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post #11 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tucson, AZ
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He sees the chiro every 8 weeks, but I've already told her I think he might need a checkup sooner. :) I would've had her out before the vet if it was possible, but unfortunately her schedule is always jam-packed.

We ride little bit of everything, but we have primarily switched to dressage (and as such spend a ton of time working on bending-- he can flex to the right, but it typically takes a good amount of trotting to loosen him up). When we aren't doing dressage, we ride hunter pleasure or sporthorse classes and (rarely) western pleasure.
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post #12 of 15 Old 07-20-2013, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Good news! :) The vet says it's not arthritis!

She watched him move in a round pen and observed that his left leg's movement was not as "animated," most obvious at the walk and jog (but less so at the working and extended trot). I showed her the odd way he lifts his foot when asked and she determined that it was likely a stifle issue. Fun fact! The vet said that typically for an issue in the stifle joint, a horse will slowly lower the leg and even hesitate (as opposed to slamming it down, which might indicate an issue in the hock). You learn something new every day!

She did flexion tests on both of the hind legs and no arthritis was indicated. Rather, she's thinking the issue is in the patellar ligaments-- not upward fixation, but some "loosening" that he is compensating for. Jax was horribly out of shape when he came to me 7 months ago, so I think this diagnosis is actually pretty reasonable, since the symptom has improved with his fitness level thus far. Luckily, the recommended treatment is lots of conditioning and exercise up and down hills, and she sees no reason why we shouldn't move forward with our dressage training!

We are doing a bute trial later this week to determine whether he is in any pain-- although Jax is typically the kind of horse who lets you know, haha! The vet described Jax's lameness as most likely to be a functional lameness (where the lameness was an adaptation in his movement, as opposed to a response to ongoing pain). Fingers crossed it is indeed functional and not painful!
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post #13 of 15 Old 07-21-2013, 05:46 PM
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I'm glad it's something you can work on :)

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #14 of 15 Old 07-21-2013, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by existentialpony View Post
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
I almost would have wished it was arthritis over a lax ligament in the stifle. I had a filly who was diagnosed with just that, but it was severe enough she would never make a sound riding horse. With arthritis at least you know you can work around the symptoms and there lots of supplements and feeds that can help with treating it. A lax ligament is a lot more complicated. I would look into working with a trainer to build some good muscles to support that hind end.
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post #15 of 15 Old 07-21-2013, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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He doesn't have any visible lameness to, say, me or the dressage & show judges we've tested in front of, and we've ridden 5-6 days a week for the past 7 months. I don't think it's quite so serious an issue, thank goodness. The vet didn't seem very concerned at all given the work we do already. :)
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