My Horse is Supposed to Be Lame But Isn't -- What To Do?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-14-2013, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
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My Horse is Supposed to Be Lame But Isn't -- What To Do?!

Weirdest situation ever.

My horse shattered the top part of his tibia a year ago. The vets told me he'd be unsound the rest of his life and wouldn't be suitable for light riding even.

Six months later, my horse presents soundness. No lameness after he recovered whatsoever. My local vet told me I could try to find his limit, which would probably be light riding once or twice a week with a little trot and mostly walk. Flat trails only.

My horse ended up trail riding every weekend with some rocky and hilly parts to the trail. He also did some cantering. Never came up lame. We even rode him back to back days in one weekend. No lameness.

My vet then told me that my horse could be used for light work and occasional moderate work. So my horse went on an overnight trail ride...

...and rode over 40 miles in a forest. It wasn't supposed to be that way, but it happened. He wanted to go up hills at a trot and canter, he jumped everything in sight, even from a walk, and went up and down a ravine. The next day, he wasn't lame and was actually raring to go. He then rode into town and back (one mile) and ran a barrel pattern, raced a friend galloping as fast as he's ever galloped, and nearly got me off my leaping off a stair step instead of stepping down. When we stopped to drop my friend's horse off, I turned this horse out into the arena where he ran around it, popped over a small grid of jumps, and then trotted some more. He leapt out of the trailer at home that night and ran around with his buddies. This morning and tonight, he showed up completely sound.

I did Bute him morning and night on the ride, but I'm not sure that he got the 2 grams like he was supposed to (as ordered by vet) because he is bad at taking Bute and it was hard to squeeze out. The morning after the 40 mile ride, he barely got any because the Bute froze the night before. That was the last time he got Bute.

The only thing this horse ever presents is a swollen hock at times. It never seems to bother him, and the swelling comes and goes, and it seems unrelated to exercise. There are bone chips still in there, and I would guess that would cause the swelling. Some days, I can't even tell which leg was busted.

I'm so baffled because this horse has failed to comply by any prognosis he is given, although this last one has not been put to test, really. My show horse with DJD in his right front that is supposed to be managed by injections has shown a lot more problems than this horse that was supposed to never be ridden again.

This horse loves to jump, and I would love nothing more than to see him do a little jumping again, especially since he decided to jump over tons of things on the trails instead of walk over them. But I spend most of my time worrying that my horse will come up lame, and I would feel awful if he did.

What do you think of all this? I want to get another xray of his leg and see what the university vets think now. Is there anything else I should do? I am a little dubious, but I've had multiple horse people tell me that Rusty could have very well made a full recovery. Of course, they're not vets, but at the same time, the vets haven't exactly been right, either.

I'm just so baffled.

Rusty - a miracle horse Knight - my golden oldie
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-14-2013, 09:42 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mid Northern TN
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If he's comfortable and happy (and not just being stoic), go with it. He way still wind up with issues related to it later in life, but no sense forgetting to enjoy the present just because of 'what if.' Just remember that ANY horse, not just a previously injured one, should be gradually conditioned to work or they could come up sore from doing more than they are ready for.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-14-2013, 09:44 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
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They told you to find it limit, sounds like he doesn't have one!

If he isn't hurting I don't see a problem. It sounds like you're taking it easy and going one step at a time, but if he's okay and having fun I say keep enjoying each other.
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-14-2013, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
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It seems like the more I do with him, the happier he is. I was using him as the trail horse that my friends that had no riding experience rode, but this weekend, he would have scared them! He was like an Energizer Bunny. At first I fought with him to take it slow and walk over things or around things instead of jumping them, but as time passed, I just let him take it however he wanted to go. I haven't seen him this excitable since I don't know when. Or naughty. Lol after the accident I thought he matured, but he was back to trying to kick other horses, bite other horse's butts, run, and wouldn't calm down. I mean, it's all bad behavior and I don't like it, but at the same time, it was great to see that behavior because that was Rusty before the accident. Lots of ground work...I think so. Apparently he's not over his habits.

Rusty - a miracle horse Knight - my golden oldie
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-14-2013, 10:02 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
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I can't remember who said it but I saw someone post on a thread earlier "They're not as fragile as we all think", and this sounds like a great example of that.
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-14-2013, 10:02 PM
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Sounds like he has given you your answer. Let him work. I wouldn't bute him at all before riding though, so that he can clearly tell what his limit is and therefore tell you. Even on a little bute his judgment may be different.

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be in your journey, but not all of
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-14-2013, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
Posts: 1,199
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Yeah, I did wonder about his judgment a little bit, and I certainly don't want him to overwork. I do have to say though, the best moment in the world was when he went on his first trail ride after the injury. He wasn't even supposed to go, but my show horse was so tired out that he went. Rusty hates the trailer but on that day, he hopped right in. He was perfect on the trails and clearly enjoyed himself. He likes the attention, since he isn't one of those lovers out in the pasture.

Rusty - a miracle horse Knight - my golden oldie
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