I purchased my horse Red last year in May. He is 7 years old this year. In January, he got into the fence on his hind left leg which put him on stall rest for a month. When he was ready for it (probably was end of March), my vet did a annual health exam on him which included a lameness eval. He checked out fine.
Been riding him since then and training him for barrels (recent video here .... Critique VIDEO - barrels and poles which we have a lot of work to do!!!) For the last few weeks, his trot has sometimes felt "off" to me in that I'd notice a head bob every now and then. I know his trot is not real balanced at this point (according to the reining trainer I took him to in May) so I kinda chaulked it up to that, since he just had a lameness eval in March. Well my mother had the chance to ride him last weekend and she commented on it too. I thought well if she noticed it, then it must really be there.
I took him to the vet this morning.
He has good feet. He has pretty good looking legs, besides being a little bit pigeon-toed on the front. But overall, his conformation isn't too bad at all. She thought he looked worse on the left front, although possibly sore on both front feet. She did a nerve block on the heel area of the left front. He was then perfectly fine on his left side, but then worse on his right. She did x-rays on his left front. There *may* be some slight navicular changes .... but maybe not. Nothing that she thought would be causing his lameness. He also has the side bones coming off his coffin bone (now I may be mis-quoting that as far as medical terms) that she said some horses can get points on, and they can break off and cause lameness, but Red's are pretty symmetrical on each side and they are rounded and not seeming to make any contact with anything.
But even though he looks fairly balanced from the outside, we can see that his coffin bone joint and the pastern bone joint are both crooked. And actually opposite in direction of each other. So this is what she thinks is giving him the soundness issue. Because his physical joints are crooked, it's putting weird stress on the joints.
So our plan of action is to do some corrective shoeing. Her husband is a farrier so he looked at Red on the spot (he didn't have time today to work on him, but my vet here is very capable of doing it and has worked with this vet a lot). He even said himself that he absolutely hates to put a shoe on him because he's got thick sole, a good heel, and great looking feet. But clearly, his joints are crooked and he needs something. We might try just a regular shoe, or may try a very low wedge shoe. Give him bute for 5 days after he's shoed, and then give it a few weeks to see how he does. And of course it may take some trial and error to find something that works.
Worst case scenario if the shoeing does not help, she may have to inject him. But she doesn't want to jump into injecting him unless he absolutely needs it, because he is only 7-yr-old. And I have his long-term livelihood in mind.
Has anyone had experience with a horse with crooked joints?
What did you do?
How long did the horse last for you?