Stringhalt and Jumpers????

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Stringhalt and Jumpers????

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    06-08-2009, 09:24 PM
Stringhalt and Jumpers????

Okay so I know someone who is selling her horse and looking to get a new one. She is specifically looking at a Hanov w/stringhalt. She talked to her trainer and her trainer said she thought the horse was a great deal b/c his price is less due to the stringhalt and that it shouldnít be a major issue. She is working with her trainer on focusing on jumpers and eq, and as her horse is terrified over fences (he just lacks training & confidence imo), the new Hanov will be better for it. She also said her trainer told her that stringhalt is common in WBs and itís really not anything to be too concerned with.

Now thatís completely different from what Iíve learned and read, along with my own personal experiences. In college we had a WB that had stringhalt and heíd warm up out of it some, but was very limited in colder weather as to how much he could do (if anything at all) under saddle. Iíve also read that itís usually from trauma or nerve damage and is not genetic or predisposed to any breed or type. It can be caused by overjumping when young or out of condition, and it can sometimes get better if caught early, but usually is permanent and can worsen with age and cold weather. All this is similar to what I was able to find on

So is it me? Or should a horse with stringhalt not be jumped, let alone used for jumpers??? I just wanted to find out if Iím out of my mind or if you guys had any other info to share on stringhalt and jumpers. Thanks!!!
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    06-08-2009, 10:11 PM
I've known two horses who got stringhalt. Both retired from jumping for a LONG time. One jumps very small now, and the other is still in semi-retirement.

Not sure on causes, though have heard that eating dandelion is a cause.

From what i've seen of stringhalt, it's horrible. One of the horses could do barely more than walk, loading on to a float had him shaking all over and took about an hour, a step at a time, and neither horse could walk backward. Really sad...

That's about all I know. I believe horses can recover, but some don't. In NO way would I see a horse with stringhalt as a performance prospect, but that's just me.
    06-09-2009, 08:02 AM
I think what she should do is start him slow and don't push him fast until they can evaluate the severeness of it. If the horse is never going to recover i'd say no, no she shouldn't. My opinion is that she should stick to flat work for now.
    06-09-2009, 08:29 AM
I have been told that horses with stringhalt can perform as a showjumper , but cannot perform as a dressage horse. So provided the condition is not severe there should not be a problem.

My veterinary book also states the same , horses with stringhalt can jump. It also agrees with you that it is normally caused by nerve damage of some kind.
    06-09-2009, 02:39 PM
I would contact a vet.
My experiences with stringhalt is limited, but from what I've read and seen - yikes. I wouldn't want to risk it.
They might save money initially but vet bills, supplements, and injections (if needed) might make that number disappear very quickly.
Resale might be hard as well. I personally wouldn't go that route, but that's just me.
    06-09-2009, 02:52 PM
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When Beauty severed her tendons I remember them saying that it was something she could potential end up w/ when she was healed (She did not). There was another horse at the equine hospital that had also severed a tendon and that horse does have stringhalt, Mine had the surgery, hers did not.

Anyhow, she competes locally and does jump a little but.. I personally, would suggest she keep looking.
    06-09-2009, 02:58 PM
Ok I may seem dumb hear but as much as i've been around horses i've never heard of stringhalt. Can someone elaborate some more for me please?
    06-09-2009, 03:06 PM
Super Moderator
I just pulled this off an article on the web:

Stringhalt is a rare lameness that causes a horse to lift his hind legs higher and more rapidly than usual when he's moving. One or both hind legs may be affected, and the lameness varies from mild (just a muscle spasm) to so severe that the horse actually kicks himself in the belly when he tries to move. Conditions that make any horse's gaits more animated, such as cold weather and competing, can exacerbate the signs. There does not seem to be pain involved with the lameness, yet it is difficult to ride a horse that cannot control the actions of his hind legs.
Veterinarians don't know what causes most cases of stringhalt. We do know that the nerve controlling the lateral digital extensor muscle probably is damaged. This muscle lies on the outside of the hind leg, just above the hock, so a kick to this area is the most likely culprit. For horses with bilateral stringhalt--both hind legs are affected--a more central location of nerve damage, either in the spinal cord or brain, is likely.

I found this video on youtube...
    06-09-2009, 11:24 PM
It really depends on the individual horse. How long the horse has had stringhault. . If he has been jumping and competing successfully with the stringhault. I have had a couple of jumping horses with it and it didnt interfere for the most part with their performance. It does make them harder to shoe etc. . . But the two horses I had only had milder cases of it. I would say if the horse has been jumping and competing with no problem since the stringhault was discovered and it dosent show signs of it in its gaits. That it wouldnt effect the jump either. Stringhault horses do tend to be a little more prone to stiffness in the hind legs understandably.
    06-10-2009, 01:39 AM
I know almost nothing about stringhalt but I don't believe that a horse with it should be used for any stressful performance work. I would think that it would jeapordize the safety of the horse and rider. Can you ever really be sure when a horse with it will spasm? Can you imagine a spasm in the middle of a jump? Yikes!

Oh, *sighs* that video made me cry. I feel so sorry for that poor horse.

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