making whatever is wrong worse. All the likely culprits here, leg, shoulder, back are going to mean a lay up anyway.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    • #3
      I have a horse that was never lame with a fractured splint and torn suspensory. It was just a gut feeling that something wasn't *quite* right. I took him to multiple vets who couldn't find anything, didn't see any lameness or palpate anything unusual. I had them take some rads and found the almost-healed-by-then splint. Then I went to the best lameness vet in the area and he was able to see a hint of something. Ultrasounded and found the small suspensory tear.

      He was never noticeably lame at the walk, trot, canter, even jumping 4ft courses. If your horse clearly has something wrong, have a good vet out to figure out why. Lameness at the walk isn't something to overlook.
      A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. ~Beryl Markham


      • Original Poster

        I should add, this is only seen when she is walking collectively! Trot, canter etc ... all sound and "normal", the moment shes asked to work on the bit is when it shows (looks like the shoulder or elbow)


        • #5
          Originally posted by svf86 View Post
          I should add, this is only seen when she is walking collectively! Trot, canter etc ... all sound and "normal", the moment shes asked to work on the bit is when it shows (looks like the shoulder or elbow)
          Have you had her teeth checked? Maybe it is not a lameness from a leg or shoulder issue, maybe something in her mouth is bothering her...I only thought this may something to check since you said that she lame only at the collected walk.

          Maybe more feel on her mouth is causing some sort of discomfort and she looks off?


          • #6
            Rein Lameness? My old trainer's horse was the master of rein lameness, though it mostly showed up at the trot, I think it would depending which gait your horse was easier to get connected in.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by MintHillFarm View Post
              Have you had her teeth checked? Maybe it is not a lameness from a leg or shoulder issue, maybe something in her mouth is bothering her...I only thought this may something to check since you said that she lame only at the collected walk.

              Maybe more feel on her mouth is causing some sort of discomfort and she looks off?
              Had her teeth done very recently


              • Original Poster

                Here is a quick video from today, will add the trotting video soon too. Vet is coming out this week, thought i'd get some opinions anyway.

                WALK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLT9CAPxYag
                (notice stepping on her toe)

                TROT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJpz4_L91vo


                • #9
                  If she is not right in the left hind, it will show up on the right front when you collect her.
                  Just a thought


                  • #10
                    I second left hind.


                    • #11
                      Heel soreness? I wonder if she is not wanting to put pressure on her right heel (she's tip-toeing in a way) at the walk, but with a shorter time on it in the trot and canter, she's fine. Were her feet done recently?


                      • #12
                        IMO that is not "rein lame", she goes up and inverted when you pick up the reins to collect (and you are not jerking or doing anything sudden) and then is taking smaller steps on the right side then left despite the right being outside the circle and bend. And she sure does not want to come forward.

                        Remember the walk is 4 beats, each foot bears the weight alone with no impulsion to carry so it shows up more. The leading leg at the canter also bears it but they are going along at a good clip so don't head bob but you might get crookedness or a sticky lead change on to the new leading side.

                        Trot has the diagonal pairs bearing the weight and, surprisingly, the higher problems don't create much drama as far as the head bobbing goes. They are more subtle.

                        This is not that subtle at the walk though, least IMO. If I was judging you, I'd have that L notation when you walked in the ring.

                        Not willing to speculate on the location or cause...there is alot of compensatory stuff that goes on creating other issues away from the main cause. Another reason why you need to rest her and not ride until you can get a lamness evaluation from the vet. Have them look at everything, blocks and imaging-again, what you can see could be sore because they are misusing it trying to protect something that hurts worse or is not working properly.

                        One other thought...ask about her neck and back. That can create all sorts of issues.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thank you for the replies!


                          • #14
                            There could actually be some muscle atrophy in the shoulder from one of her earlier recoveries. Find a good osteopath ( on east coast, there's one in NY, VA, NC and GA). Guarantee they will help resolve things. (PS They are also vets).


                            • Original Poster

                              Had the kid ride her again for me today focusing more on that left hind, you both (who replied about the left hind) are totally right, the left hind is very stiff through the hip area, maybe up toward her lower back even (sacrum). I am leaning toward this being more chiropractic if anything ... hm! Vet comes out Friday morning, chiro will come out later if necessary.


                              • Original Poster

                                Update... Chiro came today and did "adjustments" however did not pay attention to the pelvis... Hm. no improvement from the visible issue but significant improvement in other areas as usual. Vet was there as well, we did not ultrasound as he doesn't think it's necessary (no heat anywhere, no swelling) he did say that if it was a proximal we wouldn't necessarily see swelling but would assume we would see lameness at the trot, we arent seeing this now. He has suggested we put her on Previcox for a few weeks and see if there is any change, also said to keep doing typical work with her. If nothing changes (if she still looks the same) , he suggest next step injecting the stifle (she is overdue) and is used to her routine maintenance in the past. I suppose if she gets worse we will then ultrasound?

                                Good news I suppose but still a little weary, such a sudden change in soundness (she's always had a slightly shorter step with the left hind, causing the awkward step with the right front, but nothing this dramatic). Also she seems to take those awkward steps when first collected, about 10 steps or so then walks out of it for a while, then returns to those awkward steps.

                                Feel free to speculate! I'm researching as much as anything as possible, I hate poking and prodding and would rather have some sensible possibilities.