As some of you might know I posted a few pictures in the critique me section (indy :) **pic heavy) and someone mentioned that he looked a tad bit sickle-hocked. He had his hind foot cocked in a few of them and two of them were from very weird angles. But this comment got me very worried.
I bought him almost a year ago (at the end of the summer) as a hunter jumper prospect. He saw two vets, both cleared him with "no major leg problems." As I look at the pictures and compare them to what I can find on the internet about sickle-hocks, I think I can see a similarity. As far as I can tell, it's really not that bad at all but I have become very worried. Honestly I bought him as a hunter jumper prospect with the intentions of competing throughout the four years of college (assuming all went well).
Should I have the vet out to look at him? Sometimes, maybe once every few weeks, his right hip "clicks". Not for long, maybe a minute or two of trot work, but then it stops and goes away for a while. I have read that being sickle-hocked can lead to early arthritis (and he's only barely four!) and that the clicking may be a sign of arthritis. Someone else had written though that if it is not a constant clicking, it is just the equivalent of a horse "cracking it's knuckles".
Also I should add that for as long as I've had him, he hasn't been lame, taken an "off" step, or been stiff sore or any of those things. He runs around every time a turn him out, running, bucking, jumping over imaginary objects, never taking an off step. I have read though that most sickle-hocked horses make excellent athletes before succumbing to curbs or arthritis at a young age. He hasn't had anything wrong (**knock on wood**) aside from horrible rain rot and cracked hooves. The only time I have seen him limp is when he was trimmed way to short and the nail was putting pressure on part of his hoof. As soon as the shoe was readjusted (about three minutes later) he went back to normal.
I really really really want him to be okay, he is my baby and we are moving to a house that has a barn in the backyard so he can be closer to me all the time. I am willing to give up my dream of getting back into jumping and taking him to shows if that's what it is going to take. I just want him to be okay and live a long healthy life. I am sooo scared. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I'm sure you guys probably know what it's like to be overly worried about our "babies". Here's my favorite picture of him (yes his leg is cocked, it doesn't normally look like that: