back legs possible stifle problem?
i am hoping someone can shed light on this situation.
my newest horse is an arabian gelding... i am new to this breed so bare with me.
he came from auction as most of you know and once i did an overall look at him he seemed fine. the only issue was he was hesitant with his hind legs being touched but never kicked.
had the vet look at him she said there is something but didn't want to label it quite yet at that moment since he was underweight and needed some groceries.
well now its been a few months his weight is on, i have been messing with his back legs but it doesn't seem to be getting any better. the vet said it could be a stifle??
what exactly does that mean.. she treid explaning it to me and i really don't understand what the problem is or what is can do... the vet said he is still rideable and not lame just a bit off but i don't want to ride him if he is in pain. we haven't given him any bute as vet didn't think it was necessary..
so can anyone explain to me what exactly a stifle problem is? how a horse gets it? what problems it can lead to ? etc etc
I'm not expert but here is my take
I think it would be an injury that occured at one time causing the horse to have a week stifle. Usually w/ that as an issue they have a problem getting up underneath themselves and tend to want to fall heavier on the forehand.
From my experiences, once you get the muscle built up and have the horse moving properly, you don't really have a ton of issues. The horse I'm thinking of was never off or lame but would flip leads in the hind end at the canter or would not move fully underneath himself but once he got into shape, he did great but if he got a big break... he'd weaken in the back end again...
so if i keep working him and focus on strengthing those muscles he should be fine??
I knew when I bought my horse that she had a stifle issue. Mostly just some stiffness from being a polo horse for many years. She is not lame....but sometimes she is a little "off" at the trot until she loosens up a bit.
My vet said that building muscle will help. He advises against jumping or anyting that requires tight fast circles, such as barrel racing, but since I just want a reliable trail horse it isn't a problem for me.
depending on the severity I'm thinking muscle up. You could throw in a supplement of some sort if you wanted to but I think if you work him he'll be good. (if it is indeed a stifle issue).
I think the horse I'm thinking of sometimes got a little icky when he being trimmed in the back, like if he would fight to get his foot back, he'd tweak himself and make it an unpleasent experience for himself but other than that... no issues. He even jumped courses of 2'6 but he was never off like the horse mentioned above.
Yeah, I forgot to mention the supplement. I have her on MSM. Her previous owners had her on Cosequin but I thought I would see if the MSM would work since it is less expensive and the barn owner already gives it to several other horses. I am investigating horse treats with glucosomine as well.
nice tips thanks everyone. and he is a bit difficult with keeping his legs up for picking up and trimming, but if i put my shoulder under his hind near his belly and hold his weight he is a bit more relaxed and will stand there but if i make him stand on his own he can hold himself up :(
any specific exercises i shoudl try??
My gelding has degeneration in his stifles. You can have them diagnosed properly and they will give you the degree of degeneration if you really want to know, we had this done for him just to see how bad they were and what kind of stressors would be alright and what wouldn't.
Definitely is a muscle thing - once you get him muscled up you won't notice them much if at all (just general stiffness if he's had a couple days off). Horses with stifle problems never do well with lots of time off or just weekend riders, they need to keep good muscle and fitness to help suspend the joint properly and keep everything supple.
Work on hills, and hacking is especially helpful as it forces him to use the right muscles. The slower you go with hill work, the harder they work, so don't let him race up/down hills, make him go slow and use his hind end. Just work at the walk - no need to trot until he's really muscled up and then you can add in trot work. But walking really works the muscles on hills.
If it's possible, consult with your vet/farrier together - our guy did much better after having degree wedge pads put on his hind feet to increase the angles of his hind legs and relieve some pressure on the stifle. We were having his actually locking though, so this might not be right for your guy. Once the degree pads were on the locking stopped.
I also found that a good free lunge (no lunge line) in a round pen or an indoor arena before riding helped get him loosened up and warmed up before getting on. If they're really stiff it lets them work out the kinks on their own before you get on and ask them to work. Takes the stress out.
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