Lameness caused by chronic tendon injury? Advice needed.
I recently acquired a lame horse. Don't ask why! 50% stupidity & 50% blind faith that I can find a cure. She's a 12yr Arab mare, her past history is virtually unknown. She's lame in her off-fore, but no heat, no swelling, no bony lumps. The only obvious abnormality is a tough, fibrous ridge that runs down the back of her pastern on one side.
The dealer said that in her previous "home" she lived in a tiny stable and had massively overgrown hooves, so she could barely walk. He had her shoes removed and her feet trimmed, but the lameness persists in her off-fore. I had the farrier look at her, and he said her feet are fine now.
When Pícara gets to her feet in the morning, she can hardly put her lame foot to the ground. After a while, she walks out almost ok, but trotting is virtually out of the question, as are sharp turns. To turn, she sits back on her hocks and swings both front legs round together.
That ridge in her pastern looks to me like an old injury in her superficial digital flexor tendon , possibly badly healed, (leading to an inelastic tendon and problems flexing her fetlock joint??). This is where I'd like some advice, as I have no experience of such problems. If there's scar tissue and no heat, is it an old injury? And if so, why is she so lame? Could she have a problem of adherence between tendon and sheath? Or perhaps her over-long feet have caused reinjury to the tendon?
Is there any way of pinpointing the problem without doing ultrasound? Or might I be way off track with all this?
Any ideas would be much appreciated. Pícara is a great horse and I'd love to ride her. But for the moment, weight-bearing is out of the question.