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New Member
Username: gothorse

Post Number: 1
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 - 6:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a 14 yr old QH mare that I've been riding for about 8 yrs. She's been a team-penning, sorting, and trailriding horse. About 3 years ago, I moved and was busy with work and not riding too much so I bred the mare, and she foaled with no complications (her 2nd foal). I started riding the horse again about 18 months ago and noticed that she seemed to have an intermittent limp on the front right foot . She would start to limp after you'd been in the saddle for a while like on an all day trailride. I checked with my farrier and we shod her (she's worn shoes before), and the limp went away. I haven't felt her limping in 10 months. I joined a drill team, and I was concerned about her feet as I hadn't taken her to a vet. So, I had my vet look at her and determined that she wasn't navicular or foundered. Since starting the drill team, she's reluctant to pick up her right lead, cross-canters (extremely uncomfortable), and really leans into the circles. As I've never had any out of the ordinary behavioral or training problems with her before, I know something is wrong. My problem is I don't know what it is, and I've read everything there is to read about lameness problems on the internet and I'm confusing myself. I've had my saddle checked, I'm comfortable with my farrier, her weight is good, she's got no heat or puffiness in her legs, no visible signs of limping, she doesn't flinch when I push around her back, from the ground she seems flexible and yielding, her teeth have been floated. Given her riding history, its not improbable that she has some arthritis, but I don't want to disguise a problem with a supplement and in the back of my mind I keep wondering if that's what we did when we put shoes on her. When she was limping, I thought that maybe she'd mildly foundered when she was in foal.

I guess I'm trying to sort this out, and figure out what I need to do next. Could she have foundered and it's so slight that it doesn't show up on x-rays? The limp was never visible to the vet, my husband, or myself, but it was something that I could feel. If she was still lame, it could explain the other problems.
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Angie J.
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1350
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 - 7:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Welcome to HA.

I don't have answers for you and I hope you get it figured out.

I have a gelding who I saw get kicked in the shoulder when I had just bought him. He was a yearling then. He limps comes and goes. He was lame immediately afterwards, so I know it was from the kick to the shoulder/chest.

Besides pushing on her back, try going up her neck and "pinching" each vertebra. Does she flinch at a certain spot? See how flexible she is side to side, can she bring her head to your toe comfortably? Does she seem to have problems with having one foot up for trimming? O.k. with it back, not so good stretched to the front? What about holding the foot up, knee bent, can you move her hoof from side to side?

These were some the things my farrier did to see if my horse still had a shoulder problem or something else was wrong. I am not an expert and I know DrO will have more suggestions for you.

I found for my guy, he can be great for months at a time, then he's a litte bit off again. A good joint supplement with HA included seems to help and that might be an option.

The things this mare did all were things that were hard on a horses joints; lots of stopping, starting and turning. She may just be wore out and be best for only light riding from now on.

Good luck in finding answers and again, welcome.
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Martha E. Mitchell
Username: mitma

Post Number: 123
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 - 10:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Welcome "GH",
You will find this site so incredibly USEFUL!!! So sorry your mare is having problems... by you're description, I couldn't help but wonder if some of what you "feel" might be her experiencing difficulty with her own proprioception... i.e., her knowing where her body parts are located in space... Let me explain more, you should close your eyes, hold out your hands, and have your husband move one of your fingers up or down... now, your ability to know "where" your finger is (either up or down) without visual input is known as proprioception and is a function of your cerebellum and spinal cord. Since it seems you've had your vet do a thorough lameness exam (that did occur, right???), I can't help but wonder if she has some early, subtle neurologic condition (EPM or maybe CSM)... I recently acquired a horse with EPM and, apparently, her only "visible" symptoms were random back lead changes which (by someone else) were felt to be "behavioral"...NOT!!! Now, I think EPM (see Dr. O's great article, as well as the one on neurologic assessments...) is uncommon in older horses, but it has been observed in all age horses. Anyway, maybe your vet could do a neurologic exam??? Good Luck and I really hope this turns out well for you and your mare!!!
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Username: maggienm

Post Number: 533
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 - 11:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, gothorse, welcome to the best horsesite on the internet.

Do you only feel the lamenes on a circle? Or one lead in particular? Many horses are quite stiff on one side, even horses that are ridden frequently. So stiff they can be jarring to ride and feel so awkward the rider thinks something must be wrong.

I have seen many horses helped by a chiropractor. One of my barn mates had a mare with very similar sounding symtoms, which included swapping leads behind and an occasional buck on one lead. One session with a chiropractor fixed it. No lameness, no bucking, no lead swapping.
keep us 'posted'
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Username: dro

Post Number: 19117
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 - 10:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Welcome gothorse,
First let's be clear: the localization of where lameness comes from is rarely accurately done by radiography (for instance radiography can miss or misdiagnose founder) and accurate localization is the first step to figuring the cause. So I want you to carefully study the article, Diseases of Horses » Lameness » Localizing Lameness in the Horse. It both discusses diagnosis and localization and if your horse is lame, some rear leg lameness can be felt but are hard to visualize with careful experienced evaluation.
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New Member
Username: gothorse

Post Number: 2
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 - 10:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for all the great responses. I took a spur of the moment river trip and just got back. This is a good site and I've been lurking for a few months.

Angie - The vet did a flexion test. None, of the tests were conclusive. Basically, she didn't show any signs of pain. I've tried running my hands up and down her back, but I'm not sure what I'm doing so I'm not getting any results. I can flex her head to either side. As for her use, I'm expecting to see signs of aging in her, and I've got another horse that I've been working with for the harder riding. But, I don't want the horse to be in pain.

Martha - I discussed EPM with my vet. He said that I could treat her for it if I wanted, but he said that she didn't have any other symptoms of EPM (ie sensitivity, head tilting, etc.) He said I'd waste my money running blood work, because he'd be more surprised if she didn't test positive. We live very rural and have all kinds of nocturnal animals running around. I've read Dr O's reports on EPM and most of his other articles on lameness. I think I have more info than I know what to do with

Lori - Someone's already brought up a chiropractor, and I'm very tempted to use one if it would make her feel better. I've talked to three people about them and one person thought it was great, but the other two seemed to be of the opinion that it didn't hurt, but it didn't help. She used to pick up both leads, but was more natural on the left. Now, I'm not always sure that she'll catch her right lead. The cross cantering only happens in the drill when we change direction. It's like she's switching, but not all the way.

I really think the mare is lame somewhere. I thought the feet, but maybe its someplace else. I want to take her back to the vet, but I don't have any visible symptoms other than the lead switching to discuss.
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Angie J.
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1356
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 - 1:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Can you video her at all her gaits, preferably in a straight line at liberty, and the watch the video in slow mode? Watch for equal extension and hoof placement. My guy just gets a slight hesitation in the trot when bringing the leg forward. This is when he's not showing any obvious gimpiness, but seems off.

It's worth a try to help to try and pinpoint the area.
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