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 Mechanical lameness and its effect on performance
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bey_sirocco
Bronze Member



87 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2009 :  12:48:11 AM  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add bey_sirocco to your friends list Send bey_sirocco a Private Message
Hello,

My arab gelding has a mechanical lameness in a hind leg, not associated with pain.
I am curious as to how this might affect his performance in the future as it was my intention to compete at low level endurance.
His training has been going well so far and there has been no obvious change to his gait. I am however, concerned about pushing him too hard as I don't know whether this limb can take the stress this sport requires.
This abnormality means that he finds it very awkward to be ridden in the menage but he loves his work and is loving the long rides.

Does anyone know if this sort of gait abnormality is almost a cosmetic issue? Should I treat him as any other horse?

Or should I retire him to occasional hacking?

Also, does anyone recommend any dietry supplements that could help?



Vet notes -
This issue was investigated in Cambridge where he passed all flexion tests and nerve blocks. A scintigraph was carried out and an increase in RU was reported over the distal tarsal bones and hind distal femur. They recommended he continue his normal workload unless there was a change.

My Beautiful, my beautiful,
That standeth meekly by,
With proudly arched and glossy neck,
With deep and fiery eye...

http://angelonhorseback.blogspot.com/
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BeckyBoodle
Gold Member


Australia
795 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2009 :  06:46:09 AM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BeckyBoodle to your friends list Send BeckyBoodle a Private Message
Was any possible cause for the mechanical lameness suggested? Has he always had it or was there a trigger?

There are horses with abnormalities that go on to do quite well - there was a horse in one of this month's horsey mags that has an incredible drop in its spine behind the withers but is jumping well, and I know of a horse through doing my equine shiatsu practice with a distorted pelvis that rides well, although to look at him from behind when standing you would be surprised.

The challenge is that if there is a weakness or gait abnormality, it potentially puts strain on other areas of the body to compensate and you can have knock on effects as well as the original issue.

Trying to understand the cause and its knock on effects are probably key to trying to understand his future potential.

Have you seen a physio or other equine therapist? It may be possible through exercises and massage to make a difference, but it will depend on what the issue is in the first place. They can also work with you to help the flexibility of the horse, which may be harder to work on if he finds the menage work a problem. You need the flexibility alongside the muscular strength so as not to risk muscular, tendon and ligament issues while exercising.

Joint problems can be helped by supplements such as glucosomine (sp?), evening primrose oil etc, I am sure someone else on here can recommend.

Hope that helps.
B
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bey_sirocco
Bronze Member


87 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2009 :  09:18:47 AM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bey_sirocco to your friends list Send bey_sirocco a Private Message
I cannot be certain of the cause of the abnormality but I have heavy suspicions that he has always had it.
His brothers and sisters are all doing well in the show ring and at stud which leaves me to wonder why a horse with such good breeding was gelded and sold on for so little.
He has had no episodes of lameness not associated with this problem to suggest a trigger but then I still cannot be sure.

After my last post I did some research on his scintigraph results. I found that there is a chance that he may have the early onset of osteoarthritis.
A second opinion is in order I think!

Thank you for your advice, Rox will be looked at by our local physio in a few days and in the mean time I will start looking into herbal remedies/supplements to try and ease the situation.

Any more advice is very welcome!

My Beautiful, my beautiful,
That standeth meekly by,
With proudly arched and glossy neck,
With deep and fiery eye...

http://angelonhorseback.blogspot.com/
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Crusaders Angel
Gold Member


England
531 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2009 :  11:28:32 AM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Crusaders Angel to your friends list Send Crusaders Angel a Private Message
Hi

Welcome to AL

How does the mechanical lameness look? I know its a bit hard to describe but is it like a stringhalt type lameness where it looks odd or is it due to a less obvious conformation fault?

I'm only asking because if you are considering doing any level of Endurance with EGB then your horse will be vetted before it is allowed to start, even for the lowest distance pleasure ride (this doesn't happen at a Sport Endurance organised ride). After years of vet-writing for low level and FEI level EGB rides I am pretty sure that even if you produce a vet's letter to state that the lameness is due to a mechanical reason, rather than a pain reason, the vets may not let you start, depending on the level of lameness and if the reason is obvious or not.

There was an instance last year when a competitor had a vets letter from a previous year regarding her horse's heart murmur (different to your case, I know) but the vets were adamant that they could not risk the horse running on that evidence and refused to let her start.

I would hate to be the one to ruin your plans but I just thought that a post now would save you the upset of training and travelling to the venue and then be unable to start - it feels wretched enough when you think that your horse is 100% sound and they vet you out

It might be worth checking on the EGB website www.endurancegb.co.uk for your local group representative and having a chat with them about it and see if they can clarify the situation for you.

If you are able to do some rides then another thing to be aware of is that he will be carrying his body in way to compensate for the "odd" movement and may have tight spots on his body that may be aggravated by the increased workload. It might be worth getting him checked out by either a good osteopath or a sports massage and see how his body is now, as a sort of baseline and then have him re-checked in say 3 months to see there has been an increase or decrease, if any, in any tight spots he may have had. Also, have some lessons yourself with a good instructor, someone who can check whether you are sitting level and not twisted - because your horse may be holding his body unlevel to compensate then you will be following the unlevelness and so may be helping to cause a problem without realising.

Sorry if this seems like a bit of sermon or a bit demoralising, its really, really not how its meant to sound.

Good luck and if you are in the Notts/Derbyshire region I look forward to seeing you at some rides

Lucy
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bey_sirocco
Bronze Member


87 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2009 :  12:42:37 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bey_sirocco to your friends list Send bey_sirocco a Private Message
No, those are very good points to make and the horse will always come before the activity.

His lameness is identifiable in that his right hind leg does not track up in equal measure to the other side.
This is very noticable when he is ridden in a right hand bend/circle. His offside hind hoof is placed about 5 inches behind the fore. A stark contrast to the near side that over reaches slightly on a left bend.
It is not a 'bobbing' lameness that you would attribute to a weight bearing cause.

When trotted on a hard surface in a straight line he appears sound, just not quite tracking up.

I would like for him to do some pleasure rides and things as he loves being out so much. I also worry that having to retire him to a slower pace of life will make him quite depressed and angry. He was sold by his last owner because she couldn't ride him enough and he got vicious and naughty around people when he was bored.
I don't want him to be like that again but if I can't ride out and I can't school him it won't leave me much option.

My Beautiful, my beautiful,
That standeth meekly by,
With proudly arched and glossy neck,
With deep and fiery eye...

http://angelonhorseback.blogspot.com/
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Joto
Gold Member

855 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2009 :  12:53:29 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Joto to your friends list Send Joto a Private Message
do check out with RGB before you enter any ride , either pleasure or compettive. as far as I am aware any lameness will result in you not being able to start. You do need to carify the situation not only with EGB HQ but also with individul ride organisers and their vets to avoid disapointment.
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bey_sirocco
Bronze Member


87 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2009 :  1:34:19 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bey_sirocco to your friends list Send bey_sirocco a Private Message
Hmmmm - getting the feeling that it's a no go on the endurance front...
Never mind! As long as I can keep him ticking over to stay sane I am sure he'll be fine.
Will see what physio man says too.
xxx Thanks xxx

My Beautiful, my beautiful,
That standeth meekly by,
With proudly arched and glossy neck,
With deep and fiery eye...

http://angelonhorseback.blogspot.com/
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Crusaders Angel
Gold Member


England
531 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2009 :  2:31:25 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Crusaders Angel to your friends list Send Crusaders Angel a Private Message
Don't be too despondant (?spelling)- if you are sure that its a mechanical thing then try rides organised by Sport Endurance www.sportendurance.co.uk as they don't have any vetting before a pleasure ride.

If the stride inconsistency is due to stride length there are a number of things you can do to try and even things out.

You could try some carrot stretches so that the ribs on short side stretch. This will help his belly swing evenly and may help the hind leg to come under and through better.

Also try and get someone to lead him from both sides and see if leading him from one side or the other makes the problem better or worse. Some horses develop a "curl" which becomes a habit and continues when ridden. My 4yr old was always led on the nearside so developed a left bend way of going even when ridden, he has now evened up when leading and I'm re-backing him at the moment but not sat on him yet so I don't know if he's "cured".

Try doing some inhand exercises such as half-pass & turns on the forehand to try and get his hind legs stepping under and stretching the hamstrings and the ligament from the hip, over the hock etc (can never remember its name ) Aim for just one step across the front of the supporting hind leg and build up from there. This will help the leg come forward and stretch and should help lengthen the stride.

These are just suggestions of things I would try if I were in your position, apologies if they are things you are already doing

Best of luck and don't get disheartened, if I have a problem with any of mine I try and see it as way to get more informed and knowledgeable than folks with perfect ponies

Lucy
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Pauline
Platinum Member


England
3185 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2009 :  2:37:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit Pauline's Homepage  Click to see Pauline's MSN Messenger address  Send Pauline a Yahoo! Message Bookmark this reply Add Pauline to your friends list Send Pauline a Private Message
In a straight line does he look lame or is it just that you see the difference in the foot fall (Tracking Up).

How noticeable is it in a circle is it just on a tight circle that you can see it.

The other thing to do is to go to an EGB pleasure ride with the possibility that you may not start. You can then talk to the vets.

Do get a good Equine Chiropractor to see your horse it may make a big difference.


Pauline

Pauline Higgs
Equine & Human Holistic Therapist
www.thegentlestouch.co.cc
www.endurancegbmidsouth.co.uk
Berkshire / Hampshire Border
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bey_sirocco
Bronze Member


87 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2009 :  11:09:39 AM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bey_sirocco to your friends list Send bey_sirocco a Private Message
Hello again,

As I mentioned earlier Rox cannot be schooled in any way despite being sound on the straight in all paces. He can still be ridden out but sadly we don't have the access to hacking all year round so he would have to go all winter without work.

After a lot of pondering I have decided to put Rocco out on full loan to some lovely people in Dorset www.studlandstables.com/
Here they have access to beach and hillside hacking all year round and he will be used for trekking with competant teenagers and light adults.

His borrowers are fully aware of his physiological situation and the loan is subject to a contract stating what type and how much work he can do. I will miss him terribly but he will still be mine and it's nice to know I can have him home when I like.

I think he will enjoy it and am quite envious of him - it's lovely there!

In the mean time I am in discussion with a nice lady about loaning me her arab mare so it may all work out!

Thank you for all you help.
Rocco's borrowers will work with him to make sure he is comfortable and stretches or 'horse yoga' will be advised and I will be funding him seeing a physio every 3 months or so.

XxXxX

My Beautiful, my beautiful,
That standeth meekly by,
With proudly arched and glossy neck,
With deep and fiery eye...

http://angelonhorseback.blogspot.com/
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