Sound enough to ride? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-16-2013, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
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Sound enough to ride?

I've been having a few problems with Rosie and was hoping to get some advice.

I've had her a bit over a year and have had continuing soundness problems. I'd pull her out and she'd be stiff and "off". I've had a vet, equine back specialist etc out and I guess I've come to a few conclusions. It's a stiffness probably not based in her leg. It doesn't seem to be in her muscles and she shows no pain to the touch anywhere. In fact no pain at all, only just not stepping through quite right, and she'll happily bolt around the paddock. I imagine it like an old injury that healed tighter/stiffer than before (but could be wrong). It doesn't seem to get any better or worse (although she always gets sore when it's slippery) and from what I can tell now it's permanent. She's not worth putting more money to further find the cause of this problem. Regardless I will keep her.

After talking to some people I decided that she would be okay to ride around, probably never be able to collect or compete or anything like that, and no heavy work, but trails and such.

So I've started bringing her back into work because she's seven and had hardly any ridden work but lately she does not want to trot. She will with a lot of pushing but otherwise not, she cuts corners, dropping in etc. I don't know if trotting hurts her with the extra weight.

On any other horse I'd just say it needs more work, but I just don't know if her stubborness is because of her generally disagreeable nature, or because of pain. I'm not a light rider and she's not a big horse, she's about as small as I would go and were she generally fine I wouldn't be worried about my weight but because of everything I'm just concerned.

I don't know whether I should keep riding her or not, or maybe wait until I lose some weight or something. I just don't know what to do, what does everyone else think?
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-16-2013, 10:17 PM
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What does the vet say? If the vet feels she is sound to ride than a walk only might be the option. With the mares history of lameness I would get the vet out and have them do a lameness evaluation while you are riding or lunging her. You are having a problem at the trot so have your horse evaluated at a trot.
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-17-2013, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Vet can't help much, they don't know what it is and she doesn't have pain responses. All they can recommend is further investigation with x-rays and such but I am not willing to put more money into this injury/horse, as I do not think it is likely it can be fixed.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-17-2013, 01:37 AM
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IMO, if you're not willing to put the money into finding the root of the problem, then you shouldn't push it. She sounds like she's uncomfortable trotting with a rider, so use her as a walking / light riding horse.

That said, have you actually spoken in depth with a vet? It might be something like arthritis that can be managed and have your mare back in work.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-17-2013, 01:59 AM
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I have had my gelding with similar issues of just stiffness.... The vet did a whole work up (lameness exam, nerve blocks, X-rays the whole shebang) and The vet cleared him to be ridden and with a lot of work he is starting not to be so stiff in his shoulder. Flexing and moving those shoulders helps... IMO sounds like her not wanting to trot is a behavioral thing.
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-17-2013, 02:09 AM
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As you don't know what's wrong with the horse, you should not be riding. Let alone pushing into the trot, with force.

And for shame, you present as if you are doing light riding, trails and such but she can't do circles and is dropping in - that's arena riding. Add to that, you are saying you are max weight for her when she is sound. She is not sound, and so you are more than max weight right now and doing arena work. You need to reevaluate this, as you are not doing your horse any service.
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-17-2013, 02:17 AM
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You know the answer here don't you? In your heart you do.

As a fellow big rider, you have to choose your mounts carefully, and if you think you are top of the weight that she will carry when 100% sound, then you shouldn't be riding her, that is just fact.

If she is a good honest trail mount, then sell/rehome her with full disclosure of her issues to someone who is a better fit size wise, would she make a safe kids mount?
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-17-2013, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thank you for all the advice. If I come off uncaring or whatever it's not how I am (really I am one of those super neurotic worriers), I have put a lot into this horse and really adore it more than any other, that's why I just want to be able to do something with her. And I am just tired of it all, it's not just this but other injuries she's had, troubles (unrelated). And I had such high hopes for this horse.

I had the vet out they didn't really have a clue, but that it didn't seem joint related and that she wasn't in pain and recommended someone to work on her back and just time off (not that she had been working). He said I could get further tests but I would end up spending more than the horse was worth and he didn't really think they would help. I had multiple sessions with a very reputable and trained equine back person and she said that, from her opinion horse wasn't in pain and I should bring her back into work, and it was her thought that work would improve this issue, and just sort of evaluate as I go along.

She's not suitable at the moment to be sold as a child's mount or a trail horse, and I am not considering selling her, if I decide that she shouldn't be ridden I plan to just keep her as a pet or something, but it would be nice to keep her as a trail horse for friends later on, and if I have kids in a few years she could be a lead line horse, or even for my little cousins.

As I said, she's seven, hasn't really been ridden properly for three (or more) years, so of course I'm going to get on her in an arena before heading out on a trail, considering it's a possibility she's never even been on a trail/road. Like it's great if other people have the confidence to take a horse like that out on trails and roads alone, but I certainly don't! Her steering and stopping needs major work and I'm not going to work out that out and about. I've been getting on her for about 10-15 minutes at a time and just working on steering and stopping, first in an enclosed arena type area, and then a paddock. I saw no signs of discomfort and she seemed to somewhat enjoy getting out and about. The other day I asked her to trot and she was really reluctant and once she did was near impossible to keep straight and kept ducking to side, rushing and then dropping back to the walk. I sort of try to bring her around in a circle (or square, not asking for anything like flexion or even contact but a manageable space) and she'll just cut right in, like she'd want to do tiny circles. I haven't ridden her since then, some people are saying to stop being silly and ride, but I don't know, which is why i posted here.

But it's probably best if I try and find some people I can get good advice from in person, as it's quite a strange lameness, and she's quite a different little horse and it's hard to give and get advice online. I'll probably give her some time off and re-evaluate again later on. It's just tricky to know with her because she is the kind of horse who will try and "get one over you" whenever she can. It is just such a shame to fully retire a seven year old lovely horse.

Sorry for the long post, thanks again for replies

Last edited by Saskia; 06-17-2013 at 03:08 AM.
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-20-2013, 12:39 AM
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I guess I don't quite understand you say you love this horse which I don't doubt and you really want to find out what is wrong with her. Furthur diagnostics are in order radiographs and a full lameness exam. Also consider a chiropractor and maybe even acupuncture for this mare. Her dropping in on arena work my be a soundness issue or could be behavioral. However you do know that she has soundness issues so solve those first. She may just need to be worked more, and possibly with a lighter person. You are not doing your horse or yourself any favors by coping out on proper care. Sometimes those horses that you have high hopes for just don't turn out and you just have to let go of that.
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