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New_image 04-23-2011 09:58 PM

I am beyond fed up!
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Seriously, $50 to anyone who can suggest someone or something that actually helps! Pictures and video are below the novel... I promise! :oops:

My gelding injured his left front as a early yearling. He was wrestling with a pony buddy and was pretty much all weight off that left front. We had a veterinarian come look at him at the time. No leg x-rays or ultra-sounds were done but the vet felt that he'd lightly damaged or torn a ligament and ordered one month stall rest with daily cold hosing to reduce swelling, then light turn out and eased back into his normal life from there on out.
Fine. He healed quickly, faster than expected. He was in limited turnout for four months even though he did not appear to need to.
Two year old year he was fine, no worries.
Three year old - he was started under saddle in the summer of 2008. He was only asked to walk and trot, he was always very tender footed regarding dirt road and trail riding but this was nothing to do with his leg. Because he was tender and I trail ride he wasn't ridden much as a three or four year old, just periodic light trail riding somewhere softer. He did have a time or two as a three year old where - due to jackassing around in the pasture he'd come up a little lame on the left front again.
He grew out of being tender as he aged into a four year old so he was ridden around once a month. I noticed some time in his four year old year when we introduced him to cantering that he went slightly off on his left front leg, only noticeable at a trot or when turning, after this. (Introducing him to a canter being he followed some other horses down a trail for less than a minute! He has never been "worked")

He is five now, will be six years old in June. He had been ridden last fall, approx eight walk/trot/canter trail rides before he went lame and we gave him the winter off. I hopped on bareback around the pasture in January and February when he was "normal" again. Then this March started riding him quite a bit, slowly at first. Hes in shape, being young and athletic. He is the pasture pest and runs, bucks, rears, hops and skips everywhere he goes. Its no wonder hes come up lame on and off or no wonder he did this in the first place! Five weeks ago I used him to give two beginner riding lessons, he did walk/jog in the arena for approx 2 hours, has not been ridden since. His left front is now puffy again around the ankle and he limps slightly when he turns to the left and at the trot.

My question is - any suggestions as to what would help? What could be causing this? It just puzzles me why OTTB's can trail ride sound for years on a bowed tendon but this is re-occurring and hes never been asked much at all. So should I be looking into more than just that problem he'd had as a yearling? And for anyone who might be in Michigan, do you know of a GOOD vet? I have given up my dreams of using him as a barrel horse long ago, but I'd like to at the very least use him as a trail horse. I cannot see wasting him as a pasture pet but I'd prefer not to always play the "get five rides, give him four months off" game. And why!

WHICH brings me to why I am fed up! The vet who was called when he initially hurt himself as a yearling was called again when he was three and said nothing was wrong. I've "self vetted" and given him time off up until this spring. We had both fronts x-rayed from the knee down, all appears normal. Another vet was called out for his opinion and just said to give him stall rest and cold hose his leg, well, I know this but that do we do to prevent this from continuing? Or why is it happening? Or, better yet, what is it that is happening? So three vets, no luck but clean x-rays. A lot of wasted time and money and no answer.

I have ordered him Ventech Elite Sport Boots to see if wearing these in the pasture helps, as suggested by a vet over the phone.

Does anyone have experience with this, or insite? I mean, I am dealing with a vet who literally wouldn't come up to stitch up a horse last week because my discription of his six inch gash didn't sound bad enough. We've tried four vets, I am willing to haul Image somewhere to have the leg untrasounded but will need to wait until next month for my pocket book to catch up again.

To compare both front legs:

Puffy were my thumb is, less noticable on the outside:

More noticable on the inside:

Front view:

Video of him trotting, slight limp. Video of him turning, fine to the right, slight limp to the left.

Nothing "major" but he is certainly not completly sound and never has been. At this point of on and off, ups and downs I'm sure there is little chance he'll be sound and I'm just not sure why,... rant over.

starlinestables 04-23-2011 10:48 PM

My guess is splints or its a low bow but getting x-rays and an ultra sound will help significantly. If they don't think it needs to be done, make them do it anyway because after all you are paying for it!

spirit88 04-24-2011 09:13 AM

I would have that ultra sounded dont think its a splint its to low. But him being on and off lame isnt good i would be looking for a good lameness vet. Does his leg have any heat in it maybe try a poultice on it for twelve hours then cold hose it. Doesnt sound to good the longer hes on and off lame it might get to where he will never be sound.If that was my horse i would be hauling him to a clinic the specilizes in lameness issues. Best of luck with him spirit88

CecilliaB 04-24-2011 09:29 AM

My gelding has the exact same kind of injury visually on his right hind leg, he got as a 2 year old acting stupid in his stall. On my horse it's was an injury to the deep flexor tendon and he had stall rest and only hand walking for 3 months, then supervised turn out for 3 more months. He's never been lame on it even right when it happened...his leg just got really swollen and stiff and I had to cold hose and poultice till the swelling subsided.

The only thing I did notice was stiffness on cold morning and he needed extra warm up. He also stocked up pretty bad when stalled. It's funny cuz I have almost the same injury to my achilles lol

Anyway, knowing what it was I started him on SmartTendon two years ago and I haven't even noticed stiffness on the coldest of mornings. The "lump" has even subsided somewhat. I never expect it to go away but it's quite a bit less then it used to be and he doesn't stock up any more.

MHFoundation Quarters 04-24-2011 09:36 AM

I second getting an ultrasound. There is so much fine stuff in legs that x-rays can certainly miss. I would think its too low to be a splint. A bow or scar tissue in the tendon could be a possibility. It could be a hundred different things, horses seem to find new\abnormal ways to injure themselves!

When I read this I instantly thought about a friend's mare who had a tendon injury, healed great and would still come up sore years after the fact. Finally had a vet who was thorough enough discover that she had also chipped a sesamoid (who knows if it was from same injury) and that bone chip was floating around in there causing her pain. Surgery at Purdue to remove it and she has been 100% sound since.

That's all I've got other than seek out a good vet. Don't know any in MI, but I'm sure there are forum members from MI who could help u there. Good luck, never fun dealing with those kind of things!
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CecilliaB 04-24-2011 09:39 AM

I couldn't find many photos of it, but you can see it in this one.
DSC_6401 by Cecillia B Photography, on Flickr

totalfreedom 04-24-2011 11:10 AM

I personally am curious about the horses hoof condition. Have you had the horse shod throughout the past few years at all? Or has the horse always been barefoot?

Depending on the hoof condition it could help you rule out where the injury continues to come from. But, need a little info on the hoof care and then also maybe a picture or two before continuing. But the pictures can wait till we hear some details.

New_image 04-25-2011 09:08 AM

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Yes, my next step is to find a good vet somewhere downstate and have the leg ultrasounded. I am worried its been so on and off by now its just always going to be on and off and then some day more "off than on".

Hoof condition wise we've had a go around with farriers to. Since he was born hes had eight different farriers, I do not like any of them. The current farrier seems to do great for the other ten horses I have here, not so much with Image and his dam. We are actually switching him and his dam to a new farrier yet again for next week. He has never had shoes. Like I said, as a two/three year old he was a little tender on dirt roads but this hasn't been a problem since (there was a few farrier changes that helped). They don't crack or ship so I'd never thought of shoes until the thought of shoes/pads possibly helping his tendon came to mind last month, thus the new farrier coming next week. What would your suggestion be?

JustDressageIt 04-25-2011 09:38 AM

I would maybe see about getting another farrier's opinion. I can't put my finger on it, but I don't really like the looks of his feet, something is off or could be changed.
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totalfreedom 04-25-2011 09:41 AM

I've read quite a few stories of horses that were injured similar to that. Possibly the same too, but I don't recall specifics on the stories I've read.

From reading your post of what happened, here's my take on it. Again, I am no expert, but just my take on it to help you rule out what is going on.

He was injured while he was young. While he was still growing. He was never able to get over that injury because of improper hoof function. So the ligaments and tendons and other hoof structures in the rear of the hoof never were ever able to fully develop. Which makes it easy to go back and re-injure the same spot.

IF this is the case of what's going on it's something easy to rehabilitate from. At least from all that I've read, cus I only take care of my horses, I don't professionally trim others horses.

First, he needs a proper barefoot trim, from someone that knows their stuff. And not all trimmers are the same, as you've experienced. "Bad luck on that BTW, I hope you find a good farrier." I like Pete Ramey, he knows his stuff and he's humble enough to come back and tell everyone when/where he had been wrong in the past and the new way he sees/does things now.

Second, boots AND pads. The pad part of the equation is important, it allows for proper hoof stimulation which equals to proper hoof function. With heel first landings consistently it allows the back of the hoof to develop. All of the structure back there that supports the rear of the hoof also develop which include ligaments and tendons running up the leg. The boots and pads are the secret ingredient that allows people to rehabilitate their horses.

I've been reading stories lately of rehabilitated horses, so if/when I come across a story that sounds similar to yours I'll post it.

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