Could a very over-at-the-knee, 16 year-old gelding manage a one-day trek? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-24-2013, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Could a very over-at-the-knee, 16 year-old gelding manage a one-day trek?

Hey all,
There's a day trek coming up on the 30th of November, and I was thinking that maybe I could do it with my 6 year old gelding, Luca. He's pretty green, but easy to control, so I think this could be a great learning experience for him (and me! :P ). My sister is going, too, but she's not too sure if her 16 year old gelding could manage it.*

The trek is day-trek (from mid-day to mid-afternoon) at a walking pace and the place where it's going to be is not too far away fom home (40km) . However, Syd (my sister's horse) is very over at the knee, causing his pasterns to seem long and overbent, and my sister is worried that the trek might cause his muscles there to strain too much.*

Here's some pics:
front legs, without a rider:
While being ridden:
Another ridden one:

So, I'm wondering if he would be able to do it comfortably and if there's a way to strengthen those overbending leg muscles to help him manage the overbending more? A good hoof trimming seems to help a tiny bit, so we'll have the farrier come out a few days before the trek, too. Other than that, any suggestions?*


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post #2 of 17 Old 10-24-2013, 07:53 PM
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I always thought buck-kneed and over-at-the-knee were two different things. I would consider this horse buck-kneed. But when I Googled buck-kneed horses I see a lot of folks use the term interchangeably.

Anyway, only you and your sister knows her horse and what his is comfortable with, but apparently even race horses can be buck-kneed and still race. So I would think he could do normal trail riding at a walk.

Here is an article I found:

Julie Goodnight Natural Horsemanship / Horse Master TV Show
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-24-2013, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply and the link.
Hmm, I always thought that buck-kneed and over at the knee were the same thing...interesting. I'm gonna do some more research on that.

Syd (the horse) is also barefoot and doesn't like walking on gravel. At least the trek is across farmland...nice, lush meadows.

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post #4 of 17 Old 10-25-2013, 12:05 AM
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I think he should be fine, but of course if he shows discomfort pull out. Those are some seriously wonky front legs! if he is fine with daily riding, and in good condition, I don't see why not.

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post #5 of 17 Old 10-25-2013, 02:02 AM
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Hi, I wouldn't personally be riding a horse like this. He may be fine with a day ride, but this sort of problem causes progressive damage and will also make him a lot less sure footed & likely to stumble, so potentially dangerous to ride too. Toe-first impacts are a major cause of damage. Without a functioning 'stay aperatus' he's also likely to get tired quickly & suffer from exhaustion, because he can't relax completely or sleep standing.

As he's 16yo, if he's been like this long term, unfortunately his joints may have ossified like that, making changes difficult or impossible, but keeping hooves well trimmed *and adequately treated & protected* so that he's comfortable using his heels - that will likely include padding them - should improve the situation.

**Oh & OT but as those pics didn't show much(can't judge this well when horse is walking), I scrolled thru a few previous pics & have to say PLEASE don't tie your horse solid in a rope halter like that, so low & halter so low on his nose, particularly to something insecure like that frame.
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Last edited by loosie; 10-25-2013 at 02:05 AM.
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-26-2013, 11:44 PM
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I would error on the safe side and say no. If he does go lame, it may take months for him to start feeling better if ever. I would not risk pushing my horse (especially if the horse has a known issue).

He could go on the ride and do fine, but are you predisposing him for further damage by taking him? Is there a friend or someone else's horse you can borrow? I would put up an ad that you are looking for a horse to do a few events with (long rides) and willing to pay X amount.

As long as you aren't a crazy rider, I think you may have better luck finding a horse to borrow.

Even with the light riding you do, he may eventually go lame on you. You want to keep him in enough work to keep him fit, but not so much work that he gets sore or stresses his joints. Any way you can do only half the ride?

Goodluck. It is hard having a horse with limitations.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-27-2013, 05:24 PM
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Unless the horse has soundness issues directly relate his knees, being over at the knee has nothing to do with his ability to go out on trails. I had a gelding for a few years who was just as severely over at the knee, and the dude could do anything you asked of him. He jumped, he did dressage, he did cross country, trails, we even used him for vaulting lessons. That horse was amazing.

If the horse isn't sore or lame, there is no reason why he shouldnt be able to go. I would recommend him seeing a farrier first tho. His feet looked in rough shape.
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-03-2013, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the replies.
Syd isn't lame or sore, in fact, he's very energetic in the paddock and while being ridden.

He's never been lame with us, except when he injured his hoof (nothing to do with his legs, could have happened to any other horse) but he recovered very quickly and was only lame for two days.

He is great to ride, walks normally on grass and other horse-friendly surfaces. He walks cautiously when he's on gravel, though.

Oh, and about what loosie said about tying horses solid with a rope halter, those were pics from more than a year ago, when I had just gotten my horse. I didn't tie him there, and the rope halter was too loose, I know :/

He got a new one a few days later, though and I always tie him (with a quick release knot) to the fence.
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post #9 of 17 Old 11-03-2013, 06:26 PM
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Dreamcatcher5 Iv always have tied my horse with a rope halter on never has been an issue. I only own rope halters hate the nylon flat halters.

Also have a had horse that was over at the knees and she did fine with riding never took a lame step.
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post #10 of 17 Old 11-03-2013, 07:16 PM
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No real comment on the knees. I go by what the horse tells me. He will make discomfort clear. Listen to him. Over at the knees is not a big deal. Its usually a product of lots of hard work/arthritis so going slow and easy is a good idea and maybe a joint supplement. I might give an anti inflammatory afterwards if i thought the horse needed et. Kinda like asprin after a workout when you are getting older and stiff like I am lol. 16 isnt that old here. Its kinda prime age range still these days.


on the rope halter tying, ALL my horses tie solid is a rope halter ;) we camp and highline and I want to know for SURE my horse will be there when I wake up. Nothing wrong with it. I keep a knife on hand just in case but my horses are all rope smart and hobble trained. Its all in the training. OT but a pet peeve of mine. Horses should tie solid period. If they break things when they spook even by accident, that is how they learn to set back. They can get serious injuries with a hardware halter breaking when they set back and flip. Ive known horses tied in break aways that flipped over and banged their heads so hard they didnt survive. Its always better to tie solid with strong equipment in most situations unless you are using something like the Clip or the tie rings etc.

But you shouldnt be be tying to wobby things of course, nor should you ever tie lower than the horses wither and the halter should fit correctly. My beef is with trying solid in a rope halter ;)
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Last edited by Trinity3205; 11-03-2013 at 07:20 PM.
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