Navicular - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-28-2010, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Well, the good news is after a month of treating my hunter's lameness in all the wrong ways (getting his annual joint injections early, treating him for abscesses, etc) I finally know what's causing the problems. Unfortunately, it's not exactly a happy diagnosis.
The vet did a lameness exam and then x-rays, and my horse undeniably has navicular.
I was just wondering who else has experience with a navicular horse- what to expect, things to be weary of, how much work I might expect to get out of him now, etc.
I've shown him in the hunters and eq from local up to AA shows in the 3'-3'6" classes for years. This past year was out first year away at college together, so the showing has slowed down dramatically, but both of our hearts are into jumping, and we've kept up ourselves in show shape up until he started getting very noticeably off a month or so ago.
The vet injected his coffin joints and said to get a 2 degree wedge, so I've been calling around to find a good farrier for him. The vet said to give him a few days off after the injections, as always, and then see what he was like, that he might still be off, but the shoes would help. I was also advised by a cousin that owns a navicular horse to get the bursa injected also, if he still wasn't sound. This was just a few days ago, so I still haven't tried lunging him or riding him yet to see how he's moving. Needless to say I'm quite nervous about it.

From all the reading I've done, it seems like each case of navicular is unique. Some horses are completely retired by it, some are able to function just as before with proper treatment.
So basically, I just want to hear from other people who know how it is having a horse with navicular, and what I can expect to happen over the course of my time with him.
At least, it made my decision about when to sell him much easier; he's definitely stuck with me now. :)
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-30-2010, 05:24 PM
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Hiya, i have a pony that as just been diagnosed with navicular changes and arturitus. We began to realise he was lame on his front right leg and kept him on box rest then rode him, he stil wasnt sound so we tried turning him out cus he seemed stiff then trotting him up, stil not right. Time to call the vet!!!! After a 3 day stay at the vets, and various tests, xrays and cow kicks at the vet she diagnosed navicular changes at front and arturitus in back right leg... bless him. He's now been put on joint supplement but so far no pain killer, he as also got remediel shoes on now which the vet reccomended ( front and back ). We are are only able to walk yet, until the vet comes back to check on him, but he's happy and keen to work. Hopefully we can get back to dressage and schooling along with a little jumping for fun, but all in good time!!!!!!!!

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post #3 of 4 Old 07-30-2010, 05:45 PM
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I have some experience with one horse that for certain had navicular and I have another who may have it (not sure yet).

Flash was diagnosed by 3 different vets as a 5 year old. His, unfortunately, was caused by improper shoeing from his previous owner's farrier. When we got him, he was nearly unable to walk due to how his feet were shod (zero heel and uber long toes). After some intensive hoof care from my Dad and a couple of months off to allow the inflammation to go down, he was perfectly sound for riding. He went on to have a successful show career in reining and team roping. With a lifetime of proper hoof care, he was sound for everyday use until he was about 23 when arthritis made it painful for him to be used for riding. Even now, at 27, he is a little stiff but he is pasture sound and he continues to play and run to the best of his ability with the other horses.

Some horses are not so fortunate but hopefully yours will be.
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-30-2010, 07:42 PM
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Location: Australia
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I have personal experience with a few confirmed 'navicular' horses(& many 'nav. syndrome' ones), including one that I got from the knackery. In those cases I have been able to rehabilitate the horses to return comfortably to work. One other horse I've worked with (not confirmed) was very lame & old, with huge heels. I only managed to get him to a level of 'paddock soundness'.

I would advise you do lots of study into the anatomy, function & factors of sound hooves. There are a few different approaches. Conventional methods can be good palliative treatment, but they only address symptoms, and as such are generally temporary, while the hooves become worse. 'Natural' approaches are more about treating the problem & getting the hooves functioning correctly & actually rehabilitated. Depending on the specifics, I personally agree with some of these and have had great success rehabbing a variety of hoof problems. is one great place to start learning about it.
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