My gelding injured his left front as a early yearling. He was wrestling with a pony buddy and was pretty much all weight off that left front. We had a veterinarian come look at him at the time. No leg x-rays or ultra-sounds were done but the vet felt that he'd lightly damaged or torn a ligament and ordered one month stall rest with daily cold hosing to reduce swelling, then light turn out and eased back into his normal life from there on out.
Fine. He healed quickly, faster than expected. He was in limited turnout for four months even though he did not appear to need to.
Two year old year he was fine, no worries.
Three year old - he was started under saddle in the summer of 2008. He was only asked to walk and trot, he was always very tender footed regarding dirt road and trail riding but this was nothing to do with his leg. Because he was tender and I trail ride he wasn't ridden much as a three or four year old, just periodic light trail riding somewhere softer. He did have a time or two as a three year old where - due to jackassing around in the pasture he'd come up a little lame on the left front again.
He grew out of being tender as he aged into a four year old so he was ridden around once a month. I noticed some time in his four year old year when we introduced him to cantering that he went slightly off on his left front leg, only noticeable at a trot or when turning, after this. (Introducing him to a canter being he followed some other horses down a trail for less than a minute! He has never been "worked")
He is five now, will be six years old in June. He had been ridden last fall, approx eight walk/trot/canter trail rides before he went lame and we gave him the winter off. I hopped on bareback around the pasture in January and February when he was "normal" again. Then this March started riding him quite a bit, slowly at first. He's in shape, being young and athletic. He is the pasture pest and runs, bucks, rears, hops and skips everywhere he goes. Its no wonder he's come up lame on and off or no wonder he did this in the first place! Five weeks ago I used him to give two beginner riding lessons, he did walk/jog in the arena for approx 2 hours, has not been ridden since. His left front is now puffy again around the ankle and he limps slightly when he turns to the left and at the trot.
My question is - any suggestions as to what would help? What could be causing this? It just puzzles me why OTTB's can trail ride sound for years on a bowed tendon but this is re-occurring and he's never been asked much at all. So should I be looking into more than just that problem he'd had as a yearling? And for anyone who might be in Michigan, do you know of a GOOD vet? I have given up my dreams of using him as a barrel horse long ago, but I'd like to at the very least use him as a trail horse. I cannot see wasting him as a pasture pet but I'd prefer not to always play the "get five rides, give him four months off" game. And why!
WHICH brings me to why I am fed up! The vet who was called when he initially hurt himself as a yearling was called again when he was three and said nothing was wrong. I've "self vetted" and given him time off up until this spring. We had both fronts x-rayed from the knee down, all appears normal. Another vet was called out for his opinion and just said to give him stall rest and cold hose his leg, well, I know this but that do we do to prevent this from continuing? Or why is it happening? Or, better yet, what is it that is happening? So three vets, no luck but clean x-rays. A lot of wasted time and money and no answer.
I have ordered him Ventech Elite Sport Boots to see if wearing these in the pasture helps, as suggested by a vet over the phone.
Does anyone have experience with this, or insite? I mean, I am dealing with a vet who literally wouldn't come up to stitch up a horse last week because my discription of his six inch gash didn't sound bad enough. We've tried four vets, I am willing to haul Image somewhere to have the leg untrasounded but will need to wait until next month for my pocket book to catch up again.
To compare both front legs:
Puffy were my thumb is, less noticable on the outside:
More noticable on the inside:
Video of him trotting, slight limp. Video of him turning, fine to the right, slight limp to the left.
Nothing "major" but he is certainly not completly sound and never has been. At this point of on and off, ups and downs I'm sure there is little chance he'll be sound and I'm just not sure why,... rant over.