What to watch for
With the frozen, lumpy winter ground, I think that Sampson twisted something as his rear right ankle is now swollen. I just noticed it today. The farrier came and I thought I had seen it, but would check it after the farrier left. However, while being trimmed, I noticed that when given the option, he always relaxed that foot and even struck out with pain while he was being shod. My boy is very laid back and is used to being shod as he has been having it done most of his life.
I asked the farrier about it, and he said he noticed the swelling, but when I walked him off, he seemed just fine- both the farrier and I agreed. I didn't try to trot him off or anything.
I had one mare who was ALWAYS having issues- ligaments, abscesses, cracks, you name it. I am in the process of buying Sampson still and am a worry wart, so I automatically assume the worst.
Obviously I need to watch for more swelling...If I were able to post a video of him trotting, could you all tell me what you think? Should I be looking for heat? Wrapping it? Is this common for the newly frozen ground?
We had a horse at the barn come up with a slightly swollen front leg, from hoof to knee. Since he is one of the boarders horses and we have a limited amount of things we can do we just stalled him and gave him bute. Of course the owner was notified of the meds and then he brought some more for him the next day. But this horse was darn near 3 legged lame. He is older though so he could have been exaggerating as it wasn't that swollen.
He stayed in for a few days and then he was fine. I check my mares legs everyday just for that. The ground is so choppy and frozen and I'm so worried she will do something. One of the many reasons I put her on stall board for winter.
Some horses show very few signs of pain when they ARE hurting, though. One horse I used to know only ever showed signs of being 'off' when he was in absolute agony. The only time I can remember ever having seen him in pain was when he got an abscess, the day before it burst through his coronet. He wasn't mine but I knew him well.
OP's horse could therefore, in theory, be in quite a bit of pain, just hiding it. If you think about it, it makes evolutionary sense - the weak, the sick and the injured are the ones that get eaten, right? So if they hide their pain they're less likely to be eaten.
Or, he could be like my filly, a sensitive little flower that can't cope with any pain at all. Or he might be being a snotface.
If you trot him up, someone might be able to spot something [most lameness shows more in the trot than walk or canter], and if not it might be worth flexing the joint in question and holding it flexed for 30-60 seconds, then trotting him off as soon as you let it go. He should take a few lame steps to start, that is normal, but there comes a point where the amount of lameness will indicate an abnormality. It is best compared to the "sound" leg as most horses will differ from one another in what is 'normal'.
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