Touchy hind legs. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 10-10-2019, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Touchy hind legs.

When I was trimming my horse I noticed he was really snatchy with his hind feet. Normally when I pick them out I rest them on my foot, which is probably dangerous but it's more comfortable for both of us and he doesn't try to kick so \_(ツ)_/. However, once he realized he was actually going to have to lift them up higher, he started snatching them as soon as I asked him to pick them up, even days later when I really was just going to keep them low.

I assume it's some sort of pain issue, but I don't know what it could be. Other info: He's more snatchy on his right side than his left, he also toe-drags his hind hooves a lot, he's had a masseuse out and she didn't notice any stiffness in his hindquarters. He's got really good hooves, so it's probably not that either.

Thanks for any help :)

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post #2 of 19 Old 10-10-2019, 08:56 AM
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I assume this started after your one day trimming clinic? You trimmed your own horse?


https://www.horseforum.com/horse-hea...imming-808387/

Last edited by QtrBel; 10-10-2019 at 09:18 AM.
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post #3 of 19 Old 10-10-2019, 08:57 AM
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Does he have any stifle issues? Sore stifles can make horses drag their hind toes and also not want to stretch out the hind legs.

Other signs can be that the horse doesn't do well going up and down hills, cross firing at the canter (especially on small circles), sometimes seem like they get "stuck" going forward or backing, and sometimes you can feel or hear a small pop around the stifle area when they bring the hind leg forward after standing. Straight hind leg conformation can make horses prone to sticky stifles.
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post #4 of 19 Old 10-10-2019, 08:58 AM
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How my horse picks up his hind feet is part of my gauge for how his stifles are feeling. When he's overdue for his pentosan, he will snatch the left and barely lift the right. Within a day of his pentosan he stops snatching and holds them fairly normally. After injections he does even better. He's also got hock issues to compound it too, tho.

Toe dragging can be stifles. Mine leaves snail trails all across the arena fron dragging.
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post #5 of 19 Old 10-10-2019, 09:36 AM
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I rest my horse's hooves on my feet sometimes - it's no issue. My horse is kind of the same way.

Quote:
He's more snatchy on his right side than his left, he also toe-drags his hind hooves a lot
I wouldn't leave that situation as-is. Something is going on. I'm sorry to contradict you hon, but gotta be honest...it's likely either the hooves, or your masseuse missed something. If he's toe dragging, he's having a hard time lifting his leg or his toe is simply too long. If it's the former, why? Is there weakness/pain in the hind end, possibly in the back? Are his hind hoof heels too low and the toe too long (possibly caused a pulled/strained/torn tendon/ligament due to that.)

Your riding has advanced and I've seen that you now ride Ninja much more collected. And you've been jumping, correct? His psoas muscles might be sore - they're responsible for tucking the hind legs under the horse. If he's not wanting to help you by holding his leg up, that's probably one reason why. But the psoas muscles also get sore when a horse is compensating for pain/strains caused by heels too low/toe too long in the hind hooves. Does he have issues with trot to canter transitions? As in...does he speed up at the trot...and then just suddenly bounce into the canter? Is that a regular thing for Ninja?

If you think it's purely behavioral (which I doubt it is), he might have accidentally learned that getting 'snatchy' allows him to put his foot down and relax. And relaxing is the reward. He might need to re-learn the reward in allowing you to handle his hind legs. Keep a lunge line on him while you pick his feet. If he snatches, you instantly pick up the lunge line and drive him off. Shouldn't take him long to learn that snatchy = hard work.

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post #6 of 19 Old 10-10-2019, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QtrBel View Post
I assume this started after your one day trimming clinic? You trimmed your own horse?


https://www.horseforum.com/horse-hea...imming-808387/
Yes, but my he'd been trimmed only a couple weeks earlier so I didn't have much to do. Plus, the helper was watching over my shoulder pretty much the whole time and the farrier checked at the end, so that's why I assume it's something else.

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post #7 of 19 Old 10-10-2019, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
Does he have any stifle issues? Sore stifles can make horses drag their hind toes and also not want to stretch out the hind legs.

Other signs can be that the horse doesn't do well going up and down hills, cross firing at the canter (especially on small circles), sometimes seem like they get "stuck" going forward or backing, and sometimes you can feel or hear a small pop around the stifle area when they bring the hind leg forward after standing. Straight hind leg conformation can make horses prone to sticky stifles.
I can get someone to check, but he doesn't have any of the signs you mentioned. The only thing is he picked up the wrong lead, but that was a couple weeks back and he never crossfired back then. But I'll see if I can get someone to check, thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApuetsoT View Post
How my horse picks up his hind feet is part of my gauge for how his stifles are feeling. When he's overdue for his pentosan, he will snatch the left and barely lift the right. Within a day of his pentosan he stops snatching and holds them fairly normally. After injections he does even better. He's also got hock issues to compound it too, tho.

Toe dragging can be stifles. Mine leaves snail trails all across the arena fron dragging.
Another one for stifles then. I'll definitely get it checked, thanks

Will reply to the others later, got to go now. But thank you all for the advice so far D
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post #8 of 19 Old 10-14-2019, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feathers7 View Post
I rest my horse's hooves on my feet sometimes - it's no issue. My horse is kind of the same way.

I wouldn't leave that situation as-is. Something is going on. I'm sorry to contradict you hon, but gotta be honest...it's likely either the hooves, or your masseuse missed something. If he's toe dragging, he's having a hard time lifting his leg or his toe is simply too long. If it's the former, why? Is there weakness/pain in the hind end, possibly in the back? Are his hind hoof heels too low and the toe too long (possibly caused a pulled/strained/torn tendon/ligament due to that.)

Your riding has advanced and I've seen that you now ride Ninja much more collected. And you've been jumping, correct? His psoas muscles might be sore - they're responsible for tucking the hind legs under the horse. If he's not wanting to help you by holding his leg up, that's probably one reason why. But the psoas muscles also get sore when a horse is compensating for pain/strains caused by heels too low/toe too long in the hind hooves. Does he have issues with trot to canter transitions? As in...does he speed up at the trot...and then just suddenly bounce into the canter? Is that a regular thing for Ninja?

If you think it's purely behavioral (which I doubt it is), he might have accidentally learned that getting 'snatchy' allows him to put his foot down and relax. And relaxing is the reward. He might need to re-learn the reward in allowing you to handle his hind legs. Keep a lunge line on him while you pick his feet. If he snatches, you instantly pick up the lunge line and drive him off. Shouldn't take him long to learn that snatchy = hard work.
Thanks for your advice! Tomorrow I'm going to get him out and the farrier will check his feet, so we can see if it is his feet. He does have trouble in canter transitions, but it's very varied - as in sometimes he'll bounce right into it with no trouble, and other times it'll take him the short side of the arena. It does always get better the longer we ride though, and he's always been unbalanced in the canter (though he's improved miles) so I assumed it was that. We haven't cantered recently though, as it's mostly been chill stuff like trail rides.

We're going to get him boots for his back feet, mostly to protect them from being worn away but I suppose if there is some pain it might alliviate a bit? We've also booked the masseuse, saddle fitter (that was for something else but it could be a problem so I figure better safe than sorry) and he's going to get his feet radiographed soon so we'll know for sure if something's wrong with them. If none of that works we can try a chiropractor or the vet. He needs his teeth done soon anyway so I can just get it done then

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post #9 of 19 Old 10-14-2019, 11:33 AM
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It would be more cost efficient to have the vet out first and localize any pain, diagnose it, then bring in the supportive therapies appropriate for the diagnoses.
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post #10 of 19 Old 10-14-2019, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duskexx View Post
We're going to get him boots for his back feet, mostly to protect them from being worn away but I suppose if there is some pain it might alliviate a bit?
IF Ninja has low heels/long toes, then no - boots will not solve that or make it more comfortable. His hoof capsule needs to be trimmed in order to correctly support his anatomy and weight distribution.
To illustrate what I'm talking about, imagine doing this (or actually do it if you're adventurous, but don't hurt yourself.) -- Walk up to a step or staircase, and step up onto it. Let your heels drop off the edge of the stair, and lower them. Do you notice how when your heels are lower than your toes, your legs feel 'pulled' in the back? What if you were stuck like that, even 'at rest', and somebody put boots on you? Nothing would change - your foot angle is still incorrect. Sure, someone could put insoles in the boots that lift your heels - but that's a bandaid to the bigger problem, and not a very good bandaid.

Quote:
We've also booked the masseuse, saddle fitter (that was for something else but it could be a problem so I figure better safe than sorry) and he's going to get his feet radiographed soon so we'll know for sure if something's wrong with them. If none of that works we can try a chiropractor or the vet. He needs his teeth done soon anyway so I can just get it done then
Radiographs, then vet and masseuse assessment. Make notes of what each person believes the problem is, if they do indeed believe there is a problem. Do not fit tack or adjust saddle before discovering what the issue is. Fixing problems like this can change the way your tack fits. Problems you thought attributable to tack fit (saddle or bit) might be solved by a hoof trim/tooth floating/treatment. After that, if there is still an issue, yes!- check your tack.

Or at least radiographs first so that you have that tool available for your other consultations. (From the way you make it sound, your vet doesn't do the radiographs? Who does?)

When you get the radiographs done, remember to put a marker at the apex of the frog - like a metal tack. Also, take a photo of his hooves at the same angle as the radiographs were taken.

Post those radiographs on here so that we can see them, along with the photos. That way you get more opinions from people like @loosie . And unless your masseuse has experience in barefoot hoof trimming, you might wish to consult a barefoot trimmer. Or at least someone who knows how to measure collateral groove depth and see how that correlates to the radiographs, and then trim appropriately (including for proper breakover.) Now there's a good education in hooves for you!

Even if nothing looks wrong with his feet in radiograph, focusing only on the hoof (P3 or 'coffin bone') is an incorrect approach. The that bone needs to be in proper physical alignment with the rest of the skeleton. Horses usually do well with a 3 to 5 degree palmar angle; he might need 5 degrees in the hinds. If he needs more than that in order to relieve the strain on his muscles, we'd want to ask 'why is that? is it normal for him? was he allowed to be very upright for a long time, or perhaps when he was still young and developing?' In that case, you'd want to consider whether it would be best to leave him at 5 degrees in the hinds, and have the masseuse work on his muscles. The pros can help you figure that out, but you'll need to mention it in order to have it focused on in discussion.

Here are muscles to check for soreness, if Ninja turns out to have long toes/low heels: First, the psoas muscles. Then the middle gluteal muscle. See if the horse reacts to light pressure. If so, there's likely something substantial going on. Most horses can't handle more than moderate pressure. Healthy horses will lean towards you. Then check the superficial gluteal is sore, check the tongue of the middle gluteal (this is where a 'hunter's bump' comes from.) If that is sore, the horse has likely been sore for ~4 months. After that, check the origin of the semitendinosus muscle of the hamstrings. This is above the tail dock on each side. If that is sore, the horse has torn muscles.

Again, horses that have this kind of soreness will appear to 'lift' their backs in order to evade muscle tearing and soreness. If Ninja is experiencing soreness in his back, it might not be the saddle. See how it all ties together? Don't buy any new tack before having this checked out. As @ApuetsoT said, it's far more efficient to have the vet out, get radiographs done, etc. before doing anything else. Keep us updated! =)

No diet, no hoof. No hoof, no horse. No horse is not an option!
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