Sudden change in my horse's gait?

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Sudden change in my horse's gait?

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  • Bute for sore withers
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    11-21-2011, 08:39 PM
Question Sudden change in my horse's gait?

Hi, I've owned my AQHA mare since September, and about a month and a half after I bought her, I noticed her gait dramatically changed, around the time I got her feet trimmed. (It had been very long since her other owner had this done) She used to be suuuuuper smooth when loping, but now it feels uneven and stiff. When trotting, she will often hesitate with her left front, or plant down on it super hard. I also notice that she will need to catch herself on her front foot when just walking. I talked to my trainer, suspecting that she might be sore from my saddle (it tends to "pop up" in the back), and it turns out she was sore on just her withers. However, after a week of just bareback riding and daily bute, even though she stopped flinching when I felt that area, her gait remained the same. I tried her with a different saddle which seemed to fit her better, but she felt worse, if anything. She isn't lame, and there are no problems with her legs or anything. Does anyone know what kind of issue this is?
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    11-21-2011, 08:40 PM
How do you know there are no problems with her legs or feet? The first thing with similar symptoms that comes to mind is navicular. Has the vet looked at her?
    11-21-2011, 08:44 PM
My trainer checked her out and said she didn't find any inflammation or anything. Plus my horse doesn't really seem to be in pain. Although I haven't called the vet yet.
    11-21-2011, 08:45 PM
You say this started after a trim. That's your first clue. Yes your horse is not obviously lame, but perhaps is compensating for an imbalance in the trim which is creating tightness in the shoulders or hind end, hence the change in stride. I'd start with where your problem started, the feet.
    11-21-2011, 08:52 PM
There won't be inflammation in navicular or other hoof problems, and frequently there is not even inflammation with mild to moderate soft tissue injuries or even fractures. A trainer does not have any medical expertise. It's past time to call the vet, I'd say.
    11-21-2011, 08:58 PM
Thanks for the advice :) I'll definitely look into the imbalance problem since my farrier's supposed to come out in about a week anyway, and if that's not it, I agree that the vet needs to be involved.
    11-21-2011, 09:09 PM
Originally Posted by bubba13    
How do you know there are no problems with her legs or feet? The first thing with similar symptoms that comes to mind is navicular. Has the vet looked at her?
Navicular sounds a bit extreme here -- possible anytime, yes, but let's not panick just on the basis of indiscriminate lameness.

She must be due for another trim by now. Especially if she hadn't had her feet looked after properly before, it takes some time to get things back in order and quite commonly a situation like that requires more frequent trimming until the hoof shape is stable.

Daily bute for a week is not a fix. I would dump the bute and get the farrier out and possibly the vet. The problem could be anywhere from her hooves, up her legs, through her shoulders, withers to her back. You need to start somewhere to find it. Based on this limited info, I'd be inclined to look at feet, shoulder and/or back pain. The ill-fitting saddle can easily cause pain that can be reflected in stiffness.
    11-21-2011, 09:13 PM
Sorry, I see the farrier is coming next week. Any chance (s)he would come earlier?
    11-21-2011, 09:17 PM
Yeah, she's due to get trimmed again on the 30th, I believe. I've had her off the bute for about a week now, she was only on it in case the wither-area soreness was caused by muscle soreness. (It wasn't haha) Her withers and back aren't sore, so I don't know that that could be the problem, but I'm switching saddles anyway since it was making her sore.
    11-21-2011, 09:18 PM
Blarrrg, sorry I posted before I saw your question. I'll try to call him tomorrow, since he is often at my barn because his daughter takes lessons there.

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