Upright pasterns/contracted tendons in old horse?
Before you chew me out for seeking veterinary advice on the internet, I would like to let you know that I am discussing this with a vet on Monday, when I am able. I am not calling the emergency pager for this. Thanks!
Yesterday, my husband and I rode for about 30 minutes. After the ride, I noticed my husband's horse's front pasterns seemed very upright. He conformationally has somewhat upright pasterns, but they appeared completely vertical the way the horse was standing. I've seen foals with mildly contracted tendons and this is what it looked like, but I have never seen anything like it in an older horse.
He may have been like this before the ride but I did not take note, as my husband was the one to fetch him from the pasture, groom and tack him.
The horse is 23. He was being ridden about 3 times per week during show season (May - October), as he was on lease to a kid who was showing him in 4H. He was competing in HUS and Equitation, on the flat only, and in obstacle trail. Now my husband is his primary rider and my husband only does light riding at the walk and trot about once per week, so his workload has recently decreased.
There has been no change in his diet or turnout situation. It did however drop about 15 degrees in temperature from Friday to Saturday. It went from a high of 45 F to a high of 30 F with 30 mph winds.
Other than his stance, nothing appears wrong. He is not lame out in the pasture, and was not lame at the walk or trot under saddle. He seems to be in a good mood, ears forward, and willing to move. I could not feel anything unusual upon palpation. There was no swelling, heat or obvious tenderness from the bottom of the hoof all the way up to the elbow. He wears front shoes and had a reset about 2 weeks ago.
I say I have never seen this in an older horse, but I have also never owned a horse in his 20's before. Could this be a sign of stiffness from cold temperatures and a decrease in exercise, or could it be the start of something more serious? Has anyone ever had a similar experience?