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post #1 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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Looking for opinions

Hi all!

Let me start by saying that I have a vet appointment scheduled for tomorrow, so let's hope this problem is solved sooner than later. :P

I think that my gelding might have arthritis in one of his hocks, but I'm not sure if his symptoms are typical. It doesn't help that he is incredibly smart and sometimes I struggle to figure out whether he's testing me or actually having a hard time. He is on a balanced diet (vit/min as per FeedXL) and Smartflex III for joint & muscle support. We ride on average 5 days a week and he is in great shape, well-muscled. Never been lame (to my knowledge).

- For as long as I have had Jax, if you lift his left hind foot, he will not put any weight on you but rather lift it himself-- as opposed to his right hind and his fronts, which he lifts with typical "I'll let you help with the lifting" attitude.

- At first (about 5-6 months ago), he had problems picking up his left lead canter. It was partly muscle development (he's also less balanced on that side) and we worked through it. He hasn't missed a left lead canter in a while, and actually prefers it now.

- Recently (at our last few shows), Jax is showing issues with his right lead canter. I thought that part of it was the "you can't get mad at me in the show ring so na-na-na" because he'd have it fine in the warmup arena but pick it up incorrectly in the show arena.

Now I am beginning to notice that when he is more tired (later in the day at a show), or perhaps muscle sore, he is less likely to pick up the right lead correctly. He also feels reluctant to pick up his right lead (he hesitates).

For example, we had a 2-day show and I gave him two days off afterwards (with turnout time). I rode yesterday and he actually had a lot of energy and was moving so nicely, so I let him lope (walk-to-canter transition; he prefers those). Just for good measure, I wanted to trot-to-canter once as well and that's where he had a very hard time picking up his right lead. With his left lead, his timing was perfectly in sync with mine, but for the right lead he would hesitate and fuss. We got it 2/6 tries.

We have a lameness exam (although he isn't visibly lame to my eye, and wasn't at the dressage show) and x-rays tomorrow so I can solve this for once and for all! If it is arthritis, I want to get him comfortable however possible so that we can continue working together. He is such a fantastic boy. :(

Anyone have thoughts on his problem? Am I overanalyzing and is he just unbalanced/lazy when he's tired or muscle sore?

Last edited by existentialpony; 07-18-2013 at 12:47 PM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Nothing? :)

Is it at least a reasonable idea to bring this to a vet? Or am I being silly?
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 11:09 PM
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Its never a silly idea to bring him to the vet if you suspect something may be wrong! Better safe then sorry and you'll get peace of mind knowing whats going on
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 11:15 PM
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How old is he? What's going on with him does sound similar to my old guy, even the weird lead preferences. I think it's really a day-by-day thing depending on how he's feeling. I'd bet the vet will say he's showing signs of arthritis
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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He's only 11. I won't be upset if it's arthritis, but I will probably end up looking into injections, etc if that's the case. Swap out the cost of his supplements... ha. :P
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 11:28 PM
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My horse had the opposite problem, was happy to lift the other 3 but was very grumpy about lifting one of his fronts. Found it was due to a shoulder issue.

Is he having issues flexing right? Could be why he is picking up the wrong lead..

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #7 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 11:31 PM
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11 is pretty young to have arthritis....

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post
Is he having issues flexing right? Could be why he is picking up the wrong lead..
He does, actually. We warm up and stretch every ride to make him more flexible to the right! I just thought it was odd that this problem came up after we overcame his left lead problem.

He has been building muscle on his left shoulder/side (he was a little uneven when he had his left lead problem). If horses are anything like people, could the muscle building (without proper stretching) lead to inflexibility? Where the "tense" muscle built on is left is limiting his ability to bend around to the right?

I realize that 11 is pretty young, but he was a WP horse for many years and it did take it's toll on the rest of his body (took several chiro appointments and lots of work to get him moving straight and relaxed!).
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 11:38 PM
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What classes are you showing him in now? I'm thinking arthritis issues also by the way.
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by existentialpony View Post
He does, actually. We warm up and stretch every ride to make him more flexible to the right! I just thought it was odd that this problem came up after we overcame his left lead problem.

He has been building muscle on his left shoulder/side (he was a little uneven when he had his left lead problem). If horses are anything like people, could the muscle building (without proper stretching) lead to inflexibility? Where the "tense" muscle built on is left is limiting his ability to bend around to the right?

I realize that 11 is pretty young, but he was a WP horse for many years and it did take it's toll on the rest of his body (took several chiro appointments and lots of work to get him moving straight and relaxed!).
If he can't flex right, then of course he will have more trouble picking up the right lead canter.

It is easy for a horse to build tighter muscles. The fact that he has issues flexing right means his left side is actually the tight side..

I've heard that posting trot (on the correct diagonal) will help to loosen that side up. So do lots of posting trot to the left, work on gently bending the horse in different degrees (so a slight bend to a smaller 10m circle)

May help to have the chiro out too, after you get an assessment from the vet.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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