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Beau Baby 05-24-2010 09:35 PM

Arthritis? Should I worry?
Hey guys.
Haven't been updating ya'll as much as I should but I have a question. I plan on showing my big boy Ben in pre-entry eventing this year. Ben is 17 years old an 14.3 hh. He's a Fjord cross so he's a bit on the bulkier side. The pre-entry show jumping jumps are generally 2'6"

I was worrying about arthritis and if I should still show him. How do you know if your horse has it? Ben has been kinda grumpy lately and he does't want to bend to the left like at all. Is that normal in arthritis or could he be going through a phase of smartassness. Also I hear his hind legs clicking sometimes. We'll be walking and I can hear the joints (probably fetlocks) clicking, is that bad?

loosie 05-24-2010 10:39 PM

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Rule out 'smartassness', but need much more info to even begin to guess at the prob. Eg. is it only under saddle he's grumpy & not wanting to bend one way?

Beau Baby 05-24-2010 11:28 PM

no. its all the time really. when lunging as well. i know 100% that its not the saddle fit because he jsut started this a week or so ago. i've been using this saddle for 2-3 years and we've never had problems with it. what other information do you need? Is there a good chance he's getting arthritis, because he is 17. Should I be showing this year if he has arthritis?

loosie 05-25-2010 12:56 AM

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Originally Posted by Beau Baby (Post 642963)
no. its all the time really. when lunging as well. i know 100% that its not the saddle fit because he jsut started this a week or so ago. i've been using this saddle for 2-3 years

While if he behaves just the same when you're not riding, there's a fair bet something else is going on, just because you've been using the same saddle for years doesn't mean it fits. If you haven't had it checked & adjusted lately, there's actually a better chance it doesn't. Because horses & saddles both change shape over time & they should be checked for comfort & fit every 6 months or so. Also a horse's behaviour doesn't necessarily make problems like this obvious. Many horses will 'grin & bear it' until such time as it may become too acute to ignore. Some horses put up with chronic pain for years without 'complaining'. For more info on evaluating saddle fit, Balance International have heaps on their site.


what other information do you need? Is there a good chance he's getting arthritis, because he is 17. Should I be showing this year if he has arthritis?
Information; feed, management, type of riding, how much exercise & play he gets in the paddock, hoofcare, symptoms, hoof & confo pics.... Need lots more to even guess whether it *might* be arthritis & couldn't say for sure purely on a forum - for that you need a vet & maybe xrays.

Just because he's 17yo(middle aged) doesn't mean he's just going to get arthritis. It's a 'disease' meaning it happens because of problems; joint stress, infection, nutrition, for eg. Not just something that a horse will get at x age.

If he's lame, regardless of whether it's arthritis I would be very hesitant to ride him, without finding out what's wrong at least - if in doubt, get the vet. If it's something like arthritis tho, *if* he's not too bad & you're a good, light rider it may be OK, because *generally* lots of light, low impact exercise is good. If whatever showing you're considering fits that bill, then fine. If you mean jumping, dressage, etc, etc, then he's probably not the best prospect, at least until his lameness is treated, if that's possible.

Luanne 05-25-2010 03:25 AM

TBH from your description I would not be suspecting Arthritis or behavioral but there are so many things that could cause this behavior, Muscular pain, low grade lameness or something in the Mouth/Teeth spring to mind.

As for Arthritis, this would need to be confirmed by Xray, although a lot of Vets will sadly diagnose from symptoms. My sisters Horse has it in both Hocks, he is on Glucosamine and needs twice as long warming up but is happy and jumping at a decent level still so it shouldn't necessarily slow you down too much :).

RusticWildFire 05-25-2010 10:50 AM

I don't know enough to be able to help you diagnose arthritis but I will say that my horse has had arthritis since before we got him when he was 20 years old (he's 30 now). He has clicking in his back end but it hasn't slowed him down one bit. I showed him for the first 6 or so years that I had him and we had a lot of fun. I didn't do anything outrageous with him though.

I do have a funny story to share with you about it though..

At our 4-H barn we had a "Horsin' Around Family Fun Day" competition every year in the fall. We always had shoes put on Scooter as he had tender feet and often times where we went to shows there were rocks in the arenas that bothered him. So, the day or two before the fun day he had his shoes pulled and he was always a bit tender after it, but the arena had no rocks so normally he would be fine. Well, I was riding my new horse and my dad was going to ride Scooter. He was about 26 at this time I'd say. Well, I put the saddle on him and all was fine except he was a bit agitated acting. My dad went to get on and Scooter started to collapse. We were all horrified wondering what happened so I checked the saddle and everything and all looked fine so I re-did it and tried to get on and he did it again to me! We were all shocked and scared that something was going wrong because he was grunting and everything so we unsaddled him and decided to put him out in the pasture. He limped and grunted all the way back to the gate. At the gate we let him go as we were going to check him after the games and as soon as we let him go he took of at a full out run and was bucking and having a good old time. He just wanted to eat grass. Stinker! He was perfectly fine :lol:

princess warrior 05-25-2010 11:07 AM

I would get her teeth checked as they can stop a horse from bending and turning if somthing is wrong, and then I would get a good chiropractor to do a treatment. If the horse is out some where it can cause lameness and stop turns and bending too. Sorry im not very good at explaining it but ive seen my chiro do miracles.

aforred 05-25-2010 01:45 PM

I would get a full exam from an equine vet (someone who can take x-rays). He might or might not have arthritis, but I agree with the others. The bending problem sounds like something else, and I wouldn't do anything strenuous until he's been evaluated.

Keep us updated.

MaggiStar 05-25-2010 07:53 PM

My 11 year old has mild arthritis in the hocks. He gets a joint supplement everyday in his feed and he is on pasture 24/7. If he seems sore he gets cold hosed for 15mins.

He does reqire loonger warming up and cooling down but he is still actively jumping in the 4 " class with no problems.

If it is arthritis however you must remember it is a progressive disease.

Beau Baby 05-25-2010 08:41 PM

Yep. my boy is on pasture 24/7, never been in a stall in his life. he gets 3/4 of a medium sized scoop of complete feed everyday {our scoop broke so we use a can from Tim Hortons.} I have chilled out on his workouts a bit, jsut lunged him lightly in side reins and he seems calmer and less cranky. maybe he was jsut tired of the workload. I'd been stressing about the show and working him pretty hard.

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