Locked Stifles

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Locked Stifles

This is a discussion on Locked Stifles within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    08-10-2008, 02:40 PM
Green Broke
Locked Stifles

After I work my horse western in the morning I go to take him out and his back stifles are locked. Like you know how a horse lockes its leg to rest the other? They both are like that. I walk him and the first few steps are really hard for him. Its like they pop in and out of place. It really worries me, the other day it was really bad he could hardly walk for a few minutes. Im worried that its going to cause arthrtis. He is only 5. When I work him english this doesn't happen. I don't know what to do, I can hardly explain it to the vet and I can't really call him out to see it because by that time he has streached out and isn't locking up anymore. I have read somethings about it. The book says it happens to some young horses in akward stages in development, but they say it only happens to horses that are posty-legged. Roman is very sickle hocked. So idk what to do.
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    08-10-2008, 02:53 PM
When you work him western are you asking for more athleticism? Do you work him harder? You could be dealing with locking stifles or it could be more like tying up.

A good suggestion is that since you know the pattern that causes it is to schedule an appointment with your vet and have your vet call you when he's driving out so you can go out and work him western just prior to the vet arriving. Or at the very least start taking a video camera out after working him western and take some video (good quality) of what you are seeing at home.
    08-10-2008, 07:15 PM
Tara, Roman isn't extremely sickle hocked. But, he also isn't posty legged... Could it be because you're asking him to go on his butt more instead of extend like in English?
    08-10-2008, 08:35 PM
A locked stifle is a dislocated back leg (please correct me if I am wrong). My pony one morning had dislocated his back leg and when the vet came out, he called it a locked stifle and to pop it back in we back him up and it just went straight in. I was terrified when I found him like that! His leg just hanging there!!! It has never happened again to our knowledge and he never even went lame from it. You mention that it seems like his legs are popping in and out. If it is something that continues there is an operation where they can severe a tendon in the stifle joint, the one that cause this problem and I believe it stretches it out as it repairs.

But what you are describing also sounds like "tying up", when a horse has been worked too hard and not cooled properly, or just too hard and their muscles get sore, much like our own if we over exert ourselves.

I like the person who suggested videoing your horse for the vet, then at least they can see it, even if it is only a video, they might have a better idea :)

    08-11-2008, 12:11 AM
Green Broke
Its not typing up because he literally cannot move his back leg just like his leg froze front resting his other but they both are like that.It read in a book that horses lock their stifles to rest one of their legs. Its just like that, only when he finally gets it to bend it makes a popping nose. And I think it is because im making him work of the hind, he isn't used to that
    08-11-2008, 12:13 AM
It's not a leg out of place, it's when the knee cap slips and causes the leg to get stuck in an extended position. It will pop back into place with pressure, but it is often uncomfortable for the horse.
Many times just improving muscle tone in the stifle by working on hills will improve or eliminate the problem, but when it doesn't they can do surgery to help keep the knee cap in place.
    08-11-2008, 12:32 AM
Green Broke
Knee caps o.0 Its in his back legs.
    08-11-2008, 01:00 PM
Yep, the patella (what we call a knee cap) is in your horse's stifle.
    08-11-2008, 01:41 PM
I'd go get x-rays
    08-11-2008, 04:56 PM
My friends mare had the exact same problem at age 4!! The vet said amny young horses get this problem when they are developing and that it will either go as quickly as it came, lessen in severity or continue to be a problem until the horses joints grow out of it.

Ask your vet on the phone first and see what they suggest, but my friends youngster grew right out of it after about 6months.

Elz x

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