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Hey all!
I just bought a 3y/o 17h TB gelding who has stiff back hocks. He's only been off the track for 3 weeks now, and is currently on pasture board so that he is not standing in a stall getting stiff. However, his back hocks are still REALLY sore. I'm trying to determine if I should a) put him on joint supplements b) get him vetted/x-rayed c) do nothing for now and wait to see how he is in a few weeks/months. I don't mind giving him enough time to recuperate, and am in no hurry to get him on a riding schedule, since he's so young still. He does w/t/c and jump already, but you can definitely tell he's really super stiff in his back. I'm not sure if it's just because he was a racehorse (only raced 3 times b/c he was SO slow), and never had to use his hind end, or what, but I want to nip this hock issue in the bud sooner than later.
Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I would get him vetted. The vet could let you know how you should approach the problem. Stall/pasture rest? Injection (SO young!!)? Drugs, Surgery etc....
 

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I would have him vetted first, since you don't know for sure whats going on. Its most likely an injury from racing that will need to be treated.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I just posted pictures of him being ridden about 2 weeks ago. He's currently on pasture board. I think in the pics it looks like he's moving out nicely, but lately he's been really stiff.
 

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I think she means if he ends up having an injury, walking around on it in a pasture may not be the best thing for him (stall rest), which is why you should have the vet out so he can reccomend further treatment, or x-rays, or whatever.

My 12 y/o OTTB (raced for eight years) has horrible arthritis in his hocks--he doesn't move correctly without having an oral supplement in his feed.

Since pictures can't really convey stiffness, it would probably be best to get a video.
 

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My 5 year old mare had a hock injury as a 2 year old..she would be stiff at times and couldnt tell if she favored it out of habit or actual discomfort because it took a long time to heal and treat. I did have another vet look at it again, it was healed and she isnt in actual pain because of it, but when its cold (weather changes) or she has been in a stall all night she can be stiff. I finally experimented with some MSM supplement from smartpak, called smartMSM just to see if it would help. I noticed a improvement in a very short time, she was much more fluid and smooth when my daughter rode her, and is less stiff the morning after she is released from the corral. Her back up has become much more smooth, and generally speaking because I have known her since she was 6 months old and after her injury I can tell it helps. So its worth it...but it still doesnt rule out having a vet look at them first to ensure its not more serious.
 

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Wow 3 years old and jumping!

I have an OTTB and here is what I would do with him if I were you (most of these things i did with my mare)...

1. give him time (lots of time) to be a real horse
2. make sure he is on a good feed and his feet are done correctly
3. save and have the vet look at him (i had to save but it was worth it knowing that my mare is all clean)
4. have the equine chiropractor out and make sure you do some of the follow ups
5. i am a better safe then sorry type person so if you feel that the supplements would help then try them- they can't hurt :D

keep us posted and I can't wait to see some pics of him!
 

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I doubt the 'source' of the problems is the hocks. I'd have a chiropractor out first.
I would have a massage therapist out once or twice before a chiropractor. Muscle and ligament tension is what pulls/pushes bones out of place 9 times out of 10 unless a fall or crash is involved, but you'd still need those muscles "put" back in the right places. Then have a chiro out to re-align the bones. In the long run it will solve more problems and save more money then having the chiro out time and again.
 

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I would have a massage therapist out once or twice before a chiropractor. Muscle and ligament tension is what pulls/pushes bones out of place 9 times out of 10 unless a fall or crash is involved, but you'd still need those muscles "put" back in the right places. Then have a chiro out to re-align the bones. In the long run it will solve more problems and save more money then having the chiro out time and again.
Nope. If something is out of whack - a doctor needs to determine what it is- fix it is necessary AND OR recommend massage therapy.

Our chiro has the massage therapist out AFTER the correction has been made. A good chiro does not need to come out time and time again. They will recommend massage or exercises to keep the horse from requiring adjustments.
 

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^i had 2 follow ups (one 4 months after and another 5 or 6 months after that) to make sure that what he adjusted stayed.
 

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I just posted pictures of him being ridden about 2 weeks ago. He's currently on pasture board. I think in the pics it looks like he's moving out nicely, but lately he's been really stiff.
At 3yrs old (did he just turn 3 this year?) and over 17h, his knees are JUST now closing. The growth plates in his hocks won't close until around 5yrs old. I would not ride him until you have him vetted, with full x-rays of knees and hocks. Only light riding once the vets gives you the okay and no jumping until after he turns 5 yrs old.
 

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^i had 2 follow ups (one 4 months after and another 5 or 6 months after that) to make sure that what he adjusted stayed.
That makes sense. Especially if you were not sure of what caused the problem.

Our chiro says that adjustments in horses are typically necessary due to an odd occurance - bad fall, flipping in the cross tie, etc Horses are not usually dumb like their humans and keep doing the same things to injure themselves!
 

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So sorry to here your horse is having issue. Being that he is 3 years old and so large i would have him vetted. There are some things that can come about when a yougster sprouts up in large growth spurts.
OCD is one of them
If he was mine I would start by having the vet give him a good check including x-rays. Then you will have a much better understanding of what is happening.
Just my opinion. Not everyon can afford all those things so rest and watch might be your only option. Although most vets will take a payment plan.
Also sometimes a front leg hoof issue can manifest by looking like a hind end issue. Or do I have that backwards?? Someone else my better know this.
hp
 

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I doubt the 'source' of the problems is the hocks. I'd have a chiropractor out first.
8-|
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Ok. Or have a vet out and determine what the issue is. If it looks like hocks, it probably is hocks. Personally, I wouldn't have touched a 3 y/o with issues already, that has "money pit" written all over it. But now that you're in the boat you are in you might as well start digging, beginning with the vet. I would get a full set of flexions, x-rays, radiographs and get the vet to play around with a fluoroscope too. You need to determine exactly what is wrong with the horse so you can treat him quickly and effectively. This will allow you to minimize damage to the horse and he might end up sound. You never know until you try.

Good luck!
 

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OTTBs are known for having bad hips. Almost all the OTTBs I know have had to get there hips worked on by a chiro. I heard it was from being in the small slots that they are in at the beginning of a race (cant remember what they are called, which is odd! xD). I agree with Mercedes, have a chiro look at him.
^^This is just what I know about it. Bear has really bad hocks, and we think its because his body is so out of place and such. The chiro has been out once (last week) and we worked on his neck and main part of his body, next time she is out (in a week, maybe less) we are going to work on his back end. I would really recommend getting a chiro out to do your boys back!!

I looked at those pictures of him, and boy is he a cutie!! I see a nice hunter/jumper. =]
 

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I would have a massage therapist out once or twice before a chiropractor. Muscle and ligament tension is what pulls/pushes bones out of place 9 times out of 10 unless a fall or crash is involved, but you'd still need those muscles "put" back in the right places. Then have a chiro out to re-align the bones. In the long run it will solve more problems and save more money then having the chiro out time and again.
Since I am a massage therapist and have done chiropractic adjustments myself and work with an equine chiro and an acupuncturist and do acupressure myself...etc...

...the answer is sometimes yes, and sometimes no.

As well, the only time a chiropractor would need to come out time and again is if;

1) the owner/rider/trainer doesn't make changes to the horse's management/training program that may be causing the issue....

2) it's a chronic issue left too long before initial treatment and therefore must be regularly managed to slow further damage

We have no way of knowing in this instance which is the better approach. Since MT's are a dime a dozen and don't have the same schooling requirement as chiropractors, and a chiropractor is more than capable of doing some spot massaging before adjusting if necessary, it makes more sense in this case to have the chiropractor out first. He/she will then recommend massage therapy/stretching program et al... if they feel it's required for the horse's health to progress.

Adding: very likely this would be an 'equine' chiropractor, not a 'human' chiropractor who took the equine course, and therefore there's a good chance that they will spot any other obviously lameness issues, such as hock lameness. That would be called, killing two birds with one stone.
 
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