Sickle-Hocked? Please help me.
As some of you might know I posted a few pictures in the critique me section (indy :) **pic heavy) and someone mentioned that he looked a tad bit sickle-hocked. He had his hind foot cocked in a few of them and two of them were from very weird angles. But this comment got me very worried.
I bought him almost a year ago (at the end of the summer) as a hunter jumper prospect. He saw two vets, both cleared him with "no major leg problems." As I look at the pictures and compare them to what I can find on the internet about sickle-hocks, I think I can see a similarity. As far as I can tell, it's really not that bad at all but I have become very worried. Honestly I bought him as a hunter jumper prospect with the intentions of competing throughout the four years of college (assuming all went well).
Should I have the vet out to look at him? Sometimes, maybe once every few weeks, his right hip "clicks". Not for long, maybe a minute or two of trot work, but then it stops and goes away for a while. I have read that being sickle-hocked can lead to early arthritis (and he's only barely four!) and that the clicking may be a sign of arthritis. Someone else had written though that if it is not a constant clicking, it is just the equivalent of a horse "cracking it's knuckles".
Also I should add that for as long as I've had him, he hasn't been lame, taken an "off" step, or been stiff sore or any of those things. He runs around every time a turn him out, running, bucking, jumping over imaginary objects, never taking an off step. I have read though that most sickle-hocked horses make excellent athletes before succumbing to curbs or arthritis at a young age. He hasn't had anything wrong (**knock on wood**) aside from horrible rain rot and cracked hooves. The only time I have seen him limp is when he was trimmed way to short and the nail was putting pressure on part of his hoof. As soon as the shoe was readjusted (about three minutes later) he went back to normal.
I really really really want him to be okay, he is my baby and we are moving to a house that has a barn in the backyard so he can be closer to me all the time. I am willing to give up my dream of getting back into jumping and taking him to shows if that's what it is going to take. I just want him to be okay and live a long healthy life. I am sooo scared. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I'm sure you guys probably know what it's like to be overly worried about our "babies". Here's my favorite picture of him (yes his leg is cocked, it doesn't normally look like that:
I think I made that comment in the critique, but he may just me cocking his leg. You can't really tell for sure though because you can't see all of him.
Breathe. It'd be a lot easier to tell if we could have a picture from the side that includes all of him when he is standing squarely.
He's barely sickle-hocked from what I can see, if he isn't just cocking his leg. It's so small you really don't have to worry. It's just a conformation imperfection, such as a long back or a thick neck, but nothing majorly upsetting.
I do feel bad about making you worried though. And I apologize. If you can get that picture I will be more than happy to look again :wink:
mlkarel2010: Thank you, I appreciate you trying to reassure me. I am planning on taking better pictures tomorrowm my boyfriend is going to come with me so it will be easier to get him standing square and having the pictures taken before he can move again. I will try to have him stand on our cement washing slab to make sure he is standing absolutely straight.
I have this sneaking suspicion you could be right about the sickle-hocked "diagnosis" because I have seen a weird S shape in his thigh/gaskin area when he stands funny. But this has only happened a few times when he was standing on a hill with his leg cocked.
Don't feel bad about making me worried, from my point of view I'd much rather be so worried and find out it's not as bad as I am thinking then not be worried and find out that it really IS that bad. The other thing was that when I was reading, they refer to it as a hock ankle so I thought I had become rusty on my horse conformation and assumed that the hock ankle was another name for the pastern/fetlock joint area. Even just realizing that it was the upper part of the leg has made me a bit less relaxed.
Thank you though, I will post those pics ASAP tomorrow. I am going to add a video of me riding as soon as I submit this post. Once again, thank you.
You're welcome. I'm always here to help!
Yeah, I understand that it's better to be worried about nothing than be ignorant about something. In most cases anyway. I think you get what I mean.
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