Head bobbing at the trot?

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Head bobbing at the trot?

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    08-26-2009, 07:27 PM
Super Moderator
Head bobbing at the trot?

Lately I've been noticing that Lacey seems to be extra stiff in her hind legs (I've been trying to get her to stretch them before we do stuff to make her more comfy) and that every once in a while she'll bob her head as she's trotting (I've only noticed it when I lunge her). Now I've heard that head bobbing can signal that they're lame but she doesn't feel off when I ride her and she's perfectly happy to go as fast and faster than I want...

Should I be concerned and try to get the vet out sooner than was my plan? I'm planning to get the vet to come out sometime in the next few weeks because she's an old lady and she needs a check up and I'm pretty sure she has a melanoma (one of those gray horse tumors, I think) right under her tail that according to my trainer who asked her previous owner, she's had her whole life (they said it was some sort of injury but injuries aren't generally lumpy, right?) but it seems bigger than it was so I'm going to get it checked out.

She is getting old but I don't want to continue to ride her/make her work as hard as I am (maybe 10-15 minutes of cantering, 20 of trotting and 45 of walking twice a week) if it's causing her pain, yknow?
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    08-26-2009, 11:15 PM
A horses head usually doesn't move when it's trotting, so yes, bobbing is a sign of lameness. You may not be able to see a cause either. She could have an abcess, I've heard that horses are usually lame on and off when they have one. But unless you see which leg is sore, it's kind of impractical to soak every foot in epsom salt, although it won't hurt. Maybe you can post a video of her trotting and a more "experienced" eye can catch a bum leg? I'm not saying that you can't tell, it's just some people have a better eye for that kind of thing. I would just make sure she is given a good amount of time to warm up and cool down. You can always stretch her legs out after you ride or work her when she is still a little warm. As it gets colder, you may have to work her with a quarter sheet or cooler on, like this;

    08-27-2009, 12:32 AM
Super Moderator
I considered taking a video today but I only had my phone so it would have been a horrible video that would have made her look lame no matter what. Lol I'll try to remember to take the camera tomorrow and get a video then.
I totally agree that some people are better at telling which leg is off. I freely admit that I'm terrible at that sort of thing.
That would be yucky if it was an abscess. >.< It wouldn't surprise me though because my trainer has been continuously letting her hooves get super long (well, maybe not "super" long but way longer than I'd like) and then getting them trimmed. On top of that she has shoes on right now where she hasn't had them in at least 3 years and her feet are long again. Thankfully I'm taking over the farrier situation so it'll get better.
    09-01-2009, 08:24 PM
Super Moderator
I finally got a video. =D

She's getting her hooves trimmed on Monday which hopefully will help whatever is going on.
It'll probably be really choppy to begin with, I don't think youtube likes it when I upload videos from picasa...

    09-06-2009, 03:51 AM
She definitely looks lame to me, but I have a hard time localizing lameness (even though I spent a good part of the summer trying to watch exams and learn!) I think you should have the vet out for a look and don't work or ride her until then. Could be an abscess brewing, or even a sore back. Always better safe than sorry (and I can tell from your other posts you put your horse's health first)
    09-06-2009, 12:17 PM
It looks like it may either be the left front or the right hind. It is hard for me to tell just from a video. But then again, she is getting old, she could be developing arthritis in one of her knees or hocks/shoulder or hip that could be causing it. Then again, it could be an abcess or maybe she pulled a muscle or tendon playing in the field. I would call the vet and see if you could get her appointment moved up.

And I understand about the melanoma thing, I had 2 taken off Dobe just this spring.
    09-06-2009, 12:55 PM
Super Moderator
Thanks for responding! =)
I was thinking that something is going on with her right hind because she's super stiff in it when I have her pick it up to pick out her feet (but she's usually stiff to varying degrees her back end). And it could be an abscess since her feet have not been getting optimal care and it could be that she strained something because she's very active in the field. If it is a strain, how long do you think it should take to clear up because this has been going on noticeably for around 2-3 weeks...?
It was weird, yesterday when I free lunged her (it rained really hard yesterday, all day) she wasn't off at all like she is in the video. >.<
The farrier is also coming out tomorrow to do her feet and take off her shoes which may help, I'm hoping. Her feet are super long right now and I'm pretty sure that's not going to help any arthritis that may be going on. Lol

I'll definitely try to get the vet out as soon as possible. I tried emailing them for an estimate and the lady responded once then never responded with the estimate. >.< I'm going to try emailing again on Tuesday after the holiday and if no one responds I'm going to call.

Dumb melanomas! Lacey's looks like she has a huge chunk of poo stuck to her butt. >.<
    09-06-2009, 05:58 PM
Same for me, left front or right hind. But sometimes being off in one will make them off in the other for overcompensation. And you said she was stiff behind when you pick it up? Is she sucking it in underneath her, like pulling it in, or is it just hard to pick up?
    09-06-2009, 07:42 PM
Super Moderator
She pulls it way up high underneath her then it takes a minute for her to relax it down to where I can actually pick it out. She does it on both sides in the back but she pulls it up tighter and takes longer to let it down on the right.
I've tried stretching her legs out behind her gently after I pick them out to help her get out any kinks that are there and she really really likes that. She's actually started "helping" me. Haha
She's very willing to pick up her back feet, more so than her front ones. She's also very willing to trot and she's still as hard as ever to get into a walk from a trot on the lunge line. Haha
    09-07-2009, 02:12 AM
So on my dial up connection the video was totally useless. However, head bobbing is usually more ass. With the front, than the rear. Horses only show what hurts most, so if she is a tad stiff in the back end, that doesn't mean she's not having some front end troubles. But, not being to see the video, I'm just speculating here. Also, you said she doesn't mind picking up the hinds, but does the front. They don't like shifting weight onto sore legs, and while they shift front/back, the also shift to the side, so a bad fore foot will cause the other fore to be difficult to pick up. Check for swellings in the fetlock area. Unusual lumps there indicate sesamoid injury/arthrosis. Bad shoulders, navicular, etc can all cause head bobbing. I'd look to the front. Bad hind ends tend to cause more subtle lameness, like a hip that drops quicker, or a leg lingers extended longer in the stride or snaps forward quicker. Head bobbing is usually to pull the weight off the hurtful foreleg. Look to see what moment in stride she's gimping (bobbing) when the heel hits, (if she lands heel first, that is-if not, that's a good place to look-the back of the hoof) or if she's really bobbing as she breaks over the toe (tendong pain, from long toes, or abscesss/bruise/thin sole at toe).

Good luck!

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