Diagnosing/seeing hind end lameness - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-05-2012, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Diagnosing/seeing hind end lameness

Please educate me!

I'm interested in learning more about properly spotting hind end lameness and about trying to determine where the problem might be (before calling in a vet). My horse is NOT lame so I'm not asking to avoid a vet bill! However, should be or another come up lame in the hind I would like to know what to look for, things to try to look for reactions and things to ask a vet. What are some of the things you'd notice when under saddle? What about non-limping behaviors that may indicate a smaller problem that may not cause lameness outright at that time?

Right now, I am only "good" enough at noticing when there's something strange going on with the hinds but it ends there.
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-05-2012, 01:10 PM
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Toe dragging is a sign of hock lameness.
A stabbing motion with the hinds, or unwillingness to put them forward indicates a stifle issue.

Unwillingness, issues with things previously found easy by the horse, issues backing up, etc.. are also all going to be indicators of a horse who is uncomfortable in the hind end.

Lamenesses in the lower legs (ie pasterns, coffin joints and hooves), on any leg are easier to see as the horse will usually be reluctant to put any weight on the limb at all, and the horse will head bob.

The easiest way to spot a hind end injury is to watch the arc of the toes and the arc of the hocks - both should match and be clearly arcing with no jerking or dragging.
Horses are also highly affected by the trim job, even behind, and a bad trim, and more likely subsequent bad trims, can lame a horse behind.

Here is a horse showing good even "arc" behind

I would call that a baseline for a sound horse, any horse not tracking like that needs to see a vet and possibly a new farrier.

Good luck!

They say money doesn't buy happiness -- well happiness doesn't buy horses!
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-05-2012, 01:15 PM
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I also watch for a change in how the hoof wears itself down. The wear pattern might even change on the front end, when the back end is involved

If the horse wears shoes, you might see a lot more scuffing in one area than you saw previously, indicating there's some discomfort and he's favoring himself in one area.
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-05-2012, 08:20 PM
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What I did to learn was do some 'work experience' with a bodyworker.
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-05-2012, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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What about things like holding a particular leg up while at rest, cocking/resting a leg or slipping while under saddle? Could those be indicators of anything.
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post #6 of 7 Old 09-05-2012, 09:36 PM
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Horses usually cock a back leg when resting & this is not necessarily due to a problem at all. If they rest a front one, that is an indication of lameness though. 'Slipping' or tripping under saddle could be an indication of a problem, or it could be just because the horse is shod & you're riding on a paved path or such.
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-05-2012, 10:45 PM
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Another thing to add, have someone walk or trot the horse away from you and check its hips at the top of his hindquarters. Both sides should come up at the same height. If one doesn't come up as high as the other it can indicate a problem. Hope this makes sense not sure how to explain it.
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