HELP! Lameness in my dressage horse! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 21 Old 01-19-2012, 04:48 PM
Green Broke
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His front leg with the sidebone is a smidge shorter than his other 3 which caused it.

He wasn't started until 3 1/2, his trainer backed him very lightly and then threw him back out in the pasture as he was immature mentally. At 4 she let a few teens ride him 1-2x a week in lessons and then I bought him. So definitely not started early and he didn't get his first shoes until recently when he bruised his back right foot, so he wasn't shod early either.
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post #12 of 21 Old 01-19-2012, 07:06 PM
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i agree with the saddle check AND with getting a second vet opinion/thoughts. not saying that your vet isn't great, but who wouldn't want a second opinion if nothing has worked thus far?
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post #13 of 21 Old 01-19-2012, 07:18 PM
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The description of his lameness is very similar to my lesson horse. She's been lame for probably 3+ months now. We were thinking maybe she had lyme but the test came back negative. X-rays and lameness exam haven't been done because my barn owner doesn't have the money. Like your guy she is fine at the walk and out in the pasture but when riding she is off at the trot, the first time I noticed it didn't even feel like she was lame, just not normal. I think her issue is the back end tho, she's not tracking up right, and she is also more off on a bend and is only off every few strides.

I know that wasn't helpful, but I feel your frustration with not having any answers. I hope you can find the reason your horse is off soon, Good luck!
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post #14 of 21 Old 01-19-2012, 08:46 PM
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If you think it's his feet, how about some pics? Check out the link in my signature for tips.

Oh & thanks for explanation Delfina, now I understand. Interested to know, is that foot much higher?
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post #15 of 21 Old 01-19-2012, 11:20 PM
Green Broke
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Nope, he waffled a bit on a the flexion test during his PPE so we did X-rays, otherwise we wouldn't know. Since I do know, I am careful about the footing he's worked in, am very careful to warm him up slowly and if it's really wet/slippery outside, he stays in and gets handwalked for exercise that day.

I have a buyback clause on him should become lame as a result of the sidebone. Not sure I'd sell him back though if he became lame.... he's one heck of a fantastic horse.
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post #16 of 21 Old 01-20-2012, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by pestle View Post
Thanks Delfina,

I really appreciate the offer. I am actually very happy with my vet. I would love any sage old horsemanship advice though. I've often found that vets are superb at diagnosis and acute management but the long-term management always relies on the owner to try and work-out what seems to keep the horse comfortable.

My vet is coming out again next week to re-assess him after being on the NSAIDs and vasodilator, I'll try and ask management related questions then!

But your gelding has stayed sound then? If so, that's great!
Advice from an old horseman? Guess you're singing my song.

First, post the radiographs. I'd like to see the extent of the calcification and a palmar view of the distal interphalangeal joint position in the capsule.

You mentioned that your farrier applied barshoes. Not my first choice for sidebone. While a barshoe will provide caudal support, unless the shoe is heavily "safed", it will offer the same medial/lateral ground reaction force resistance as any plain keg shoe. The trick with sidebone related lameness is to reduce that m/l resistance.

While your farrier could fabricate a strong sidebone shoe, it's a lot easier and common practice to simply install a set of half-round shoes. Half-rounds ease breakover along the medial/lateral axis, reducing stress the ossified cartilages place on sensitive tissues. Since it's not considered "therapeutic" shoeing, the cost is typically the same as a standard half set of kegs.

A half-round will sharply reduce lateral breakover resistance through 50% of the shoe's web width. Your farrier can increase this value, if needed, by building a wider web shoe and safeing up to 3/4 of the web width.

Use care when selecting pre-manufactured (keg shoes) half-round shoes. Many are sold in web widths that, in my view, are not wide enough through the web dimension. Choose half-round shoes with at least a 3/4" web.

Personally, I really like the Kerckhaert Classic Roller. It provides solid support via a wide web and all the benefits of a half-round. The shoe also offers better support in the heel than most traditional half rounds.

Kerckhaert - Classic Roller - Stockhoff's Horseshoes and Supplies

Best luck and, as always....


(Old guy, professional farrier and horseman)

Last edited by Horseman56; 01-20-2012 at 12:45 AM.
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post #17 of 21 Old 01-25-2012, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the advice so far.

We decided to take my horse to a University Veterinary Hospital to have a diagnostic evaluation.

So far the investigations haven't yielded any results.

What we know so far is that the lameness is in the right foreleg.
After blocking the right foot successfully the vets determined despite the odds the pain is not originating from the foot. So that rules out sidebone causing the lameness. I was told that they were 99% certain they blocked properly and that the foot was not involved.

Next the vets evaluated the fetlock and ruled out that as a possibility. Again they were confident with their nerve block that the right fetlock is not causing the problem.

Next came the right knee. Regrettably we ran out of time as the clinic was closing and we couldn't leave my horse overnight for further investigations (hadn't packed for it). We had to turn around and come home.

We were told that 70% of lameness is in the foot. And that it's possible that the knee is involved. The approach should we proceed would be to progressively block the nerves innervating the knee and do more xrays of the knee and possibly do an ultrasound for his shoulder...We already have xrays of his knees (only 2) and are considering different angles.

I am really disappointed and frustrated because I want to know what's going on to cause him pain and what I can do about it. I am also frustrated because I think in a 16 year old horse who doesn't have a history of acute trauma and with no history of swelling or inflammation there must be a limited number of things it can be.... Also please keep in mind he hasn't improved AT ALL over his 4 1/2 months of rest. Initially we would "work out" of his lameness after warming up. In December he no longer 'worked out it" (He was only ridden for 15-20mins 3 times over the 4 months).

Here is a video of him in walk.

BWJ walk 1 - YouTube

Additionally, he had no relief after being on painkillers for 20 days. He was still lame.

I understand shoulder injuries are really unlikely, but how do I rule this out? What about likely causes of injury to the knee or above?

I am really devastated... I've had my horse for 10 years and after eventing at Entry level when he was 6 years old he has only been schooled in dressage. He is not worked too hard. Any advice you have would be great...
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post #18 of 21 Old 01-25-2012, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Also, I don't have the radiographs... sorry I can't post them.

From what I understand there was no osteroarthritis in either fetlocks or knees
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post #19 of 21 Old 01-26-2012, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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We were told about the option of doing a bone scan (nuclear scintigraphy) to determine where the problem is (if the problem is related to bone or calcification of cartilage)... I am apprehensive about this option because I am not sure how likely anything is to show up on a scan 5 months after the initial lameness.

I was told if we want to do the bone scan my horse would have to go back to work for 3 weeks and gradually bring him back, with the hope of mildly inflamming the area causing the lameness and then the imaging would be done.

So now our options are:
1. Continue blocking nerves +/- xrays +/- ultrasounds
2. Bone scan +/- blocking nerves and some other imaging...

I know we could pursue all of this and still turn up with nothing. Some people might think "why bother looking for anything in a 16 year old horse", but my answer to that is that I want to keep him going comfortably and with good care I was hoping we would be ridable into his mid 20's. Aside from this issue he is in excellent health and I had no intention of retiring him at 20, just reducing his workload as this lameness is really devastating for me, despite his age.
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post #20 of 21 Old 01-26-2012, 11:00 PM
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This is in no way scientific, but I have had and heard great success using these on horses such as yours. They seem to be very therapeutic for many horses easing pain from impact through the leg and body. They are inexpensive and can be easily pulled off if they dont work for you. Im sure there will be a slew of farriers who will disagree, but I have personally used them and know they do work very well in many cases. Any farrier can apply them with normal farrier tools and most of them that try them only becasue a customer wanted to end up impressed after being completely sceptical. Also, they wear better than iron as stated with a money back guarentee. I find 3 settings to be typical if not more. Good luck.


Married to my One! 10-11-13 Steampunk style:)
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lameness , lameness in knee , lameness in shoulder , management

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