Help! Horse Mildly Lame but Cant Figure Out Why!

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Help! Horse Mildly Lame but Cant Figure Out Why!

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    08-22-2014, 04:35 PM
Help! Horse Mildly Lame but Cant Figure Out Why!

Its been three weeks since I have ridden my horse because he is mildly off (1/10 on scale) off. Background is, he is 19 years old, an OTTB, we only do dressage (Training/First level). He is ridden probably 4 days a week solid, sometimes more, sometimes less.

3 Sunday's ago I had my normal dressage lesson, and the following Monday I gave him off, as I usually give him the day after lessons off. When I went to the barn on Tuesday, he pulled off his right front shoe. I did not ride him, farrier came to put the shoe back on Wednesday morning.

Thursday I went out and lunged and noticed he was head bobbing at the trot only going to the left. No short striding, just a slight head bob. 100% sound going to the right at all 3 gaits, sound going to the left at walk and canter. I thought maybe his feet still hurt from the shoe thing and put him away.

Then Friday I was scheduled for another lesson. I hopped on and again, sound at walk both ways, sound at trot to the right, off at trot to the left, noticeable only in turns/on a circle. Still only the head bob and 1/10 lameness. No short striding etc. We didnt want to push it, so I did not have a lesson, and put him away. We all can agree whatever it is; it is in the left front.

Saturday and Sunday I lunged him in a halter to see if he was still off, he was. His feet are typical TB feet and he stomps because of the flies (I hadnt purchased my fly boots yet) it has also been raining a TON here. So I thought perhaps an abscess? Soaked his LF foot Saturday and Sunday, nothing happened.

Monday: I go out, he has taken off his back right shoe. Call farrier to see when he can come put that back on...

Tuesday go out, he pulled off his left front shoe. He is now wearing 2 EZ boots and 2 shoes.

Farrier comes out Wednesday and reshoes him completely, adding clips to his shoes because his feet have gotten bad. Farrier doesnt see any signs of abscess or bruising. I have a message therapist out in the evening, but she doesnt see anything abnormal.

He remains lame Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday - Just barely as you can see the head bob slightly in this video taken Sunday:

Monday he is still lame, Tuesday I finally do not go out there. Wednesday I go out there and lunge him. (mind you its been dry for 4 days finally) and he was sound! W/T/C on lunge line both directions. I opt to put him away after that and see if I could ride on Thursday.

Go out yesterday and he was back to being lame. Arena was sloppy messy, paddocks muddy due to it pouring rain on Wednesday night.

I am at a loss, it has been 3 weeks and I do not think it is a foot issue. It seems more like a soft tissue injury now. My barn owner isnt too keen on allowing me to use a stall... I really hope it isnt something serious because at 19..there is a very high possibility that he would have to retire.

Oh, to note, he never seems bothered by it and is still the same as normal. He is on arthritis meds and injections, and this sort of came on suddenly after all of the shoe issues. He is also a horse that likes to lay down to sleep and rolls a lot.

Any ideas?
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    08-22-2014, 04:51 PM
Well, its obviously quite impossible to say without seeing the horse.

That said, with so many different shoe problems, i'd bet it was a nail that wenr in hot and created an abcess. Have you tried soaking the foot in epsom salt? A couple days the abcess will be drawn out and it can drain
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    08-22-2014, 04:58 PM
Tried soaking 4 times in epsom salt and warm water and he wore a poultice boot, but nither drew out anything.
    08-22-2014, 05:24 PM
My gut tells me it's higher up on his left side, like maybe shoulder and is like strained tissue of some sort...might explain why the dry footing was ok and after rain (and presumably mud) it was worse. I'd love to hear the final diagnosis.
    08-22-2014, 05:53 PM
It could also be the back right. Lots of time a hind foot lameness show up in the opposite front..
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    08-22-2014, 06:17 PM
I'd wait a bit more and if no change, consider an ultrasound on the front left.
I considered that possibilty, of being off in the hind, but it does appear to be front left, and I agree that it could be higher.

Is there any difference to the gait when trotted on soft ground vs hard? Sometimes a ligament issue is WORSE in soft ground, since there is more sinking in and sucking out from sand. Can put a pull on a soft tissue injury.
Yogiwick likes this.
    08-22-2014, 09:12 PM
Thanks everyone, I just got back from the barn and funny you should mention the hard vs soft ground...because lessons were going on in the outdoor, I took him in the back (hard ground/grass and no footing round pen) to see him move. He is very much less lame on the hard ground than he is in the soft ground arena.

He was stretching his back a lot both directions today. Nose to the ground, and is probably a .5/10 on the lameness scale on the hard ground. I trotted him in hand on the pavement and he trots sound.

I came to wonder if it might be his back? He has those Mt. Everest withers and lovvves to roll, and I wonder if he tweaked himself when doing so? My friend is having her Vet/Chrio out to look at her horse -- and we will have him look at my boy too.

It sounds more and more like soft tissue though.
Yogiwick likes this.
    08-22-2014, 09:14 PM
Also that back right comment is curious because the massage therapist said his back right glutes were where his problem was last week.
    08-22-2014, 09:18 PM
Another barn friend has a really nice Thbd. He is trail sound. Hunts, too. But she cannot ride him in the sand arena due to the soft ground. Still, he's a lovely horse and a joy to ride, and just a bit differnt now.

Hope it's not a soft tissue injury, since they are hard to diagnose, and hard to heal.
    08-22-2014, 09:24 PM
At 19 y/o for him and my fresh out of college salary, it would be a real shame for him to have such an injury.

He used to hunt himself actually, I got given him last year because he was too much horse for his previous owner and I had no intentions of jumping him. (He has been a jumper 90% of his life and on the track till 5). He was going great in dressage, with qualifying scores for championships and training level horse of the year.

He has calmed down a lot, from a year ago. He is really dopey now and very happy. Very athletic and healthy, and a dream to take to shows and stuff since he has the best attitude. Im not ready to move on! Hahaha!
Chasin Ponies likes this.

acute lameness, head bobbing, lameness, left front, soft tissue

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