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Discussion Starter #1
Okay. Sam's little appy pony Pepper has been lame for about two months now, and we can't figure it out, so I figured i'd post on here for some fresh thoughts!

We were at a sporting competition (gaming for all you western riders :]) back in Januray. It was about 42 degrees, (Super hot!!!) and we did about 9 games twice each. The horses were cooled down and put away, then we found out we both made the flag spectacular, (the big final of the flag race, top 25 times) so we saddled back up and warmed up. We ran the race, and afterwards Sam said Pepper felt a bit stiff in his left fore. She walked him out and put him away for the night. The next morning, yep, he was lame. She didn't ride and we took him home. There were no cuts/marks, no sign of heat in the foot, no swelling anywhere on the leg, no soreness when we poked and prodded him. She gave him a few weeks off, but no change.

Vet came out, suggested it was an inflamed shoulder muscle.

She got the chiro out, who said he was out in the shoulder, so he adjusted him and said he should be ok to ride in a few days. Thats what we did, he was a bit better, but would still put in lame steps at the trot. Chrio came out again, said the shoulder was resolved, so it had to be something else. Suggested putting shoes on him to try and rule out the foot.

Farrier came out and put shoes on him. Rode him the next day, STILL lame. Not as bad as he was, fine at walk and canter, but still lame steps in the trot.

Throughout there has been not heat, no swelling, no wounds...

Does anyone have any ideas? She doesn't have any other horse tor ide, so it's kind of lonely without her to ride with :[
 

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i image it has been very lonely for you with out sam as u & her are like joined at the hip lol, i do hope pepper gets better soon poor sausage
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ha ha yeah we have been riding together for about 5 years. Kinda strange not having her there to ride with!
 

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as i said lol JOINED AT THE HIP hope she gets to come back out with us soon :(
 

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Could be a stone bruise in the hoof that's trying to abscess. Vets have been known to miss them. THe shoes take pressure off his sole, and would provide some bit of relief, but they will only slow the healing. I'd suggest removing the shoes at the next farrier visit, since they aren't solving the problem. If it's an abscess, it may have progressed to where your farrier or vet can find it to diagnose it.
It's not a incompetent vet, either, if they miss an abscess. Sometimes they just don't show up with hoof testers-hand strength does not equal a horse's weight in motion. Had an excellent vet miss an abscess on a horse a couple of years ago, even had taken x-rays to find the lameness. The leg was swollen! Then, the abscess blew at the hairline and the horse was sound. This was a vet that is considered THE best in his area, and the horse, in spite of the swelling that went to his knee, didn't have any heat in the area. Go figure.
That just my over the internet guess anywho.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Do stone bruises normally discolour the sole? We looked for that when he first went lame, and nothing... But if not, then it could be the culprit. Should our farrier have noticed if that was the case? This was only the second time we have hadthis guy, but he has been really good so far, and the first to notice that my ASH is low-heel high-heel.
 

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Try getting a lameness workup with flexion tests and nerve blocks. This will pinpoint where the problem is. If cost is a problem discuss it with the vet, they'll usually cost out each step for you. If it is the foot you'll find out very quickly and with no doubts.
Good Luck:)
 

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Stone bruises may not be visible. Many horses have pigment in the sole, or dark colored feet that hide any discoloration. Most bruises won't show up until the foot has grown out some. A farrier may find it when paring the sole (a big no-no in my book, but is part of shoeing and actually makes it easier to bruise), but it's not the same as a bruise on your skin in that it's not immediately visible. BTW, improper trimming can allow the coffin bone to push on the sole and bruise it, even with shoes and not a rock in sight. Many "stone bruises" are actually from the coffin bone being at the wrong angle. If it's in the area just in front of the frog, it's likely the coffin bone. That is the highest part of the hoof dome, besides the grooves on the sides of the frog, so it gets the least pressure from the ground (an occasional rock can strike it, but statistically, its the most common location with shod horses, and statistically, should be the least common). Real stone bruises would likely be closer to the hoof wall, where the sole is lowest and most likely to make contact.

Some horses are more senstive than others, that is why I say a person using hoof testers can miss the bruise, as horses's bearing weight on his own is going to provide more force. Basically, people may not be strong enough to get a reaction on a bruise.

Soak with warm epsom salts may provide temporary relief and comfort, and won't do any harm if it's not the cause. If the salt soak does help, you are probably looking at a bruise or abscess in the hoof.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Pepper has typical appy feet, white with black stripes through. Though his feet were pretty badwhen she got him so his sole is a bit ragged, it is getting better with our farrier. I would think that it isn't improper trimming, simply because this guy is the best farrier we have had and seems a lot more knowledgable than past ones.

I'll let her know about soaking in epsom salts. Is there a particular ratio, i.e. 2tbs of salt to 1L water? It might be a good thing to try before she pays for a hoof test from the vet...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks!

I actually spoke to Sam at lunchtime today. She said he has made a bit of improvement since the shoes. She has ridden him (lightly) a few times, and he is fine on a straight, and fone turning to the right, but lame turning to the left still (the left fore is the problem).

She has asked me to hop on him birefly tonight and just see if he feels any better.

I suggested the Epsom Salts to her, and I think we might try it. I suppose the only place to go from there is a full on hoof test.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay, I jumped on Pepper bareback last ngiht and rode him up to let my dog out and back down, then got my friend Lynda who had just arrived to have a look at him while I trotted him.

He felt fine mostly, stepping a little short on the gravel and when turning left, but no actual limping... This view was confirmed by Lynda watching us.

So I think she is going to do a couple more 5 minute rides next week to monitor, and if he still feels ok she might bring him up to pony club for our rally day, and just see how he goes...
 

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Give him a few more days and if its not improving then get someone to reccomend a vet and call and ask prices. They will tell you over the phone what the likely steps will be and cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Gluey! As I said above, he is actually going fairly well at the moment, so we are going to introduce a couple of light rides (5/10 minutes of walk/trot) and see how he holds up. If he goes back to limping though we will go back to the hoof test idea.
 
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