horse lame only when being lunged in one direction

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horse lame only when being lunged in one direction

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  • My horse runs off when lunged one way
  • Horse lame on tight turn when coming out in the morning

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    12-20-2011, 05:31 PM
Question horse lame only when being lunged in one direction

My horse has come up lame when being lunged but only in one direction. Fine at a walk but very lame in the trot when going counter-clockwise, fine at a walk and trot going the other direction. Fine on the straight.

I believed it was an abscess as she has already had one this season due to the incredibly wet season we have had, however it has been over a week now and there is no soreness on the sole and no heat in the leg. Usually I would just get the farrier however it is 4 days before christmas (eek!).

I found a previous post on this forum regarding something similar however no resolution was ever posted:

Lame in one direction and not the other??

Thanks in advance.
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    12-20-2011, 10:40 PM
Super Moderator
You probably need a Vet or Farrier or some other knowledgeable person if this does not resolve quickly. Shoulders and feet usually are the culprits when you have a lameness that is decidedly worse going one direction.

Checking hooves is best done using hoof testers. You will probably need a Vet or Farrier for that.

Then, every other part of the horse's leg can be checked with manual palpation and flexion tests.

When testing a horse's leg, always check the horse's good leg first. You have to have something to compare it to. Some horses are more 'flinchy' and less tolerant that others, so you need to know what to expect.

You check a shoulder by folding up the front foot with the hoof at the horse's elbow and then lift the folded up leg as high as you can in front of it. Then, keeping the leg folded up but back under it, lift it out to the side. The shoulder does not hinge that way and it is a frequent source of pain if the horse slips or lets its leg go out to the side. You will find that sore spot instantly when you try to pull his leg out to the side.

You can go through every other joint on a horse by methodically examining every joint.

The other thing you can do is check for her very early in the morning. Check for heat in the feet and then work your way up. Once a horse has moved around, their legs and feet warm up. Early in the morning, they should be cold as ice.
    12-21-2011, 05:04 AM
Lunging is a great way to clarify whether lameness is in the lower limb or up higher.

When the horse is lamer on the inside of the circle then the lameness is in the foot, as the weight of the horse is more on the inside on a circle.

If lamer on the outside of the circle the lameness is higher up as the limb has to travel further on the outside.

As your horse has recently had an abscess I'd suggest that it either has another or the original has blown up again. Either way, have the vet/farrier in to open and drain the abscess.

In the meantime it won't hurt to poultice the foot and encourage the abscess to drain downwards.
    12-21-2011, 08:07 AM
Super Moderator
Hoof lameness is almost always on the inside hoof (inside of the circle). Shoulder lameness can be the inside shoulder or the outside shoulder, more frequently the outside one.

I used to drain abcesses by paring away the sole and soaking. Now, unless it is from ahot nail -- in which case it wll start draining just by pulling the anil out -- I usually opt for letting the abscess migrate up to the coronet and drain the way nature intended them to drain. They heal much more quickly and do not return nearly as often.

Soaking will speed them up; Antibiotics and anti-inflamatories will slow them down. The natural way is the best in the long run for me.

If a horse is VERY lame for more than a few days, I will opt for x-rays to make sure there is not something that got past me or the Vet or the farrier.
    12-21-2011, 09:51 AM
Originally Posted by ness    
My horse has come up lame when being lunged but only in one direction. Fine at a walk but very lame in the trot when going counter-clockwise, fine at a walk and trot going the other direction. Fine on the straight.
It is to the right or left? Head bob or hip drop?
    12-21-2011, 01:16 PM
Originally Posted by Cherie    
I usually opt for letting the abscess migrate up to the coronet and drain the way nature intended them to drain. They heal much more quickly and do not return nearly as often.
^^^ This is a very silly approach to dealing with an abscess - they DO NOT heal quicker from travelling upwards - you increase the path of infection and then develop a sinus that can trap and harbour infection for a very long time. At the same time the horse may end up with a damaged coronary band that causes the foot to grow back deformed.

You also risk the abscess travelling towards the pedal bone, and infected bone is more often than not the end of the horses working life. It is very hard to treat, involves major surgery and a lot of discomfort to the horse. Most are PTS!

Injected or oral antibiotics are not a great idea for an abscess - draining and poulticing drag it out whereas the antibiotic will cause the abscess to subside but is likely to flair up again over time.

Anti-inflamatories DON'T affect the healing of the abscess meerly alleviate the pain the horse is in.

To the OP - talk to your farrier/vet about finding the abscess, opening it up to allow it to drain, wet poultice for several days until the horse is sound. You can apply a topical antibiotic by squeezing antibiotic ointment directly into the hole. Below is a cheap and easy poultice boot. If your horse is shod ask the farrier to plug the hole with cottonwool and stockholm tar and put a leather pad between the shoe and sole. This will protect the sole and prevent any dirt being forced into the hole. As you say the horse had an abscess a few weeks ago it most likely hadn't completely drained.
mls likes this.
    12-21-2011, 05:10 PM
Short on time but just a little more info:

Previous abscess was in rear foot this is the front hoof inside leg lame when lunging.

Horse is not shod, I use a barefoot farrier.

Am reticent to treat for an abscess if there is no heat in the hoof or leg or soreness in the sole.

Lucky enough to keep my horse at the same place my farrier keeps his so hopefully should be able to get it treated this weekend.
I will ensure that I post more info when I find out what is wrong (nothing more frustrating than when someone finds resolution and just disappears!).
    12-21-2011, 05:14 PM
Ness - from experience I think you will find an abscess - the leg doesn't always swell or develop heat - I've had them almost on three legs with no other symptoms and its always been an abscess.

Sometimes though with poulticing the foot it softens the hoof and takes the pressure off and with the packing under the foot releives the lameness to a degree.
    08-11-2013, 08:18 PM
So what was the solution? My horse has the same symptoms currently. I have the vet coming out tomorrow just to be on the same side.
    08-11-2013, 08:42 PM
Turned out to be an abcess that didn't show itself properly for a further 3 weeks.

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