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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello
I got on my TB mare (Willow) for a lesson and as soon as we trotted I could feel she was very off and my instructor said so to. She only showed lameness at a trot, was fine to walk. It is one of her front feet. I have texted the farrier asking him to come out but he hasn't replied and I know it will at least a few days before he comes. I am going to my first ever horse camp in 12 days (March 21-22). What can I do at home to help her until the farrier comes so she will hopefully be pain free by horse camp. I was trying to get her fitter as she is very unfit and will probably pass out from all that exercise at camp but now I wont be able to ride her :( Since she is fine to walk would gentle walking rides be ok?


Thanks
 

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It all depends on where she is lame.

You do not seem to know which leg she is actually lame on and this is something you really need to learn.

Depending on where they are lame, they usually take a longer stride with the lame leg, shorter with the sound one as the lame one is bearing the weight.

Their head will come up as the lame leg hits the floor taking the weight off it.

Two simple things to look for and the trot is the best pace to see lameness.

There are a lot of variations but the above is a good starter to being able to diagnose which leg they are lame on.

As for what can you do, my answer is not a lot! Where she is lame is the key factor as to treatment.

Personally I would not ride a lame horse.

Is there any heat in the leg?
 

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Adding to the great post above. . . . I would not ride a hrose that is obviously off/lame at the trot, not even for walking rides. You want her to heal, and you will only delay that by making her walk more with your weight on top.


this came on suddenly, right? Will she walk happily? or is she limiting how much she walks on her own? yes, is there heat or swelling?
do you have a way to pinch her hooves to test for soreness in any one spot (check videos for pinch testing for abcesses)


have you taken a really, really careful look at her leg and foot? she may have a small puncture, or infected bug bite, or . . . any number of things.
 

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Ditto to above posts. Only thing that I'd suggest is, esp if lameness is suspected to be in a hoof & if the horse is shod, I'd remove the shoes immediately. If your horse is shod, you really need to know how to do this & have the tools to do so.
 

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Since she is fine to walk would gentle walking rides be ok?

If you sprained your ankle (as an example), would you want to go for a walk?


No. Do not ride your horse. Lameness is often easiest to see at a trot, due to the nature of the gait, but if they are lame at the trot, they are lame. Period. It is up to the horse owner to figure out the source of the lameness and what steps need to be taken.



I got on my TB mare (Willow) for a lesson and as soon as we trotted I could feel she was very off and my instructor said so to. She only showed lameness at a trot, was fine to walk. It is one of her front feet. I have texted the farrier asking him to come out but he hasn't replied and I know it will at least a few days before he comes.

So this sounds like it is a sudden lameness?

Did your instructor think it was one of her front feet?
Why did you first call the farrier? Why didn't you call the vet first?



I am going to my first ever horse camp in 12 days (March 21-22). What can I do at home to help her until the farrier comes so she will hopefully be pain free by horse camp. I was trying to get her fitter as she is very unfit and will probably pass out from all that exercise at camp but now I wont be able to ride her

If you don't know what is wrong with her, it will be impossible to know if she will be rideable in 12 days. It is unfortunate and it stinks, but if she is still lame then, you know you CAN'T take her to the horse camp. Horses can and do get hurt and sometimes it is poor timing for us humans.
 

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Agree with all the posts above. First step is to find where your horse is lame and second step is rest and treatment. If it were me, I'd have the vet out with the farrier if I didn't have an idea of what was causing the lameness, so that you can have a better idea on how to approach it.



Personally, I don't condone riding a lame horse at all. Horses are prey animals and most hide lameness VERY well. Furthermore, horses can develop secondary and even tertiary lameness from compensating. You could do far more damage (even permanently so) by riding since you have no idea the root of the issue. It could be something as simple as an abscess, hoof bruise or muscle strain, but it could also be ligament or tendon damage which are not easy to heal.You won't know until you have a thorough checkup. So, it is better to error on the side of caution.



I would call the riding camp and see if they may have a horse you could borrow (or if anyone you know does) and if not, then cancel and look for another event farther away. Of course it is disappointing to miss out on the fun, but it is MUCH more disappointing to find out that you've gone and made the lameness much worse by attending camp, not to mention the potential $$$ it can cost in future vet bills.
 

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I think a farrier can often see SOME lamenesses and make a reasonable diagnosis. I mean abcesses. Usually a farrier can detect those. They can usually see when thrush, or a hotnail, or punctured frog, or perhaps a case of white line, etc.



If your farrier is coming anyway, or is easier to get to come by, I see nothing wrong with having him/her take a look.



I would not say this if the horse was limping badly, had a hot leg, or a swollen one. Sometimes lameness works itself out without the vet. But, you still have to rest the horse.
 

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Here are two videos of my old horse, taken two days apart. Obvious lameness in the first. We chose to do a 'wait and see' approach, since he had no swelling or heat, and two days later, he was fine. I'm not saying your horse is the same, just saying that sometimes horses just get better, same like us.







 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok so a new more experienced farrier came today and said she was definitely off. (He rides and competes his own horses and is well respected by the equestrians around here). So he said her tendons did feel a little hot but that was not what was causing majority of her pain, it was that she had an uneven hidden chunk in her hoof. He said to give her 2x sachets of anti inflammatory stuff and this hoof hardener spray (I forgot what its called). He also said to keep riding her
 

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You shouldn't be riding a horse that is off,that is not a sound horse. Sorry I strongly disagree with the farriers advice

If my farrier comes out an my horse is obviously off. He says no riding working horse till sound. He also advises to call vet and get horse examined. To make sure it's not something serious that requires stall rest.

Giving pain meds an continuing to ride is wrong, hoof issue or otherwise.
 

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Agree with Rambo. IF the lameness was caused by 'an uneven chunk of hoof' or whatever, then it will either be instantly resolved with a good trim. Or if not(which I'm guessing if he 'proscribed' bute, it is because it's caused a bruise(at best) or a sprain from landing unevenly. If that's the case, anti inflams may well help, but won't make the horse instantly sound - more stress will likely do further damage. If it's a bruise, I wouldn't bother about anti inflams & you might be OK riding him in padded boots, and it might resolve within a few days if you look after him.
 

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No, I still would not be riding her. Farriers are not vets and do not have the equipment to diagnose lameness issues, unless it is something like an abcess etc that is an obvious cause and I'd also be wary if your horse is also exhibiting tendon heat. It's great that your farrier has more experience with horses; however, he still can't see what is going on internally. If it were me, I'd want to know exactly what is going on with that tendon before considering riding at all. Also, just because he is 'well respected' doesn't mean he is correct, he doesn't have all the information to come to the conclusion that the 'chunk of hoof missing' is the only issue occurring right now. It may very well be the primary issue, but it is also possible that tendon issues have started to occur as a secondary issue.

Also, the last horse I saw that was buted to ride while lame did not come back to work fully and now has a permanent limp. Their farrier, who thought it was just an abscess told them to ride, but it actually ended up being another issue (proximal ligament tear). They spent about 6-$8000 on diagnosis/ treatment, but it still did not heal they way they wanted. Last I heard, she is not riding him anymore. Not saying that this will happen to you as it may truly be a just a small issue, but it is certainly a risk you are running without knowing all the information. It's better to be safe than sorry. I'd hate to see another person disappointing over an issue that could have been prevented.
 

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Is she "off" on only hard, rocky ground such as gravel or is she off at the trot on soft footing such as grass and sand? I'm just trying to grasp why he gave a hoof hardening spray and said to ride her. Thus wondering if perhaps the horse is tender footed and not lame?
 

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I think a farrier can often see SOME lamenesses and make a reasonable diagnosis. I mean abcesses. Usually a farrier can detect those. They can usually see when thrush, or a hotnail, or punctured frog, or perhaps a case of white line, etc.
It is outside a farriers jurisdiction to diagnose lameness. That said, I would be somewhat concerned if a farrier could not correctly recognize WLD. A good farrier has been well-educated, undergone lengthy / quality apprenticeships and is actively continuing their education. There is no reason a good farrier is not able to communicate with even some of the best equine veterinarians when it comes to equine podiatry. Their expertise is invaluable. There is a reason most veterinarians work with the farrier, and it’s not just for a grunt man to nail on shoes.

My personal opinion: If a farrier is not up to or pursuing this level of capability, they either already “know everything”, or are just doing a job and no longer serving the horse.

Ok so a new more experienced farrier came today and said she was definitely off. (He rides and competes his own horses and is well respected by the equestrians around here). So he said her tendons did feel a little hot but that was not what was causing majority of her pain, it was that she had an uneven hidden chunk in her hoof. He said to give her 2x sachets of anti inflammatory stuff and this hoof hardener spray (I forgot what its called). He also said to keep riding her
Before I say anything, no one here knows exactly what this “more experienced farrier” came to, what was asked of them, and exactly what it was they told you. There is a lot that can be lost in translation. If you’re concerned or confused, my advice: speak with your farrier. Voice your concerns and clear the air on what exactly was found, and what course of action was recommended.

Now, with all that said, ‘experience’ doesn’t necessarily correlate with quality. Just because someone has been “shoeing horses for 30 years”, does not mean they’ve been doing it correctly. Unfortunately, it’s those kinds of cases that give the industry as a whole a bad name. Be cautious. Ask lots of questions. Keep an open line of communication.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok so I have not ridden her since the farrier came. 3 days after the trim (Receiving 2 sachets on anti inflammatory and 3 sprays daily of hoof hardener) I had a well trusted horsey person come out and look at her, they said she looked quite ok but also said that might be because of the bute she has been getting, they said to stop giving her and that they would come look at her today (2 days after) they did not come today as it has been pouring down rain and extremely windy. To me personally she looked fine over these two days but I gave her a sachet tonight just to make sure. As I went out to feed her today she for 1. cantered up a hill towards me looking completely sound and 2. didn't think twice about chasing after our sheep. As I was watching her it looked more like to me that she felt fine and was moving around as per normal but just looked slightly off. Is it possible for her to feel sound but look slightly off? Horse camp is in 3 days and I dont know what to do. She looks fine, her legs arent hot, she is moving around the paddock freely.
We ride 5-6 times during the overnight (2 days) camp. This isnt some high level eventing camp, its a pretty chill camp about gaining confidence.
I have not ridden her in 17 days so going to camp with a fresh TB mare is going to be fun. Do you think that if I gave her two sachets each day she would be ok?
 

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said to stop giving her and that they would come look at her today ... she looked fine over these two days but I gave her a sachet tonight just to make sure.
This was not a good idea on your part. For one, you do realise there are 'side effects' of drugs, inc. Bute? IF she were lame enough to need bute in the first place, it is important to administer these type things as little as possible, and if it was deemed the horse was ok to go off it, great! If there is no lameness without bute, why would you give her more 2 days later? And if your friend shows up tomorrow for you, she will not be able to tell, as in her initial visit, whether the horse is sound due to bute or not.

just looked slightly off. Is it possible for her to feel sound but look slightly off?
Yes. If she is 'off', esp after having more bute, she is not sound. Just like people, dogs, other animals... horses can get excited enough to still run around when they're hurting/injured at times.

Horse camp is in 3 days and I dont know what to do. She looks fine,
I think you answered your own question & have just told us she DOES NOT look fine.

if I gave her two sachets each day she would be ok?
NO!!! You do not ride a lame horse. You do not ride a horse who is on bute because she is not sound without it UNLESS on vet's express advice. And sounds like you still haven't had a vet check her, so no.
 

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I agree with all Loosie has said above.

The fact that this horse was not very fit prior to her going lame and you showed some concern about that, now she is still unfit AND on Bute to mask the fact she is lame.


So, you take her to camp, she is ridden 5-6 times in two days she feels little to no pain because she is on pain killers and is hyped up. All seems well you get her home and stop the Bute and she is really lame. Eventually the vet comes out and diagnoses a check or suspensary ligament damage which has been exasperated by being worked.

Damage might be permanent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
But she moved around her paddock soundly without the pain killers? Which means she by her own choice galloped/bucked/played in her paddock without bute, doesn't that mean she feels fine. She does have soft soles which is why he told us to spray her feet with hoof hardner (When on rocky stones I ride in front hoof boots)

I didnt make her run around while she was ever so slightly sore yet she choosed to do it so doesn't that mean she is better than worse?
The main issue of her lameness was that her hooves were uneven and she had moved around like that for a week or so and now after her trim I think its just some kind of muscle memory as now about a week after her trim, she moves alot better and by her own choice gallops up the hills to meet her sheep and bucks likes there is no tomorrow.

I am most likely going to take her to camp but we will see what our "Horsey friend" thinks
 

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No it is not 'muscle memory' - if she is off, she is off. Have previously answered what you're again asking. Sounds like you've made up your mind to do what you want regardless, but at least don't mask it with bute, so you/others can at least see how she is.
 
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