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Discussion Starter #1
So my horse has just recently (2 weeks) became kind of off in his gaits. Not quite lame but not normal either. I've been taking it easy on him and not working him really hard but about a week and a half ago when I was lunging him I noticed that he was cross firing at the canter in both directions. He would pick up the correct lead initially but then change leads behind after a few strides.
I've given him a few days off, and then today a girl came to ride him (hoping to take him to a local show on Sunday in walk/trot) and he seemed ok and then I told her she could try to canter him and see what it felt like and he cantered nicely for about 10 strides, crossfired and dropped to a walk acting as is he couldn't get his hind legs under him all the way. Just enough so that he wouldn't fall but still walking. It looked awful! He did it for a couple of times around a 20 meter circle and then walked right out of it like it never happened. What is wrong with him? The vet is coming on Thursday but I'm going crazy not knowing how serious this is. HELP!
Here is a video of the girl riding him after he walked out of it. I wish I had my camera while it was happening! Does he look bad to you? Have you seen what I described in another horse? How serious is it? Thank you!
Stifle Problem? - YouTube
 

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If he has stifle problems, STOP lunging him. STOP doing circles.

Sky is going through the same thing. We are only doing lines and large figures, excluding circles.

Get your vet out, definitely.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What did your vet say about Sky? Is it something that's going to heal on it's own? Did your vet recommend that you continue to ride him lightly (without doing circles as you previously mentioned)? Please tell me more! :)
 

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What did your vet say about Sky? Is it something that's going to heal on it's own? Did your vet recommend that you continue to ride him lightly (without doing circles as you previously mentioned)? Please tell me more! :)
That he wasn't getting enough exercise, being cooped up too much and that I should make sure that he is ridden more consistently, especially if stalled. So far he seems to be better. No head bobbing anymore or stiffness.

However you should definitely get a vet to look at your horse as an individual. It could be something you're not seeing
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The vet is still scheduled to come out tomorrow. I'm dying waiting! I'm stressing about all of the possibilities...what if I can never ride him again? What if he needs surgery and the vet bill ends up being thousands and thousands of dollars and I can't afford it?
It seems like Jack's issue would be different than your horse though. He's outside in a big field for 13 hrs a day and gets ridden 5 times a week. Glad your horse is better though!
 

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Getting him checked out is the right way to go because if it is stifle then you need to know whats going in in there, exercise helps tighten muscles that hold everything in place but if its from an injury that you haven't seen happen then rest can be better to help it repair. Arthritis starts slowly with just slight intermittent lameness at first but it can accelerate really fast with no warning - best to know what you're dealing with and go from there
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the advice! I hadn't even thought of arthritis! He is 17 now but he was only a pasture pet for the seven years prior to me getting him so he shouldn't have had too much wear and tear on his joints. I'm hoping that's not what it is anyways...not a whole lot you can do about that right? Supplements and/or injections? Ugh... my husband isn't too excited about the prospective expenses Jack could throw our way through this whole thing. Tomorrow can't come soon enough.. I'd rather just know, and not kill myself stressing out about "what ifs".
 

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My old mare started with it (arthritis) in one stifle 4 years ago (she was 16) - she's always been a complete hot head so wear & tear was to be expected I suppose. Its gradually got worse but stayed only on that one side, she is on Previcox most of the time and has good and bad periods but remains bright and happy. I did give her a few light rides last year but this year I doubt I will as the extra weight she puts on her other leg when she has the bad days is having a negative effect on her fetlock joint and suspensory ligament so she's looking very uneven now though she still gallops in full speed from the field and can kick her heels up with the best so I probably worry too much
I hope you get good news, please let us know
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The vet just called and isn't able to come today. We rescheduled for tomorrow...just one more day of waiting.
 

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Just to let you know, my retired polo horse has a stiff stifle. Like Sky's horse, the vet recommended flat work...no tight circles, turn out 24/7, and consistent riding. Said the worst thing for her was circling..but that trotting in a straight line would help build up supporting tissues.

I have her on joint supplements and BL pellets and she is doing great! She is 23 years old and will be slightly "off" until she works out of it and after a few minutes, is perfectly sound.

She runs around like a horse half her age!
 

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I have heard that trotting in straight lines up hills really helps a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The vet just left. He didn't really have an answer for me. He watched Jack walk and trot and also performed a flexion test on him and he passed with flying colors. He said that there were no signs of arthritis that he could tell, his back was not sore, and took some blood to test for lyme. He thought that Jack looked completely healthy, complimented me on my trim job, and recommended to start using a grazing muzzle as Jack was borderline fat.lol. He suggested that I give him bute before really strenuous exercise and work him alot on walking and trotting (big circles are ok) to get him really strong before I start working on his canter again. I can't wait for the results of the Lyme test to come back! Something tells me he has it... we'll see though!
 

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Just noticed you also live in New England - yes the ticks are already bad this year and Lymes will cause lameness amongst other things - . 3 of mine have had it in the past with different symptoms - I get them tested now every year just in case as it can lie there and do nothing for a while then get up and bite them
 

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I'm in Massachusetts. We just moved here last year from VT and the ticks are about a gazillion times worse. I never actually pulled a tick off of any animal until we moved here and now I pull from 3-10 ticks off of Jack every.single.day. They're horrible!
 

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I'd never seen a tick on a horse in the UK so I think mine had no resistance at all - same with the dogs, they all got Lymes too
Use sprays regularly and my vet uses Frontline dabbed under their chin and behind each heel - I'm doing that now, once a month seems to be enough to help but do a small test first in case of allergic reaction
Not much else you can do - clip away long hair where they can hide and the deer ticks almost always cause a small pea size swelling
Keep your grass short - worse in long grass as the birds etc cant find them to eat so easily and cut back low branches that the hang off and drop on the horses (and people)
Yuk.
I'm thinking about trying fly boots this year
 

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Did he look anything like this?


That is my mare. The vet couldn't figure it out either. We tried injecting her stifles and it didn't help. Either she has soft tissue damage to her stifles or arthritic hocks or something in her back/hip. (X rays showed very minor arthritis started. She is only 8 yrs old).

I am planning on getting a second opinion. She also trots sound and only has issues at the canter. She injured her stifles as a 2 yr old. I think this is related to that and only now becoming apparent. Or it could be unrelated.

Your horse probably does have something wrong with him. My mare flexes sound unless you modify the flexion (hold the foot back like the farrier does and flex it up that way). Wish I could explain it better. It is not the regular flexion where you hold the foot more forward to flex the hock. It does explain why she is bad for the farrier with her back feet. Our farrier is very understanding at least!
 

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The vet should have cantered him as well. Not all lameness is apparent at the trot.
She's changing leads... my horse did this when he was not that schooled at the canter.

I'd look at it as a training issue more so than a stifle issue since she seems to do it both ways and not just favor one direction in particular. Canter her a few strides and then go back to trot. Canter her a few strides, back to trot. Trotting doesn't have "leads," canter does.
 
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