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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! There is a 23-year old saddlebred at the barn I work at. He had terrible hooves when he came to us, terrible white line and thrush, quickly popped two abscesses in his back right hoof and two in his front left. He was out of work during that time because he was incredibly lame, and now, several months later, his hooves are healthy again and we have been doing groundwork to get him strong again. He lost a lot of muscle in his back, topline, and hind legs. The vet and farrier approved him for work a few months ago. He has been doing an incredible job, and lunging beautifully at W/T/C. Today though, he seemed to be in pain during the trot at times. He looked great walking and trotting then (especially going to the left) at times he would tuck his head to his chest, hop, and come out of the trot, sometimes making a little noise like he was hurt. His right side is always a little tight and we do a lot of warming up and stretching after the work out to loosen out, but he has never hopped like this before. His hooves are sound, need a trim but not long at all, and he has no swelling or heat anywhere.
I’m thinking back, stifle, or hip tightness or soreness. Does anyone have any thoughts?
Thank you in advance!
 

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when my lease horse was doing this, it was still deep thrush . Can you post a video, and perhaps photo of feet? be sure the stable gives you permission, though
 

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Yeah, esp as he has been fine until now, definitely sounds like pain... somewhere. Maybe in his foot/feet, but who knows. And if he's had bad feet for a while, chances are he's got body issues from moving badly too, whether or not there are other reasons for body issues, so I'd personally be looking for a chiropractic vet or other good bodyworker to come check him out. They should have an idea of how his feet may be still an issue too.
 

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This is concerning the nutrition: Protein is essential to horses for every system, including skin and hooves. Whey protein is a great protein source as it is easily absorbed and contains essential amino acids, and works very well for senior horses. "NOW! Sports" has an unflavored whey protein powder that I used when my older mare had a hard winter. It worked great and she was back to looking great within about 5 months. She doesn't mind it at all, mixed in with her mineral supplement.


I'd see if he continues this hopping and trot-dropping in the next few days. (Video would help, if you can get it.) What @loosie says is very true. A horse's physiology will adjust to bad hooves, but not necessarily in desirable ways. It can create incorrect joint angles or arthritis in the joints. (Given that you're working with a 23 year old, arthritis isn't far fetched.) You're beyond the point that the new hoof trim would have caused any issues, so now you're looking at the 'new' horse you have and the situation as it is. Your horse is aging in the over-20s range while going through body conditioning and exercise. Evaluate your horse's exercise routine (consistent and daily > weekend warrior), what your horse's nutritional requirements are (forage, any needed protein, and minerals), and then take a look at things that might seem miscellaneous, like dental work and tack fit, including saddle and bit. =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all so much! When his hooves were finally all healed up, we had the farrier and vet examine his legs (particularly his rear right as it was lame for so long) essentially what they said was medically, he had no reason to be lame but it was because it had hurt for so long he was compensating to avoid the pain he thought he would experience even after it healed so he lost a good bit of muscle, experienced a lot of tightness from pretty much not using it, and likely did begin to carry it at different angles, etc.
We had a chiro visit a few weeks ago but for some reason this horse was not on the list.
I have a very good chiro/vet/nutritionist friend who will be working on him at the end of the month so we’ll be able to find out exactly what’s going on and adjust what we need to in his lifestyle! I will get a video today if I’m able to and post it here for further suggestions/ideas. I really appreciate the feedback, I was overthinking the possibilities and I feel a lot better now after seeing the responses and experiences y’all have had. Thank you all so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I will also take a look at his feed and consult with my vet to make sure he is getting all the protein, fat, and forage he needs. I had no idea about the protein supplements for horses so thank you! I will mention that to the vet and see what we decide to do. With him being a saddlebred, his metabolism is through the roof so I want to make sure he’s getting enough food to actually build his muscles instead of just burn through them.
 
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