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Is my horses lameness a hoof issue?

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Is my horses lameness a hoof issue?
  • Firstly, here is a link to photos of my horses hoof, which had some thrush........we have been treating for 5 days or so now.
    The reason for my posting is that I have been worried about my 4 year old QH as he travels down slopes.  As soon as we get to an incline, he starts to shorten his rear stride, and stiffen's up dragging his rear feet.
    The thrush we noticed on his front left.
    I had originally thought the problem might be in his stifle or hock.....but might consider his partial lameness on his front left heel area?  You can see the crack behind the base of the frog, and it's pretty soft there.
    I do plan on giving the horse bute next weekend, and see if his stride changes...and if he does, then I will have my vet block him and see if we can find out where the soreness lies...in the foot, hock or stiffle.
    Thanks for any comments.
    Best regards,
  • I forget, is he lame on the flat or just downhills, being led downhills?  Just asking since he's 4 and sometimes they are uncoordinated/unbalanced with a rider and pick their way down slopes very awkwardly and carefully until they figure it out.
  • When is he lame just walking, incline only, pasture?  To what degree on a 0-5 scale ?
  • My former harness racer took quite a while learning how to go down hills, even though he's an adult horse.  He wanted to go down nose first.  It's hard for me to get him to "sit down" a little.  Your horse might just be trying to figure it out.  OR he may be sore from previous exercise? 
    A good therapist (massage, trigger point, accupunture) can isolate locations of problems, too.   It could be hip or back.  It's possible he's compensating for the discomfort in the front feet.
  • Thanks all.

    Yes...he is showing lameness ONLY on the downhill slope...maybe a 2-3 on a scale of 0-5 with 5 being the steepest you would ever go.  All other gaits are perfect.

    He was trained as a three year old in the round pen....doing lot's of loping in deep dirt....the round pen at this ranch was deep, but I would say a 60 - 90 footer.  Here is a link to the place I bought the horse, and you can see how they train.


    I am guessing they train heavily in this round pen.  The horse does have gray hair from spur marks.....and I know the trainers all use spurs.  All the horses I rode their were lazy....except the one I ended up buying...he was very willing and a good mover.

    I have the farrier out today to do some hoof testing, and to check on the heel of that foot....to see why it's so soft and squishy.  He might cut away some of the base of the frog.

    Thanks for the comments.....wouldn't that be great if he's just young and not sure how to walk down hills?  I sense it's something else, but he's great in all other situations.


  • Hi again Eric,

    As I've given you my opinion on what might be, on the other forum, I won't repeat. But the link to pics - is it your horse pictured on the ad? If so, I would expect his heels to be weak & sensitive, regardless of thrush.

    And the pics of Brooks QHs - is it my imagination or are the horses generally very long in the thigh? Perhaps it's a conformational thing, that he has difficulty on hills.
  • Wundahoss....
    Yes...that is my horses left front hoof.  His heel is soft......but I had the farrier do a hoof test today and he didn't find any pain......but his heels are softer than my other horse.  I suspect it was from the thrush there, but I will have to push on the other feet to compare.
    I am not sure his long rear thigh, but that horse I linked to does have a long thigh.  I wanted you to see the round pen diameter to get an idea of how they train and if too much work in there could have caused damage. 
    I will post a picture of my horse.....
  • I don't know if it's the angle of the picture but he looks like he's still really growing, very butt-high and if so that would make it harder for him to go down hills too.
  • [quote=danastark]

    I don't know if it's the angle of the picture but he looks like he's still really growing, very butt-high and if so that would make it harder for him to go down hills too.

    Yep, the horse is only 4yo. Take a look at this article;http://www.equinestudies.org/ranger_2008/ranger_piece_2008_pdf1.pdf   if you want to learn about maturity rates.

  • Nice article about growth plates etc..........
    I actually am close to the top racing world, and know that some responsible owners take x-rays and make sure growth plates are closed, but the article does give concern in a sensible manner.  I am not sure it matters, but horses started at 3, so seem to be more sound for longer periods of time.....take the current star of the race world Zenyatta, who was started a year late, at 3 years old, and she has been sound sound sound all the way throughout her career.  Side note....she races this Sunday going for win number 17!  Zero losses.....so GO Z!
    I hadn't considered confirmation as a potential problem with traveling downhills....but Dana...you are awesome as always and I can get on board with this whole growing thing.  Actually, the horse has noticeably grown taller in the last few months.....now he is 4 1/2 years this month....Foaled Jan 17, 2006
    I also agree with the article that horses mouths are not matured until 6, and I do ride in a bosal....which is basically a leather nose band.....My horse and I both love it....easy on and off, and it's a very soft feel...just lift the rein and the horse knows.
    Dana......or anyone.....can you explain to me how a higher back end would make it harder for the horse to travel on downward slopes?  Also....would I see a change in the horses soundness going down hills, if I buted him up and rode?  Or would it prove more to be a confirmation situation if I do bute him and he does not show improvement?  Maybe that would mean a mental issue and not pain?
    Thanks....appreciate the input as always.
  • All i can think of to explain it. if his hind end is taller then his front going down hill his hind would be above him making it top heavy. I cant think of anything else for an example.
  • I guess what I was thinking is usually when an experienced horse goes downhill, they lower their rear end and shuffle their hind legs under their belly to keep from tipping forward. If his hind end is significantly higher at this point, he's already going down hill even when he's on the flat, and it would be harder for him to tuck his rear and keep his balance, plus he's young, carrying a rider on his front end and doesn't really know how to balance on his way down.  It would also seem that it would be more strain on his back-picture trying to go down a hill w/ your butt stuck up in the air...... so maybe, just guessing but maybe he's feeling awkward and off to you because he's trying to go slowly and carefully to keep his balance.  I could be completely wrong, although it would be wonderful if it is just a temporary conformation/balance issue and not a lameness issue but it does seem that my gelding goes down hills much more gracefully now that he's 6 and hopefully full grown ':)'  Used to lurch and felt a little scary at times when he was 4-5!!
  • Thanks again.....Dana....you are the bomb':)'
    How great would that be if all this downhill issue is just a balance/maturing thing.  I have hope!
    I am planning this weekend to have him walk down our hill by himself being led, and see if he walks more normal.  Also, I could bute him up and see if he walks the same...which would confirm the confirmation/balance issue......
    Go Zenyatta this Sunday!
  • [quote=wundahoss]


    I don't know if it's the angle of the picture but he looks like he's still really growing, very butt-high and if so that would make it harder for him to go down hills too.

    Yep, the horse is only 4yo. Take a look at this article;http://www.equinestudies.org/ranger_2008/ranger_piece_2008_pdf1.pdf   if you want to learn about maturity rates.

    That is a FANTASTIC article!  I'm so glad I'm waiting to get on Dani now.  I've been told Aps mature late but it seems they all really mature about the same speed, structurally speaking.  AND how easy it is to do permanent damage to back and neck vertebrae.  Everyone should study that info, especially breeders who think their babies need to be under saddle at 2 yrs old.  AND there's info about the problems colts have when they breed too young. 
  • I agree again...that was a great article and was discussing the growth issue with my barn manager today on the trail.  She was telling me that my horse is eating her out of house and barn':)'....he eats it all....every bit, and we are feeding 1 flake alfalfa in the am, and 1 flake 3-way with 1/2flake alfalfa in the pm...plus supplements of lubrysin, hoof power, rice bran and timothy pellet.  He can pound the food. 
    I think he's still growing as well.......
    His butt is definately higher than the withers, and it's rounding out in a big way!  We plugged our way up a long graded hill and he was truckin! This horse is a great walker on the trails......and I believe that since working with that No-Thrush product, he is getting better on the downhills....but I do agree his comformation is part of the issue, but have seen a lot of improvement in his movement since treating the thrush in his left front....
    Will post more pics soon.
    ':)'  Thanks all for sharing on dis thread':)'