Rescue Horse Tripping/Balance Issues- Going to vet next week and would love advice!
So last year I took in a rescued paint gelding. He had been abandoned and we don't have a health history. He is HUGE, big boned, and just a sweetie, absolutely love him. When I got him last year, the vets put him at 6 years old, so he is still young. I adore him and desperately want to get him fixed up, he keeps having these weird lameness issues, but we just click and I would love to start using him.
Obviously since he was abandoned, he had terrible feet, they were like dinner plates and the soles had grown down, flat like pancake feet. Obviously we have him on a trimming schedule and vet schedule.
My problem is this: You know when you take a barefoot horse over rocks and they act "ouchy"? Well, he literally can barely walk over rocks, like he refuses. And over arena footing, he still acts ouchy and trips a lot.
This does not go away when he has shoes on, even gel pads and believe me I've tried tons of shoes...built up shoes to give him heel support, those HeartBar shoes, different pads, just like a dozen different corrective shoes. Nothing makes him stop tripping.
Last year, I had a vet out who freaked out and thought it was EPM and treated him for that with this powder stuff. This made him much worse and did not help the issue at all. I let him sit all winter to flush it out of his system and want to try helping him again and I am taking him to a lameness specialist next week to try to get it sorted out, xrays of his hoof angles or something.
But my big question is this: Even on soft grass, or arena footing that he likes (soft dirt, no sand) he will be moving fine and then he trips like he's randomly ouchy. But when he trips, its like he can't catch himself and he has rolled over the top of me a couple times, and gone to his knees and stuff. Doesnt happen all the time, but it does happen. Uneven ground at a walk, on trails, makes this happen too. Its just like he doesnt care if he trips and falls.
So do you guys think it is a hoof issue? Or a neurological/balance issue? I've done tons of trotting poles, thinking the issue was him not picking up his feet. That did nothing. He carries himself naturally rounded, like the big rope horses that are always bent at the pole. When you try to back him up, he just leans backward really far, and then takes a couple steps backward. This situation is really weird, but I would love to get him better and use him because he's amazing! Thanks everyone!