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HalfPass 07-29-2009 10:01 AM

Health/training questions...what to do next??
Hi there friends,

Well this has not been an easy road for my horse and I. My horse is an 8 yr old TB. He was in training at one time for racing but I aked that he not go ahead with that and my father gave him to me. I unfortuanately was injured (non-horse related) at work, and then got better and was in a car accident. So for the last 5 years my horse has been living with my family at their breeding farm. He has not been worked or out regularly for a few years.

There was a time when my horse was sent to a woman and she rode him and worked with him for 3 months. I do not know what as far as training she did. That was a few yrs ago.

Now my horse comes to live with me and he had the long toes low heels thing going on. I did not like the intermittent limping so I got x-rays and an ultrasound. We did find a cyst on his navicular bone, but I am not really sure this is what was causing his intermttent lamness.

Since he has arrived at the end of May, I have finally gotten the proper corrective shoes. The intermittent lameness is still present. I noticed that besides the right front that shows a cyst, he also has a back left hoof that is very unbalanced.

After my shoer put on the corrective shoes, I had another set of films and also brought to the vets attention the unbalanced hoof on the rear left. We did the flexion tests and decided to x-ray his stifles and hocks because it is known that he has had previous issues there.
The only things found were some slight his hocks.

So the vet suggested I have some joint injections. I had done a little research and decided I would go ahead and do the injections, because nothing else I had done seemed to help. I had already tried short periods of bute, and he is on a joint sup. permanantly.

Now he essantially was out to pasture for approx 5 yrs.
He did not do any working during that time and I also think at one point he was overweight, but has since lost that and is now out to be hand walked every day. I go out and handle my horse every single day and make sure he gets the blood and exercise he needs.

I went ahead and did the injections (hard for me to wittnes) because I do feel that the pain cycle has to be broken. Now that I have done that, the vet has told me to get on and start to up his work level a bit.

She told me to get a Passoa (sp) system. Which I think is surrsingle and side reins etc. and start trying to ride him also.
I am somewhat surprised at that! I am not sure I want to push so hard...

Sorry such a long post, but what do you all think.
Should I get that surrcingle and side reins etc. and start working with the barns trainer so she can show me the correct way to do things?
I have trained horses before. Taken them off the track and restarted them for hunters or eventing, but I have no experience with an unbalanced horse of this magnitutde.
The last thing I want to do is make things worse. So what is the correct thing to do???
It has been years and years since I have worked with horses. Now my horse is usually pretty good. But he is no exception to the rule...he can have his moments...
Rather then get him trained wrong because I have not worked with an unbalanced horse before, at least not to this degreee, would you say that getting the surrcingle and side reins and the bridle and then having the trainer give me a lesson from the ground would be a good start???

I have also had surgery on my neck and I am not sure I want to get on quite I am not afraid or anything, but I would like to have the 1 year check up on my spine to make sure it is all solid. Also my horses choppy gait at this time would not be that comfy...
I am sor of not wanting to purchase a saddle and keep costs down until I can see how he will do with the inections etc. Do you all think it is better to start him slowly rather than to get right on there and Go??
I do not have a problem getting on and walking around the property or the indoor arena or something like that, but I do not want to push him.
So...What do you all think? If persay the injections do not help, I will not repeat them. I will back off and try and reacess after a year of good foot care etc.
Now he is being kept in a much smaller area then he is used to and I am actually considering puting him in a pasture setting so he will move moore, but he loves food so I have to find a balance of some sorts.
What to do next.
Part of me wishes I had not done the injections and part of me is okay with them. I have never had a horse with this issues so this is total unfamiliar territory.
Any and all suggestions are welcome.
thanks Half Pass

mls 07-29-2009 10:34 AM

Isn't this basically the same thread:

HalfPass 07-29-2009 03:26 PM

Well not exactly.
Now I have much more info on what is going on with my horse.
I now know I have two things going on and the navicular bone cyst from what I have researched about them they do not always cause horses any problems.

I actually followed the direction of the vet and have seen some improvement since the injections.
I would like to know what you all think about taking it a bit slower than was recomended by the vet?
Do you all think that it would be pushing my horse if I were to get on him and work him?
Would you all think that it would be better to start him with some lounging and balancing stuff before we just "hop on"?

Today I went out and as the vet suggested I lounged him and his trot for sure was nicer. No intermittent Limp at all. I did not push him with the trotting.
She said Light trot work. So being that it has been a long time since I have ridden on a regular basis I am planning to take a lesson on a lesson horse and purchase some eqqipment for my horse in the next few weeks.
Do you all think this is a good way to start...I am in no hurry so I feel it would be okay.
Once I have a refresher course and have some rides in with other horses, and see how I feel and how my horse is doing, then I think it might be okay to start with someone on him me or someone eelse...
Hope that will help you all to better understand where I am coming from.

Spirithorse 07-29-2009 06:39 PM

First of all I comend you for pushing through this and really trying to do the best thing for your horse. Not all owners are as committed as you seem to be.

I personally wouldn't get the Pessoa training system. That seems a bit much, as it really, depending on where you adjust it, makes the horse track up and use himself, which he might not be ready for. Hand walking is great but if it were me I would just do little things like light walk-trot work on a lunge line. Some nice, easy, slow transitions and even work on walk-trot-walk-halt cues. That way you are working on his balance a little bit, your relationship and rapport, and his training all at the same time without it being too much for him. Better to go on the side of caution IMO.

~*~anebel~*~ 07-29-2009 09:25 PM

As far as the joint injections - it really depends on what you're putting in there if you're wondering if it's a bad idea. Anything steroidal or anti-inflammatory that gets put in there is actually going to degrade the join gradually and will only mask the issue until the horse is completely lame. What you want is Hyarounic Acid (brand name Legend) which is actually synthetic joint fluid and is going to help the body provide better cushioning in the joint.
As far as the joint supplements, I am aware that some people swear by them but clinically they do next to nothing. Your best bet is injecting (IM) Adequan which is going to slow degeneration of the cartilage in the joint and even improve its condition. Adequan is clinically proven to do this. And if you're going to go this route you also might try IV Legend and scrap the joint injections of it. Both of these injections monthly are the best recommended thing for arthritis.
Another thing that is actually recommended more highly then the above injection is daily bute or banamine, the only problem is that it is not permitted for show horses to have these medications so if you're showing it cancels out this option, but for a pleasure horse this is definitely the way to go. You may also want to occasionally do some IV Legend, but you don't really need joint injections or oral joint supplements, but if either or both make you feel comfy then go for it. The joint injections can be slightly dangerous though (risk of infection, risk of damage to structures, stall rest required, etc..). Also - this is a horse that needs 24/7 turnout in a large field with hay and water separated to encourage him to walk a lot, ideally being on grass and grazing all day.

As far as having an arthritic horse and developing a training schedule, it's going to be a good month before you even think about cantering him. And as far as lunging try to avoid it as much as possible. Continually pounding around a circle wreaks havoc on even healthy unfit joints. For the first few weeks (6 days/week), hand walk him on a good surface (arena, track, etc) that is smooth and not too hard or soft for half an hour to start and gradually increase to one hour. And make it a brisk walk too. Then if you must, hand walk for 30 minutes, trot for 5 on a lunge, hand walk for 30 minutes. Ideally he should be ridden to avoid the lunging and this should be repeated 6 days/week for a week to two weeks. Then you can extremely gradually increase the trot and ideally be doing his work outs under saddle. The first time you canter should be 6 weeks into the program and only for 1-2 minutes, then again gradually increase.
In 8-10 weeks you should be doing 15 minutes walk to warm up, 30 minutes of "dressage" work including basically everything from first level (if his brain can handle it) and probably about 5-10 minutes worth of walk breaks followed by 15 minutes of walk cool down.
Up until now, work outs should be limited to 60 minutes, but as soon as he can comfortably perform above work out you can start to work him slowly harder, but keep the walk warm up/cool down periods 15 mins each. He needs this time, and especially if you have him in a small area. At this point I would for sure begin lessons as well.
After work outs it would also be advisable to cold hose or ice his hocks for 15-20 minutes.

Good luck!

HalfPass 07-30-2009 09:06 AM

Thanks Spirithorse and Anebel!

You got it I am pretty dedicated to my horsey!
I do not plan to do another injection anytime soon, but I am thinking about the Adequan.
I do not know if he could be in a pasture because I think he would eat himself to death...He loves grass! And Carrots!
But I have thought about it.
At this racnh I am at there probably is not a way to have him out all the time without grass so I would possibly have to put a grazing muzzle on him.

The other thing is he has never wintered here and it snows. This is somthing I hope he will do well with.

As for our training I really like what you suggested to do Anebele. I do not have a saddle that fits him so I will have to look around and see what I can come up with. I would not be unhappy if he never is in a horse show!
I did a lot of showing as a kid so I am not sure I am really into it anymore.
Thanks for the info and I will update you all later...

~*~anebel~*~ 07-30-2009 09:24 AM

Grass is really not a bad thing, what do wild horses live on? You would just need to acclimate him to it by working him up to being out there 24/7 by starting with 1 hour a day, then two hours, then 4, then 6, then 8, then all day long, then as long as possible and then all day and night. He won't need any extra feed or hay during the summer, and in the winter it should be OK if he comes in at night (if you're working him you're going to have to).
Ideally, he would be outside even during winter, especially if you aren't working him! And he will grow a coat, don't worry. We are leasing an ex-show horse with arthritis and he was outside 24/7 unblanketed all last winter and he grew a coat even though he was used to being blanketed and inside. He was totally fine even though temperatures dipped well below -50C including windchill. As long as they have shelter and basically free choice hay they are fine, and don't bring them in ever when it is really cold. Below about -25C they shouldn't come inside, and below about -15C you shouldn't ride them at all, and below freezing they shouldn't get ridden to the point that they're sweaty.

HalfPass 07-30-2009 09:48 AM

Hi Ana!
You and your horse are awessome.
He is very pretty!
Thanks for all the input.
It has been years since i was trainning any horses!
I am really considering putting him in a different set up. I think it would be best for him to be wear he can move around as much as possible.
There is a really big pasture with two horses and a youngster maybe 6 months old. This I think would be the ideal place for him and I am pretty sure he likes the one horse that is out there.
When I go out today to see him, I will get info on what they charge etc.
The Pessoa system I opted not to get. I have oicked out a bridle, a 35' lounge line, surrcingle and some other things...I will be keeping my eyes open and asking around the ranch for used things.
There is one lady I know who has a dressage saddle for sale, but her horse is shaped different but we had talked about seeing if the saddle fit my horse or not. We will take it slowly, because I do not want to cause any other issues...
My horse is such a god natured guy. He loves other horses and he loves people. He is not too sure about the cow's but he is getting used to them
Like I said before...We are not really wanting to do anything over board so I think if his issues are maintained and managed well that we should be able to do stuff. But, I do think he needs to learn to better carry himself.
When I was hurting and injured I would carry my body in a fashion so as to protect the injured area. He has become accustomed to compensating and thus...the unbalanced foot in the hind end. I have notice he does walk out better since the inj. Less twist in that rear foot.
One dday at a time for him and I....

Spirithorse 07-30-2009 02:56 PM

Grass CAN be a bad thing for some horses. I'm talking a lush pasture. If you are worried about him getting too fat or worried about the risk of founder and laminitis, put a grazing muzzle on him.

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