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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 4 1/2 year old standardbred mare that seems to be very stiff/ off in the hind end. She's 17hh and recently started going through another growth spurt, but she was a little off even before that. She did race, and does have an old injury from racing, that did heal. In the summer she's perfectly sound, she will jump 3 ft (only did that once) but she loved it. Gallops in the field occasionally, as well as does some basic dressage. In the summer she is very rarely off, and when she is it's for a specific reason, like getting tangled in the fence or having ulcers. She has been off most of the winter, but it seems to be getting worse every ride (I don't ride her often since she is sore though). I believe that part of it is arena sourness though, in the summer she hated the indoor arena, and I usually got the best ride in the field, outdoor arena, or even some fun little trail rides. I recently got her teeth floated, back adjusted, she was showing signs of ulcers again so we treated those with omprazole again, and she's on a very balanced supplement for ulcers, joints, ect. It's called bio equine. The vet checked her leg last year and said she was fine and I could ride her again. When I ride her, she will buck, sometimes rear, and she started pacing recently. Her ears are almost always pinned, and she doesn't like to go forward. Oh I forgot to mention, her saddle was fitted again recently and she got a new one that fits her perfectly, I also ride with a half pad. I just ordered her some back on track quick wraps and polos, and I'm buying some sore no more liniment as well. That's honestly all I can think of at this point. If that doesn't work I'm pretty much giving up and leaving her alone (not riding, obviously she's still going to see me daily, and work on tricks and stuff), for the rest of the winter. I understand she might have some mild arthritis from her racing days, and if she's uncomfortable riding in the winter, I'll only ride her in the summer! I love her and I'm never selling her, even though I bought her before I knew of her old injuries, I made the decision of keeping her back then, even if I can never ride her again. Help would be appreciated!
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I forgot to mention her feet are a little long, I'm getting them trimmed this week. She goes barefoot.
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What exactly has your vet checked? X-rays? Flexion? Etc?

Is your vet a LAMENESS expert? If not, I highly suggest you take your horse to a vet who specializes in horses and in lameness. There clearly is something that is causing her pain that needs to be addressed.

I'm also curious as to why she would have ulcers when she hasn't been ridden much. Is she stalled? What type of hay and grain is she getting?
 

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Why would a young horse have ulcers?
It's incredibly common for race horses to have ulcers due to the intensive management & training. OP didn't mention how long she's been off the track, but it doesn't sound like she got any real "down time" if she was already jumping 3' last summer.
 

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Why would a young horse have ulcers?
OP stated that she had been injured, depending on the injury she could have gotten ulcers from whatever happened. when my gelding was 4 he had an accident at a trainers, got ulcers because of it, and now is extremely ulcer prone.

OP, I would at least call and talk to a vet
 

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The winter/summer difference is interesting. I can see why you think arthritis might be at play because that's worse in the cold; also your horse is a big sort for an SB and heavy racehorses are more prone to arthritis. But I want to know what else is different between summer and winter in your regime.

Meanwhile, one thing that springs to mind:

Ex-race mares that were worked hard when immature seem to be particularly prone to recurring azoturia (tying up) and mild forms of this can cause stiffness in the quarters and reluctance to move before it becomes obvious to the average person that azoturia might be involved. I'm not sure where you are geographically or if your horse is on pasture daily or stabled. A couple of reasons azoturia attacks might happen in winter rather than summer:


  • If you're in a snow area, lack of access to green pick will reduce the Vitamin E levels of a horse, and make them more prone to azoturia.
  • Increased confinement to stables in winter - the less time a horse spends in mild exercise every day, the more prone to azoturia. (Also, the more likely it is to overdo things when it does get ridden.)
  • It takes longer to warm up a horse properly in winter than in summer. Insufficient warming up makes a horse more prone to azoturia.


Various trace mineral deficiencies are also implicated, especially Selenium (big problem in Australia, soil content too low).


Like others are saying, a good veterinarian should be able to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
She had ulcers from racing. She was retired for 3 months when I got her a year ago. The second time she got ulcers was due to her stressing out very easily, she changed pasture mates and the very littlest things affect her quite a lot. I started her ridden training when I got her at 3 1/2. Once she was walking and trotting nicely, she was having trouble with her canter so I introduces small cross rails (she was a pacer, so this usually helps them break that), and it did help, and was cantering in no time. She is the type of horse that gets bored extremely quickly, and no matter what I tried, trails, gallops in the field, patterns, dressage, trotting poles, even some barrel racing (once or twice in an english saddle), she always got bored and cranky when we did the same think a few times. The absolute only thing she didn't get bored of is jumping. I jumped her very carefully, and only once every 2 weeks for the summer. By the end of the summer we played chase me charlie with a friend, and we won and made it to 3 feet, she loved every second of it, and didn't get bored or cranky for a few days after that. She does go out everyday possible for 12 hours, unless too icy. And I let her in the indoor everyday to run and play with her pasture mate since she can't run much in the snow. We have 40 cm of snow right now. Also in the winter we don't jump, which may be making her kind of angry... She has access to hay 24/7. I bought her back on track no bows, and have started wrapping her legs for a couple hours a day, and I'm ordering the back on track quick wraps and polos as well. I bought a quarter sheet too to help her warm up. But it's at the point where she won't even trot without bucking or rearing. The vets coming out at the end of March for teeth and shots, he's very good with lameness, but very busy so I can't get him any earlier. So I'm going to ask about her legs then.
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Hi,

Firstly, I would NOT be jumping(or cantering on) an immature horse, particularly one that already has obvious unresolved issues.

I do not believe 'boredom' sounds likely her problem with repetative exercises. If 'the very littlest things' affect her so much, there are likely problems there. Of course, some horses are naturally more sensitive & reactive to others... but she's a standie! ;-) Ulcers & being overly 'stressy' can be an indication of nutrition imbalance & Mg deficiency for eg, not just of bad diet or unhealthy environment.

I am of the opinion that it is a good move to get a good chiro vet or such to come check out/treat a young horse *before* any obvious problems surface. Since you've had problems with her for a while already, have you had a bodyworker to her before?

I don't believe it sounds like just a matter of being cold/not warmed up & if she's 'off' I wouldn't be riding at all, not just not at a trot/canter. Why do you wrap her legs? Has this been advised by vet/bodyworker? If not advised for some specific reason, I wouldn't be doing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi,

Firstly, I would NOT be jumping(or cantering on) an immature horse, particularly one that already has obvious unresolved issues.

I do not believe 'boredom' sounds likely her problem with repetative exercises. If 'the very littlest things' affect her so much, there are likely problems there. Of course, some horses are naturally more sensitive & reactive to others... but she's a standie! ;-) Ulcers & being overly 'stressy' can be an indication of nutrition imbalance & Mg deficiency for eg, not just of bad diet or unhealthy environment.

I am of the opinion that it is a good move to get a good chiro vet or such to come check out/treat a young horse *before* any obvious problems surface. Since you've had problems with her for a while already, have you had a bodyworker to her before?

I don't believe it sounds like just a matter of being cold/not warmed up & if she's 'off' I wouldn't be riding at all, not just not at a trot/canter. Why do you wrap her legs? Has this been advised by vet/bodyworker? If not advised for some specific reason, I wouldn't be doing it.
Yes the chiropractor adjusted her twice a very short time ago, he said her back was a little off, but in no way bad, just normal from riding and racing. I was advised by him to start wrapping her legs, as well as my very experienced, knowledgable barn manager. Like I said the vet can't make it until the end of March, but with he regular teeth floating and shots she will be getting a lameness exam. I'm not riding her at the moment, but she isn't lame. She's stiff and unwilling, but when you watch her move she's not lame. Change of environment, and things like that affect her, not ridden work or anything like that, she stresses because she's scared someone will bully her, she was bullied badly when I first got her, they wouldn't let her eat and she's pace back and forth all day, she was at a boarding barn so I didn't know about it until she started to drop the weight. Now she's the boss/bully, but everytime a new horse comes she stresses out.
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I know you say you've had a chiropractor to see her, but have does your chiro do muscle work also, and if not have you had anybody out to do a muscle treatment?
My next port of call would be a lameness expert, do you have any idea where abouts in her hind end she is off? Does it look like a stiff joint problem or just generally not right?

And with her stressing out easily, is she on a good mineral supplement? I find that my mare gets a lot more stressed than usual if her minerals are out of whack, even if the blood tests show that they are fine, they are a broad spectrum test and her levels usually aren't right for *her* as an individual.

How does she stretch if you try carrot stretches? both chin to chest/chin to knees and also side to side (head has to stay vertical, not nose first, that's cheating)? can she do those with relative ease or is there issues there too?

I don't have much of an idea right now, but the more information we can gather the better the ideas/suggestions might be that may pop up
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
She hasn't had any muscle work done, I was considering that already, I might do that! I do carrot stretches with her almost daily, she stretches perfectly fine, everyone is actually always impressed when they see her touch her bum with her nose! I stretch out her legs too after workouts, she loves it, always licks and chews, then starts yawning and almost falls asleep during her leg stretches. Both hind legs are stiff but what worries me, is it's more her right (the one she injured), and it does look like a joint problem, which is where she injured. Her pastern bone. When I stretch out her legs I hear popping sounds sometimes, so that freaks me out. Her feet are way over due for her trim, my barns farrier is very irregular, he's coming next week, but I'm going to have to try and find another one for in between trims, or ask him to come more often for my girl. She's young, and very healthy, so her feet grow almost twice as fast as the others. I don't like shoes, but I'll get her some if anybody thinks that would help (obviously talking to my farrier), but she is barefoot as of now. She's on a very balanced mineral supplement called bio equine, it's suppose to prevent her ulcers, and help with joints, but she's only been on it less than 2 weeks. Her coat is absolutely beautiful, best in the barn, shiny and soft, so that's good. Let me know what you think
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I would definitely recommend getting her a muscle treatment from a qualified person in your area.. Not sure what types of options you have around you, but when I have muscle treatments done I tend to use massage and Bowen, the lady that I use also does acupressure and acupuncture etc so I have a wide range of options.

She may need xrays of her back legs if the muscle treatment doesn't help. Does any type of exercise help? Even if it's just a 5-10 minute inhand walk or something?
No reactions if you push and prod around her back/rump/tail/legs etc?

Definitely speak to your farrier, you don't want any extra stress on the muscles/tendons/ligaments from long hooves.

I don't specifically know that supplement, but if it is designed and manufactured in your area/for your soils then you should be alright.. for example NZ pastures tend to be low in Selenium, so for me, using a mineral supplement made in Australia isn't going to help me when they are low in other minerals and need to compensate for that.

My geldings neck pops all the time but I have never been told to worry about it by any specialists even after asking multiple specialists, but since this isn't your horses neck I would ask a specialist of some sort anyway, just in case.
I don't remember if you said what type of injury she had, what did she do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would definitely recommend getting her a muscle treatment from a qualified person in your area.. Not sure what types of options you have around you, but when I have muscle treatments done I tend to use massage and Bowen, the lady that I use also does acupressure and acupuncture etc so I have a wide range of options.

She may need xrays of her back legs if the muscle treatment doesn't help. Does any type of exercise help? Even if it's just a 5-10 minute inhand walk or something?
No reactions if you push and prod around her back/rump/tail/legs etc?

Definitely speak to your farrier, you don't want any extra stress on the muscles/tendons/ligaments from long hooves.

I don't specifically know that supplement, but if it is designed and manufactured in your area/for your soils then you should be alright.. for example NZ pastures tend to be low in Selenium, so for me, using a mineral supplement made in Australia isn't going to help me when they are low in other minerals and need to compensate for that.

My geldings neck pops all the time but I have never been told to worry about it by any specialists even after asking multiple specialists, but since this isn't your horses neck I would ask a specialist of some sort anyway, just in case.
I don't remember if you said what type of injury she had, what did she do?
She had a hairline fracture on her right hind pastern bone. I was told it healed then she continued racing :( until she became to slow. When I bought her all I was told was she was too slow, I had to message previous owners to get the the bottom of the story when problems started to arise. However my vet looked at her legs last year and said they were fine, however he wouldn't take X-rays, because he needed the old x rays to compare? I don't know I wasn't very happy with him. He just felt them and told me she's fine to ride. She doesn't get better with exercises, I hand walked her with and without her wraps and cooler, she was equally as stiff and unwilling each time. They were 20 minutes each. No reaction near her feet or rump, she actually gets happy because she loves her stretches and bum scratches so she thinks I'm going back there for that everytime.
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