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What do you think about this?

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  • What do you think about this?


    So is he sore or confused? I posted over in the hunter forum, but since he hasn't been off the track long I want to see what y'all think. Last race Dec. 23rd. He does typically trot, but this funky "gait" is what he did when I first got him and it cropped back up again.

    I think we can agree there is an issue somewhere but we can't find it. He moved sound at the trot today for the vet and flexed fine. He is puffy in both front ankles, and we're giving him another 8 weeks off. But I don't think this sort of movement has anything to do with the front end. What do you think? Are we looking at two completely different issues. And where the heck do we go next for a dx?

    I'm totally in love with this horse so I'd like to give him all chances.

  • #2
    You will no doubt get more knowledgeable people responding, but here's my two cents. I think he needs to be more forward at this point, perhaps rider in the two-point, to help him build different muscles and balance from what he had at the track. One way to find out is to see if he moves normally on the longe line (or free longe if he doesn't understand the line).

    He stikes me as trying very hard to do what you want even if he doesn't quite now how.
    They don't call me frugal for nothing.
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


    • #3
      He nearly looks like a four beating western pleasure horse, OTTB style. I'd get up in a half seat and send him more forward.

      He looks very kind and like he's trying hard to figure out what you want, though!


      • #4
        Well first tell your rider he is not immortal and get a helmet on before riding a horse.

        OK I have dealt with almost the identical issue.....does he only due it indoors on in the ring..does he do it loose? When was he gelded? Make sure your saddle fits properly...do check his stifle with ultra sound I put mine on progesterone? And we trotted hills all summer. My horses issue was related to being a colt with rather large danglers and after gelding it took a while to get the muscle memory ..its not the front I don t unless he is really brave n tough...also he does need to get off the leg and go forward which might be the ankles..nice horse by the way


        • #5
          Just looks not forward. Have rider get in two point and have a light contact with his mouth, and canter FORWARD. You can get him to settle and slow later when he's built a little muscle.


          • #6
            The whole video, I kept wanting the rider to get off the horses back and urge him forward! I also thought the horse looked a little ouchy, but with that gait, who knows. Do you have any videos of him trotting?
            Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
            White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

            Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


            • #7
              I have seen lots of older "sore" horses do this as they warm up at the track. If a horse doesn't want to trot at that slow a speed, something is wrong. Frequently these horses will warm up out of this gait as they gallop, but it ususally indicates arthritis somewhere.
              I had one horse I trained that started doing that. He was diagnosed with a hairline fracture in the right pastern in front, loose stifles and arthritic ankles. I gave him 6 months off and the next season he did win a race. I am not good at training these types of horses to run but I have seen trainers that force the horse to train and then "medicate" for the race.
              Have you had him examined by a vet? Wouldn't hurt.
              My mom didn't raise no jellybean salesman!


              • #8
                He looks real close to stumbling to me. He also doesnt want to get off the ground in the least, which would indicate he's pretty sore in front somewhere. Have you had his feet xrayed?


                • #9
                  Looks like he's hobby-horsing to me. We've had quite a few of those come in to the farm. In most cases the horse is body sore and just doesn't know how the heck to use themselves.

                  I can't say if thats the case with this horse but I'd say pull the horse together and make him use himself and you'll see a major change. Letting the horse go around like that with a floppy rein isn't doing anything for him.

                  We have one of those in right now, he'd trot like he was crippled and would try to hobby horse the whole time unless you made him use himself. He'd gotten away with it for so long it was a natural gait for him, he had to learn to trot all over again.
                  Blog: My journey with two OTTB's


                  • #10
                    Horse looks sore behind, and now your seeing him compensate which is showing up in his ankles. Have him gone over by a vet, hocks, stifles, back. I'm always suspicious of hocks coming off the track as so many are sore. Sore hocks lead to sore backs and so many other problems.

                    Moving him forward will not make him move any better, just faster. When you had him jog for the vet was a rider on him? Sometimes the difference in 100 plus pounds can make a difference. Not to diss your vet but does he/she specialize in lameness issues?


                    • #11
                      His head is up, his back is hollow, he is getting zero input from the rider as to whether he wants him to speed up and canter or slow down and trot it appears. So he's not doing either! The rider's hunched, rounded shoulders, head down sack of potatoes motion isn't helping the horse out a bit. He looks like he's probably got glue in his butt but he isn't really working with the horse, he just looks like passenger. You'll probably say he's a fantastic champion rider of such and such but in this video I keep forgetting the horse and wanting to fix the rider!

                      I'd work on a conditioning program esp. one designed to help the musculature need to travel round, not hollow. Until his muscles are in better shape though it isn't fair to do more than ask for a little bit more "frame" each day. You can still go slow in a nice, round frame. I don't mean anything like rollkur, a horse really "on the bit" should be on a light contact not a death grip, it comes from pushing the horse forward and rounding up from between your legs, from underneath forward. LIke drawing a circle from the ground underneath him that goes behind him and around him along his midline through his ears and down in front back to the ground underneath. IF that makes any sense at all!

                      As a racehorse his muscles are totally different than what a hunter uses. So yes, he's going to be a bit sore. Same way you'd be sore if you were a sprinter and suddenly had to switch to cross country. Maybe some bute or supplements to ease his joints in the meantime, in case he has a touch of arthritis or something? Unless he shows some actual soreness or lameness I would keep him in light work and see if the conditioning work improves things or brings out the soreness.

                      Now if he has a long back and is kind of built hollow backed anyway (can't tell saddled) it will be much harder to get him "round" than for a naturally short backed horse with good musculature already. I think he'll improve with time.
                      Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                      Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


                      • #12
                        As much as I appreciate your post Summerhorse, I've galloped many horses at the track and brought many home to retrain as hunters/jumpers whatever. This horse should be pretty darn fit if he last raced in December. I would imagine he has had some time to be let down, turned out etc.

                        The horse is sore, not moving right, continued excersise is not going to fix his problems at this point. Granted, when retraining there is a reason to go slow, letting new muscles develop properly, and they may need a massage or chiro at some point to help them out, but they should be sound.

                        Issues like swollen ankles are coming from somewhere, a good lameness vet should be able to pinpoint the problem(s). Untill he can be properly assessed I would not ride him, from his video he is obviously a very unhappy (although willing) camper.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                          The horse is sore, not moving right, continued excersise is not going to fix his problems at this point. Granted, when retraining there is a reason to go slow, letting new muscles develop properly, and they may need a massage or chiro at some point to help them out, but they should be sound.
                          Agree 100%. Swollen ankles on an ex-race horse are from not having the same muscle develpment as a hunter? You must be joking, right? While the horse is being ridden poorly, that's not the cause of the soreness.

                          Did I get this right? An equine vet examined the horse, noted the swollen ankles, knew he came off the track recently but didn't bother to radiograph them? Not a good idea to exercise the poor horse in this condition either. Good grief.


                          • #14
                            He's not moving forward whatsoever, stumbling, dragging his feet badly, wringing his tail, humping his back and trying to crow hop, throwing his head down, chomping the bit. Certainly more than a case of just not wanting to move forward, that's a horse who is extremely uncomfortable (and not wanting to move forward BECAUSE he is in pain).

                            I've seen some older track horses who hobby horse and start out galloping similar to this (although never nearly this bad) because they are arthritic or sore but they warm up out of it. I imagine this horse has quite a bit more wrong than just puffy ankles and I'd be having a good chiro out to access him. To me it looks like there is pain all over


                            • #15
                              Has he been let down between his last race and now? Lucky was not just insanely race-fit when he first came, he was SORE. Not lame, but body-sore, like most people would be after a long season of very hard work. So stiff, achy, changing their footing/shoes from what they are used to at the track can make them footsore...they can HURT despite being technically 'sound' and doing less work than they were used to. An equine massage therapist and time did a lot for him while he adjusted to a new routine and a new level of fitness.
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                              • #16
                                I would turn him out, in as large an area as possible and just let him own for at least a couple months. A lot of racehorses get body sore because they are lowed to half jog half gallop a lot, instead of making them use their back muscles a trot properly. We have one that we claimed last year that moved like this, he does have some arthritic changes in his stifles, but we sent him out to a ranch where he was turned out with a herd from Oct. til mid Jan. he is now trotting normally and much stronger in his hind end. He probably has filling in his front ankles because he's having to use his front end more to drag the back end, nought it wouldn't hurt to X-ray and make sure there aren't chips....good luck, he looks like he has a lovely attitude.


                                • #17
                                  And what about his hoof angles? Agree, he looks sore - flat, hollow back. Really trying to go forward somewhat just to please, but not happy. (And yes, especially with someone sitting so deep in the saddle.)

                                  If he just raced in Dec, I'd think he'd need some time for his feet to grow out until your farrier can get an appropriate angle. Or just some let down time, period. Lots and lots of turn-out if you can get it. The ability to keep moving will help any arthritis. He seems very nice and quiet, though. A cute fellow.

                                  Try and find a good lameness vet when one is in your area. When my guy was first off the track, a local vet was used, and only one ankle x-ray was taken, showing arthritis. And there was loads of conjecture about what might be wrong with him - he'd buck - he'd canter funny - super sensitive to leg - to the point he was going to just be a pasture puff.

                                  A year later when I took him on, had a complete work-up done (cost me $700 with lots of x-rays, including ankles, hocks, spine) and we were able to pinpoint several things. Many things much better than expected. One issue not so good - kissing spine - which then required a custom saddle - but with the saddle that has turned out to be not as much of a problem as thought. My guy has done best with lots of turn-out - for both attitude and arthritis issues. But if yours is as nice and quiet in the first place, perhaps you can get by with a bit less.

                                  Good luck, and good for you getting an OTTB! One thing you will learn, they are often so willing to please - which is perhaps why yours is still going forward willingly while probably sore.
                                  But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                                  • #18
                                    That is a sore horse with a heart of gold. I'll take him. He's yelling at you with his body language and his tail, but bless 'im, he's trying his best despite the discomfort.

                                    Turn him out, let him down completely, if it were me it'd be at least two months, three or four even better, six not too much. If he has shoes on, pull them and ensure a good trim and then just let those feet grow a good 8 weeks before trimming again. Tincture of time is what he needs, not radiographs or messing with angles or anything else. When you see him frolicking like a pain free horse in the field- then start back with him slowly. He'll be a heckuva horse for the long run if you don't rush things.


                                    • #19
                                      Being race fit is not the same thing as being hunter fit. TOTALLY different way of going. I am not a psychic, so I don't know how sore he is and what it is from. I would think a vet might have a better idea, you know one that actually has seen him person. His ankles may be very sore. They may just be "ankles" and set. I don't know. He may be very sore or he may just be a crappy mover. He still needs some conditioning. I agree turnout would be best (several months at least) but I just got the feeling (correct me if I'm wrong OP) that turnout just wasn't in the plan? As for where to go to find out what his problem might be, obviously a lameness vet or a equine hospital. A few months of turnout (not stuck in a stall) might be cheaper though.
                                      Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                                      Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


                                      • #20
                                        Yes ,he's body sore and I see an issue left front and I'd xray to be sure about that.I'd do everything up front.I'd also throw hhim out for good turnout and probably start up with just some light tack walking in the future.Go slowly with him.