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Is my young horse unsound or just weak??

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  • #61
    I agree with the person who said that if you look long enough at any horse you think you see something off. One of my horses seemed to take some "funny steps" with his left hind. Chiro stated stifle weakness, gave some exercises and he gradually got better. We opted not to canter him at all until he developed some strength in his hind end. Once he became fitter he looked much better.

    My vet told me that they hate these obscure symptoms as they are almost always hard to pin point. Acute problems are always easier to diagnose.

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    • #62
      here we have a young horse started into work when he was a late 2, driving, You have had him (almost?) a year and he nearly 4

      I see a horse striding unevenly with a suspect left hind leg. He powers unevenly , it is subtle.

      I would back off the lunge and pole exercises.

      I would get a vet out for flexion exam with xray of the hocks and possible investigation of the sacrum. Toe dragging can arise in the sacrum as weel as reluctance to articulate. Bad hocks do not always = gimping lameness

      if cleared for work I would up the quiet walk work outside with hills within reason. Overall this young horse has seen a lot of work and the small arena with frequent turns are not useful when there might be a joint issue.


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      • #63
        I've now had several ponies that came from not the typical sporthorse background (one was a former Amish pony like yours) and have played the "is he unsound or is he weak?" guessing game with a couple of them. When it is very mild or hard to discern and my vet doesn't have any particular concerns, I pretty much abandon arena work as soon as I'm sure that I can stop/turn safely and spend my riding time going on trail rides that incorporate hills and other varied terrain, starting only at the walk and adding in trot, then a bit canter as the horse gets stronger. I try to focus on straightness and a good steady rhythm during the trail rides. This program has made a HUGE difference for them when I take them back in the arena 30 days to several months later. Even my trainer has been surprised by the improvement in the quality of gaits, particularly the canter, we are able to achieve without doing much arena schooling.

        I'm primarily a foxhunter though and don't compete much, so to me getting the horse comfortable outdoors is an essential part of training and while I want good solid basic flatwork training established, it doesn't make a big difference to me if it takes a little longer to establish it, though I know it drives some of my eventing friends nuts to watch how long I will basically just wander around on a new horse for before starting "serious" work.

        Sounds like you are already doing lots of work outside, just wanted to encourage you that even though it can take a while, I've had slow, steady hill work sort out a number of "interesting" pony canters!

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