Our posts crossed last time. I'm glad you are getting another vet. There are many threads here of horses that have recovered from problems and are being riddin and are fine. When did I ever say I knew more than you? We are all here to learn & share our experiences. Things are just different in other areas. Did the person giving the massage say anything about a chiropractor? That has also helped a lot of horses.
I must be blind because I'm not seeing any issues to be concerned about, not even in his hoof angles. The horse is a bit roach backed and that confo loses doesn't give the horse much elasticity in the back. If you think he's in pain, when he's relaxed and rested, stand in front of him and look at his nostrils. Look to see if the top of each nostril is the same height. A horse will often pull the nostril on the side corresponding with the pain making it appear higher and perhaps more flared. Walk away a bit then look again. The vet is wrong about horses in general with weight loss. We do get used to a larger appearance caused by a fluffy winter coat and they do appear thinner when shedding out but usually the weight remains fairly concistant.
This horse, at this point, needs food food and more food. Quit lunging him, quit exercising him. Let him exercise himself in a paddock, let him eat 24/7 and get weight back on him.Quit worry about building up his muscles until he has something to work with. A starving animal, any animal, will start losing muscle mass to stay alive once all the fat stores are gone in the body. He will then keep getting skinnier and skinnier because there is NO fat source for his body to live on, now its using muscles. You can't expect to put a very thin out of condition horse onto a exercise program, even just lunging everyday without proper food to keep and in this case, build his body back up. I let my horses go ALL winter with no riding due to snow/cold and they are usually too fat coming out of winter.
Your vet is an idiot. No vet should recommend exercise for a horse this thin.This horse needs blood builder, forage and food. This horse is also not permantely damaged. He is thin, almost to the point of starvation. Get some weight on him. Most important get another vet.
I watched this horse move and he is a bit flat in the croup and roached in the back. Quite honestly, he is moving fine for his conformation. If you think he has a bad back, take him out on a halter and a lead line. Lead him forward at a walk and then turn him sharply and quickly to the right and left right back around (180 degrees). If he has a back issue that is going to impair him, he will stumble BADLY.. lose control of his hind legs.. fall down perhaps.. and show clear signs of not controlling his hind legs. IMO this horse is FINE.
In fact, in the lunging he does something that tells me he is fine and lunging correctly.. he reaches down with his head and neck. Golly that is nice.. and if he had side reins on loosely with a surcingle he might reach down better. This stretches the back.. and if he was sore back there he would likely RAISE his head not lower it nicely like that.
The feet look really good. He strikes on the outside of the hinds first.. and that is normal. He is not dragging his toes so badly he is wearing them off. Keep your farrier. Those feet look good and sound.
He needs weight. He may just be a hard keeper. If he worries the fence when he is alone, then he may be one of those horses that worries the weight off.
Since the weight loss coincides with the end of winter two things may be going on. The first is he simply is not getting enough feed competing with other horses for hay. The second is the hay itself may just be p**s poor quality. Did a new load come in just before he started to lose condition?
If this were my horse I would get him some hard feed high in fat as noted above. I would also supplement his ration with high quality hay cubes. I would try to WEIGH how much hay he is getting a day and, if possible, get an analysis of that hay. Some hay can look good and be so low in nutrition it is just a time occupier. I would also watch him out there with the other horses if they feed hay in piles and see if he spends most of his time being run off the feed by other horses. If that is the case, then putting out 3 piles of hay more than the number of horses may really help.. as will spacing the hay piles further apart.
Honestly I can see no reason for this horse to not be ridden after you figure out how to get more weight on him. HIS MOVEMENT IS FINE. He does not need more supplements. He needs more or better basic nutrition.
Add more calories to his diet. Lucerne is good. Add more. Make sure you have dewormed for everything your country gets. Here the insidious ones that get missed often are tapeworms and encysted strongyles.
Nothing wrong with his movement, but his feet do need trimming.
A friend told me that I will have to wait for the vet approximately 2 weeks
But it is worth waiting for a good vet. I also called to a woman who specializes in horse’s diet (it took 25 minutes and we decided to keep in touch, send photos and inform about vet’s opinion and blood test results when I do them).
That’s how horses are given food (they live free 24/7 and have big shelter in case of bad weather). I visit my horse every single day and provide him with : vitamins, two handfuls of lucerne, 1kg of carrots, some apples, parsley, and sometimes a pear to make him happy :)
There are some photos of him throughout a few months:
January 2012/August 2012:
THE WORST OF ALL !!!! I decided to call the vet. Toe dragging occurred.
Now (while on pasture):
I did the spinning test as you adviced, he was a bit surprised and din't know what is it about but he managed to cross his leg easily ( a test like this 2.17min:
Honestly, I think the issue is your horse's rear end conformation that has him move like he does. I do see he has lost a LOT of condition over the winter. The earlier photos he is in excellent flesh. The photo with the lady in the red jacket is surely the worst. The next photo he looks much better.
I don't like feeding grain off the ground.. but the facility is the facility. I suggest that instead of all the stuff you are bringing your horse now, bring him 3-5 pounds of hay cubes (usually alfalfa) and feed him those in a bucket. I would do this at the start of winter. You may have to give more. He can eat this while you are grooming him.
Feeding off the ground in a herd like this is how horses get and stay wormy. I suspect your boy has a pile of worms and you may need to go to a very aggressive worming schedule.
Beyond that I will say some more. This is a pretty decent horse. I mean that. I have looked at a LOT of horses and yours is solid. He has good bone, good height for his hocks, solid feet, nice roomy joints, a good length of back, a steepish shoulder and a slightly low placement for his point of shoulder. His big weakness are his undersized hind quarters and the flat croup, which cause him to move behind the way he does. In the turn test, if his back was really dangerously bad, he would have not crossed his legs or recovered.. he would have staggered behind, wobbled behind or even gone down behind.
For a spavin test you take one hind leg and flex it to the max.. holding it in flexion for a minute (use a watch) and then let the foot down and immediately trot the horse off. If the horse is lame, it is typically a spavin. Your horse does not look spavined to me.
I really like your horse and obviously you do as well. I would not mind owning this horse (and a lot of horses I see on the Horse Forum I would not say this about). Does he need groceries? Yes. Coulld he be suffering a large parasite load? Yes.. he is in with a bunch of other horses who may not be as diligently wormed. Is he at the end of his career? Not from what I am seeing. I would run a fecal on him, get him some high end hay cubes and get him conditioned up and continue his training.
Just another thought. When the second vet comes out, share my posts with him and ALL the photos showing this horse in good flesh and how he lost condition over the winter.. and is now coming back. Your vet will be boots on the ground.. but these photos tell a story and he/she needs to see them ALL.
A vet sees a horse once. You see the horse daily. You know your horse. All these photos will help your vet better help you and your horse.