Faking? or Real? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 08-23-2014, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Faking? or Real?

Ok so ive got a dilema. its a little complicated so ill start from the beginning.

Last summer around August my 12 year old quarter horse accidentally ran himself into a post out in the pasture while running around. He came up lame at the trot and was on stall rest and hand grazing for about a month and a half. After that he was fine and w/t/c beautifully. We did a drill team and participated in some speed shows and he was perfect. But then around late May of this year he pulled up seriously lame again. We determined he had thrush and started treatment immedately but nothing changed. We called the farrier out and he said the infection was serious (it was a really wet summer) and he has a few stone bruises, he said the only way to fix the problems was shoes, so we had shoes put on him.

Today his thrush is gone and so are the bruises, but hes still limping! I recently took him to the beach (he loves water) and he had a great time! w/t/c no problem and had so much fun. But whenever i go to ride him he limps ( except for that one time). An dim wondering is he really in pain? or has he figured out that if he favors his leg he will get out of work? He doesnt limp in the pasture at all even when hes running just when im on him. Please Help! I would really like to avoid bringing our vet out, he is really expensive and unfortunately the only one in the area. Even my trainer with 30+ years of experience isnt even sure whats wrong!
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post #2 of 36 Old 08-23-2014, 11:30 PM
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Well he needs a vet... no random person on the internet is going to be able to diagnose him....

Why are you surprised he's only lame under saddle? He's got an extra 150lbs or so to carry and to balance.

Thrush would have to be VERY VERY severe to make a horse "seriously lame". Even in very bad cases it's uncommon to see any lameness. The most I've ever seen is a very slight tenderness with BAD thrush.

There is obviously more going on and the horse needs to see a vet yesterday. Waiting so see if severe long term lameness will eventually go away on it's own isn't really the best plan...

And PLEASE do not be riding him! He's obviously hurting.

I don't know why you would think he would be faking...there is no basis for it. (Though I have seen animals do that, does not at ALL sound like the situation here) I'm assuming the footing on the beach is very different. If you're really that suspicious you could try it again but the only way to know is with a vet.
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post #3 of 36 Old 08-24-2014, 12:54 AM
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one reason a horse might not show lameness in a new situation is that it's so stimulating that they move out with energy, from their fear/anxiety/excitement about the new surroundings. they will not notice the pain, I guess.

I've ridden a horse that seems slightly lame in an off/on manner, where I am not sure where, or if, they ARE lame. I continue to ride, experimenting with this and that to see if it helps me discern what/where the problem is. if they are actually limping from the get go, or every single time we take up a trot, then it's time to get off.
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post #4 of 36 Old 08-24-2014, 03:08 AM
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I've seen a horse that learned how to fake it - only once in 40 years. He was an auction horse bought by a rental stable.

To see if it's real pain - give him a good dose of bute two hours before you ride. If his lameness is diminished - then there is real pain going on. He may have developed some osteo or tendon/ligament problem. At that point you'll need to haul him to a vet for diagnostic.
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post #5 of 36 Old 08-24-2014, 03:42 AM
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Good advice.
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post #6 of 36 Old 08-24-2014, 08:36 AM
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Horses are, as a rule, and unlike a lot of humans, honest animals. It is extremely rare for one to learn to "fake it". It would take some serious training to teach one that response.
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post #7 of 36 Old 08-24-2014, 11:28 AM
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The horse was described as limping and as "seriously lame" doesn't sound "off" to me or like something to experiment with.

OP If you try the bute trial, which may or may not have any effect and may or may not show anything. (I would not recommend this in this situation) Please do NOT ride the horse if he becomes sound. If he is very slightly lame and the bute makes him better he still should not be ridden except VERY briefly as part of the trial. The injury is still there. The pain is there for a reason and the horse shouldn't be pushed.

If your trainer is so experienced I would assume she already mentioned that if she thought it was necessary. What does she think of the vet? The horse needs a vet.

OP how would you classify his lameness right now? Still only under saddle? Where is it 1-10 (10 being bad)? Which leg is it?
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post #8 of 36 Old 08-24-2014, 10:43 PM
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Nothing to ad. Horse needs a vet.

If you'd like a hoof critique - some experienced opinions on the state of his feet, you can check out the link below for info on what photos are helpful.
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post #9 of 36 Old 08-25-2014, 12:11 AM
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I have seen two horses who fake lameness. It's not all that farfetched, they make the connection between limping/being off and not having to work or being turned out.

However, I fully believe it's better to get the vet out and check. It's never a good thing to assume and then have consequences later. Vets are expensive, but it's something that you have to unfortunately deal with when owning horses. They are not cheap animals!

Hope you keep us updated, curious to see what the vet says if you have one out.
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post #10 of 36 Old 08-26-2014, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by squirrelfood View Post
Horses are, as a rule, and unlike a lot of humans, honest animals. It is extremely rare for one to learn to "fake it". It would take some serious training to teach one that response.
Well then my late TB broke that rule. Faked limping in the show ring with kids then walked normal after walking out of the ring. Pretended to faint with equipment on him then huff and puff and pout if no one saw him then would repeat. Heck, he even smiled at judges (embarrassing). Horse needed a good stern "Knock it off!" or whack.

Horses aren't dogs; they are far more cognitively developed than many realize.
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