Troubles with Hindend
I have a mare that keeps injuring herself and has lost most of her riding tone. She has been lightly lunged when she is sound and so is reasonably fit but when you add weight and a rider you are back to square one as far as framing, bending, straightness, etc. Her injuries were a slight stove to the front left shoulder, she has a chronically sticky/stiff stifle on the left when she's out of shape and she somehow scraped all the skin off the top of her hock and got a slight laceration across the inside of her right stifle. Not all at the same time, but back to back so she was never 100% sound but not unsound either for about 3 months total. She was always a little off and stiff and sore but she was never actually lame. I took her out of work anyway to be on the safe side.
I thought taking her on a few nice walking trail rides would be good for her. We had to go down a relatively steep grade for about 50 feet to start the ride and she was fine other than she wanted to stop and turn around halfway down...but that's not really uncommon for her so I didn't think anything of it. Then we did a few very gentle little rises and then another 50 feet slight grade on uneven ground. All at the walk on a loose rein and she didn't have any problems. Then when we turned around after about 30 minutes she refused to go back down the last grade we had come up. She would either try to run down the hill or slam on the breaks, when I tried to collect her and ask her to move slowly down the hill she would paw, crow hop and do little bucking fits that were more to show her irritation than to actually dislodge me. We were out with a group and they were crowding her on the grade so I hopped off and walked her down the hill since I had remained on top and had her calmed down at a halt when I got off her. I didn't want her or I to get hurt because she was not fit enough to be able to act up on that kind of surface and not injure herself and I didn't want any innocent bystanders to get in the way. Anyway, I hand walked her down the hill with her trying to get ahead of me and charge down the hill or stopping and making me drag her along. I remounted when we were back on level-ish ground and we continued our ride until we came to an even more gradual grade. She got 4 or 5 steps down and lost her mind, she tried to jump up on a bank and was pawing at it, was trying to sidepass down the hill and would not stay straight and walk down it. She was flinging her feet everywhere and doing more of the mini-bucks as well as had her eyes rolling and everything. There were two horses in front of her and more behind her and she just lost her mind. Again, to preserve the other riders and my mare's health I got off and walked her down the grade and was going to walk her up the last grade and just walk her home but at that point she was gone mentally. She was charging around, would not match her walk to me and was just totally non-responsive unless I got in her face and made her back up. Needless to say it was a long, tiring walk home and i didn't want to end there but we both needed a break. I put her in the ring to cool out and went to get myself a drink and breather. Then I went out to do some in hand and lunging work. She was totally calm, came right up to me and did everything I asked when I worked her in the ring. Although at this point she was stiff and sore from all the flailing, flinging and bucking she had done earlier but not lame or unsound in any way. My question is that it's not enough that the vet will be able to do anything but tell me to bute her and stall rest her, which I don't think will work. As when she is pastured she is less stiff because she is moving, however I'm not totally convinced she wasn't just being a pissy mare (she was just coming out of heat) and didn't want to go down the hill and behave herself. Anyone have any similar experiences? Was it pain or behavioral? I'm baffled because this all happened on the way home and she was fine going up and down hills on the way out. I've never had a horse lose it so bad going home, although she did just want to run home regardless of how steep the grade was. I'm also in search of exercises to help strengthen those back legs and hips again very slowly so I don't overdo it, because she has never had this problem before. Any insights you might have would be appreciated. Thanks.
First, could you post with some paragraphs......LOL I find your posts full of information but I keep loosing my place......LOL
Well, lets start with the basics, saddle fit? Especially if you were having issues going up and down hills. The saddle could of pinching when she got to a hill.
Being pissy is always an option..... another ride may give you some insight.
Behavioural... for sure. I am of the feeling their memories are cellular, they never seem to forget something that gives them pain.
As an example a couple of years ago on the first ride of the season my geldings feet got very ouchie part way through the ride, so much so that I asked my husband to go and get the trailer and pick us up.
A couple of weeks later, with his new BOOTS ON we went to the same park and he was a total pain, stopping, trying to go back to the trailer... you name it. This is so unlike him, he's my trail riding GOD. We made it around the park but not without some scolding.
Funny thing is, the next week we went to a different park and had not one problem..... shoot forward to another week at the first park and he was back to being a jerk again. He remembered that at THIS park his feet got sore.
I would be looking at the following:
-Saddle and other tack
-Feet, does she need boots
-Chiro- with all the problems what ends up happening is that another part of their body compensates for a problem somewhere else. She may need a total body adjustment.
-Try a gram of bute 30 minutes before you ride......that might give you some insight that it's a body issue.
-You need to reinforce some manners and leadership
Sorry about the lack of paragraphs. I kind of get "in the zone" and forget about them haha.
Her saddle fits her like a dream, she is shod very well on all four feet and bute doesn't change her stiffness. Like I said, ordinarily she's not in pain she's just not fit and she is a little stiff from not being worked. Other than the refusing to go forward and the mini-bucks she was listening for the most part. And I would have been able to ride it out and get her along if I was alone. I was concerned about the safety of the novices on the trail with me. I didn't want their horses to pick up on her behaviors. She didn't didn't show a pain response but her behavior was VERY abnormal for her. Once I let her calm down (5-10 minutes later) and went back out to work her on the ground she was a total gem and was very affectionate and apologetic about her behavior even though she was now stiff and sore from her exploits.
Oh, and I do massage and I pain tested her back, hips and hocks as well as stretched her out and she didn't have any pain responses that I could find. Although hill work is very hard physically on them, I'm confused as to why it was only hard on her for the second half. I'm thinking she might have a little muscle fatigue and when you paired that with her being pissy for whatever reason created the problem. Just a guess though.
Would be a good guess...... I would try he out a couple of more times and see if her mood improves.
If it continues then I would be calling in a professional
our OTTB Molly, used to have fits just like that... shed get down the trails fine, then at some random point shed just seem to say "ok you've ridden me far enough, get off and stay off, im pissed and tired" and crow hop and jump and throw her head, and act like a total b****, but be fine a few minutes later... after vet after vet/farrier/trainer, we just learned that she just "had enough" and would do it no matter what.... some mares are just like that, molly started suddenly kinda like "horsey menopause" (it happened a lot more frequently during her heat cycle) and did it till we sold her a few years later (financial reasons, not her behavior) im not saying that is whats wrong with your mare, at least i hope not, cause i can tell you it is extremely frustrating for it to happen on every ride grrrrrr... good luck, let us know what you figure out!
(haha no paragraphs...:oops:)
Haha thanks. Like I said I could have corrected the behavior and I really wasn't concerned about falling off if I had been given ample room to maneuver but I was concerned about the safety of the group and not so much about her behavior. I plan on working her a few times in the ring this week to determine whether she's moving ok and then try another trail ride alone or with a rider who understands what I need when she acts up. I will keep you posted.
Sounds like pain but odd she does it on the way home...if she has a sore back end that would cause her to be fussy about the hills for sure. Have you thought of getting a chiro out to have a look at her? She might need some massage/adjusting. This would be why she appears less sore/stiff when she is in pasture because she is moving and her muscles dont get tight. If bute inst helping her stiffness, I would find a chiropractor to come out and have a look at her and see whats going on with her physically. At least if she is a-ok, you will know she is just being pissy ;)
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