'Sticky Stifle' - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 11-11-2010, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2009
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'Sticky Stifle'

I have noticed over the past few weeks that my 12 year old gelding's back left leg keeps locking. He used to to it with the farrier and I thought he was being cheeky (so did the farrier) but it has become more apparent every day. He only does it if he has been stabled for a while or has been standing still. He is in a lot at the moment because of the weather and rules at the stables.

I have had casual advise from friends that 'the best thing to do id to keep him moving' (he is fine when he is working, flat and over fences). I decided to look it up today to find out what exactly is wrong with him. I found this article:
Sticky or Locking Stifle - Cause and treatment
It states that it is most often seen in young horses, my horse is 12 ?

Any advice? or anyone have any experience with this.

and before you say 'call a vet' all the vet can do is confirm what it is, i know whats wrong with him.
thanks x

Keep your feet on the ground when your head's in the clouds.
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-11-2010, 05:54 PM
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Vidaloco has experience with this from one of her fillies. My only thinking is that maybe he pulled a muscle or ligament that is attached to the patella and is now starting to have problems from it. Sorry I can't be more help but I've never had to deal with that.

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post #3 of 14 Old 11-12-2010, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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ok thanks. he doesnt seem to be in any pain and today, for example, i have had no problems with it. he did have a day a few weeks ago when he wasnt quite sound, but i couldnt tell what leg it was, he just wasnt right.

Keep your feet on the ground when your head's in the clouds.
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-12-2010, 10:30 AM
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My inlaws have a horse (who is 14 btw) that has this problem. The best thing for him is living outside, where he can move around. He almost never has an issue as long as he's turned out... but the minute he is stalled (even just one night) he starts getting stiff and locking up. He works out of it pretty easily.
I don't know if this is the right thing to do, if they got the advice from the vet or what... but when he does lock up and is dragging his leg a bit, they make him back up and it "unlocks". That is rare, though, for him to lock up that bad.

Since you can't let your horse be outside most of the time, I would just try to make an effort to go out a couple times on the days he is stalled and at least hand walk him for a bit. If you have the chance. :)
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post #5 of 14 Old 11-12-2010, 10:43 AM
Green Broke
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My show gelding had the same problem he was "stifled" every morning i went to turn him out. I would hand walk him for a few minutes but usually by the time we got to the pasture he was fine and ready to go.
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post #6 of 14 Old 11-12-2010, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thanks ImagineThat and .Delete..

He does it a lot more when he has been stabled, but if the field wasn't a 10 min + walk in ankle deep mud then that would make my life a lot easier! Iv'e been keeping him in more due to the 'glorious' weather we are having at the moment or if I want to ride him after Horsemastership (im keeping him on the university yard). I took him for a 5 min walk this morning and rode him lunch time- he is fine when out and about. He also tends to 'fill up' in his other back leg so I walk him and hose that down every day too. Haha what else can go wrong!
Oh well show jumping tomorrow, so he'll be moving about, hope he does well x ;)

Keep your feet on the ground when your head's in the clouds.
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post #7 of 14 Old 11-12-2010, 07:46 PM
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Nelson's hind right Stifle was locking on him - just every once in a blue moon. I took him to a local Equine Lameness Specialist who watched him move.

I thought it was his hock to be honest - I seriously did, and I was surprised to hear the Vet say Stifle within watching Nelson move in the first 20 seconds. He asked me questions, like does he feel like he's tripping in the back end, etc, etc stuff like that...so anyways, after he watched him move, he palpated him and took xrays.

He ended up inkjecting both of Nelson's hocks, and both of his stifles - he injected his stifles twice, both with this iodine stuff and believe it or not, it worked like a hot ****.

I have to do exercises to get the stifle to strengthen up. Lots of cavaletti work and hill work to get it to build up and strengthen up and lots of strait work.

Hope you figure it out.

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post #8 of 14 Old 11-12-2010, 08:20 PM
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If its happening when he's been standing in one spot for awhile, my bet is stifle. At his age, he may be losing some synovial fluid in it. Just like when we get old, we sometime have to work our joint a bit to get them moving better. The stifle is basically the knee of the horse. I know mine does some popping and creaking that it never did when I was younger
There is an injection that causes blistering and tightening of the ligament. I'm not sure if that is what the iodine did in Nelsons case.
There is also a surgery where they sever the ligament. From what I hear, once that is done, the horse has difficulty standing to sleep since the joint needs to lock in order for them to stay standing.
Personally I just keep her moving. She is never stalled and is worked regularly. She gets a daily MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin supplement as well.
As always, to be certain, check in with your vet
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post #9 of 14 Old 11-13-2010, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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thanks very much for the advise everyone, im glad its something i can work with, hes not old enough to retire, were just getting started :P

Keep your feet on the ground when your head's in the clouds.
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post #10 of 14 Old 11-13-2010, 04:43 PM
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If I had a dollar for every time someone has said "My horse locks up after being in the stall but when I turn him out it gets better....." My two cents is: This is a horse, he wasn't meant to live in a jail cell for an extended period of time, leave him outside where he can move!

Secondly, after he is happily pastured where he is meant to live... I would do a lot of trail riding at a medium to fast paced trot to build mucle in that area, as well as some backing up.

Haha what else can go wrong!
Sorry to say but a lot more, the more a horse is in a un-naturally confined area the more that WILL go wrong.

Last edited by New_image; 11-13-2010 at 04:45 PM.
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