Bucking and falling down? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 03-25-2013, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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Bucking and falling down?

My mare has a weird lameness issue where she cross canters and bucks at the canter. Her trot is fine (mostly). Without flexions you can't tell she is even lame at the trot. I did have the vet out and he took X rays of both her hocks and stifle- the vet thought it was arthritis. He said it doesn't appear to be stifle lock. She is very obviously lame at the canter (very bouncy and uncomfortable).

I had her stifles injected which helped for one week. I started her on Pentosan and she has had 4 injections which I haven't really noticed any difference with.

Today I gave her a bath and turned her loose and she ran around bucking like a manic, lost her footing, flipped on her side and rolled over. (The ground was a little wet from last nights rain). Jumped back up and trotted off fine. I caught her and checked her out. No swelling, no lameness when trotting in a circle... But it scared the daylights out of me! She did the same thing about 4 months ago in the roundpen. I was working her at a trot, she took off bucking, and fell into the fence. (Nothing wrong with that footing as it is rarely used) It was wire fencing so the wire just bent out of the way. It was the same side as the one she fell on today.

I've had my other horse 13 years and have never seen her fall over while running in the field! She is retired and according to the vet probably has arthritis in every joint.

I'm starting to think I should take her to the vet school... Is it possible for EPM to be slow onset? But no other neurological signs- she can back, pivot, and you can pull on her tail... Some muscle loss on her topline, but she isn't being worked at all and the vet wasn't concerned.

Someone else told me to check her for EPSM as that can cause bucking and hindend issues. She is not a draft though. She is a Paint mare out of Hank a Chief and Easy Jet bloodlines.

The only other thing I can think of is that there is something wrong in her pelvis or stifles. My parents think I should just retire her and get a new horse. It just seems like there has to be more going on than just "arthritis".
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post #2 of 22 Old 03-25-2013, 02:38 AM
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Has the vet or a bodyworker(vet-chiro for eg) checked out her pelvis? How is her back, lumbar & sacro area?
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post #3 of 22 Old 03-25-2013, 09:57 AM
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Have you put her on a heavy dose of Bute or other pain killer before an exam? Sometimes the best way to check for pain (as opposed to neurological) is to give a pain killer and see if the horse travels differently. It can sure rule pain in or out.

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post #4 of 22 Old 03-25-2013, 10:08 AM
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For your own safety as much as her well being you should get her thoroughly checked out because she could go over with you on board
There are too many 'possibles' to second guess - could be back related, hips, stifle, hock or a pain spasm somewhere - even in her foot - that suddenly makes her not want to weight bear under extra strain
Your vet can nerve block various parts to see how she reacts when pressure's put on them
Since her arthritis is bad it might be the time to retire her as a companion for a new horse anyway
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post #5 of 22 Old 03-25-2013, 12:14 PM
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EPSM is not only for draft horses...there are two types, type II would be where the paints/QH fall in. Type II is tested through muscle biopsy.

My mare used to buck a lot at the canter and her legs would buckle and get twisted underneath her when slowing down. I witnessed her fall twice.
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post #6 of 22 Old 03-25-2013, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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The vet said her arthritis isn't very bad at all. That is what makes me wonder what else this could be. She has no OCD chips or anything other than some slightly narrowed joint space in her hocks and a slight area that was less dense than it should be in her stifles. Very very mild arthritis compared to my old mare's! Since the bucking is a chronic issue with her (she has never been right behind), the vet seemed to think it was arthritis.

Oldhorselady- was your horse EPSM positive? Some of her symptoms look like they might be EPSM. She has a hard time holding her back feet up for the farrier. Either she leans on you, and she has actually almost sat on my farrier a few times! Before her bucking episode yesterday she was stomping her hind feet the entire time I gave her a bath. I thought that was just her way of complaining though.

I don't ride her very much- maybe 15 minutes walk trot. She had last year off completely. It is only at the canter that she really shows issues. At first I thought it was a behavioral problem, but the one time I tried to push her through it she progressively got worse and worse so I knew right then that something wasn't right.

Bute doesn't seem to help. I had her on bute for weeks and it didn't do anything.

I think I might try the EPSM diet first and if that doesn't help I can always take her to the vet school. As long as she doesn't canter she is fine. That is what has always confused me- if it was arthritis I would be expecting her to start out slow and warm up better, and show something at the trot!

You can palpate her all over and not get a response. No back pain, and it can't be a saddle fit issue since I haven't been riding her.
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post #7 of 22 Old 03-25-2013, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the last time I cantered her under saddle. She is constantly switching her hind leads but it is not anywhere near as bad as the bucking fit she threw yesterday or the time she fell in the round pen. She looks so much easier to ride than she actually is! Her canter jars you with every stride. She will fix her lead for a stride or two but will swap the hind end immediately. It doesn't matter which direction or lead you are on- she will still swap the hind end. If you continue to push her she will start bucking.

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post #8 of 22 Old 03-25-2013, 02:08 PM
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seems to be pain to me looking at the video. I would maybe have a Chiropractor look at her. Do you have a good one in your area?

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post #9 of 22 Old 03-25-2013, 02:12 PM
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So she does this free, too? I must say, she is a gorgeous thing!!! It must be in her back or hips(JMH hypothesis) because it is definitely not training-- she looks like a dream to ride, once you fix this.

Good Luck! Sorry I cannot be more help.

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post #10 of 22 Old 03-26-2013, 12:43 AM
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My girl is young, just turning four next month. So, she was just started under saddle last summer, mostly trail riding, since anything in the round pen was impossible. In saying that, I've never cantered her under saddle and unless she makes some miraculous recovery in the next year, probably will never canter under saddle.

She has tested positive for Type I EPSM, but she is not out of the woods for Type II. She is a draft cross. QH/paints are usually Type II, only tested through muscle biopsy. I have opted to not go that route just yet since my other horse tested positive for Type I EPSM and they are both on the new diet right now. It was suggested to see if it helped and then I'd have my answer. So, that is where I am with her.

Now my percheron does have EPSM....but she doesn't disply any really wierd symptoms. She is older and she was badly neglected before I got her two years ago, so I figured because of her horrible topline and maybe arthritis, that she was just slow going and work was hard on her. But, I believe she is now doing better than ever.

I wish I could tell you what was going on with your mare. You can try the diet change, it won't hurt. It can take up to a year to change the muscles over to accepting fat as energy and seeing differences. I have had my two on it for a little over a month. We have had some better days with improvement, but today my draft/paint looked like a goofy pretzel in the round pen. Just have to keep going forward. If you are interested in watching video you can on You Tube under EPSM Snickers for the draft/paint mare and EPSM Belle for the percheron if that helps.
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