Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Well, I've ordered some stuff. Some of it has come, some hasn't. Some won't for several weeks. It's not exactly what I posted about, either. I may or may not blog about it (though I probably will) but for now I'll wait a bit until I get everything and try out and see how I like them.

But....I've got another problem.

The first weekend in July I had made plans to ride with Jacke and try out a saddle to see how it worked, and I was very much looking forward to that - I love riding with her and it's been too long!

I went and picked up my breastcollar on Wednesday (it had been loaned out to someone else with a no-withers horse) and on Thursday went to fit it to Arabee again. I finally got it all adjusted the way I wanted and led Arabee out to get on, then proceeded to ride her around a bit, up and down hill, to make sure I had the crupper and breastcollar adjusted just right. Occassionally, and only on the gravel driveway, she would take a few super lame, hobbling steps, and then as soon as we were on grass again, walk normal. Sometimes she could walk on gravel just fine, for several strides, walk lame for a bit, then walk normal. It was very strange, and totally intermittent. Shoot! Well, I untacked, and decided to wait until the next day to diagnose any lameness - maybe she just stepped on a rock funny. Well, in the morning I went out and made Arabee walk around the pasture so I could watch, and it was no better, in fact, less intermittent and more consistently off - so I had to call and cancel the Saturday trail ride :-((((

Well, I kind of thought that she was dealing with an abscess. So I trimmed her hooves all nice and pretty, and poked around to try to find the sensitive spot. I thought that perhaps she was sore in her heels, from being out in dewy I started bringing her into the dry lot at night, and not turning her out until the sun burned off all the dew. Well, it improved the look of her hooves quite a lot, but it didn't stop her from continuing to be lame.

Now she's started to walk VERY short strided - it's her left hind leg - and every now and then it will "catch" and she won't be able to unlock her joint at the stifle or put any weight on that leg at all until it "un-catches." So now she has taken to full-time just reaching way far underneath herself with the left rear leg, and never allowing it to extend back, which is when it seems to catch.

Yet, she'll still gallop around the pasture.

I've done a lot of googling about this, and it seems that this may have been caused by weak muscles and that I'll need to strengthen those muscles - using exercises like uphill walking, ground poles, and collection exercises. I've also read that body-work, massage, and chiropractor adjustment can help with this, as well. I'm just not sure where to start - vet? equine chiropractor? exercises at home?

Arghhh! It seems that every time I get something 'fixed' - get better fitting tack, get the abscess healed, get this or that cut healed, get more time....seems like everytime I think I'm finally going to be able to just get out and ride SOMETHING else happens! I just want my mare to be comfortable, and both of us to be safe, and BOTH of us to ENJOY riding together! Even if it is just short, infrequent rides. Can it happen?


Anonymous said...

So you think her stifles are locking ? If you have a good vet, call the vet. It may be a combo of things, tender soles from too much rain ? Do you ride in hoofboots?
I'm using farrier formula on my horse's soles right now because they seem a tad tender after a ride season of 4 shoes/pads. 165 every 4 weeks.Then I just have front shoes thru the summer. My former endurance horse was injected in the stifles and it seemed to help. My indication was that his back legs would slip a fraction underneath him as if he were trying not to fall. If the stifles slip out from under her at the canter you'll be thrown on her neck abit.

Anonymous said...

What a bummer! I'm so surprised to hear she's off when you haven't even been riding her much at all. But then to hear your supposed reasoning; that it's because she is so out of shape that she's lame now; sort of makes sense. How old is she? When she was in shape, how good of shape was she in?


Nicole said...

Yeah...she is DEFINITELY not off due to my riding...I'm pretty sure that the amount of riding I'd done - not more than 20 minutes of saddle time, with 95% of that at a's just not from the riding.

And now that it's been about 2 weeks, it's become clear that it's not in her hooves - just watching her walk along, it's clear that something is "catching" or "locking up" in her left hind leg - and I believe it's the stifle.

But if you do a search on "rehabbing stifle" - it will suggest that the horses muscles sometimes aren't strong enough in the hindquarter to keep the patella in place, which causes it to "lock." And it's in her left hind only. Which since Arabee will take her left lead better than the right, it means her right side is stronger than her left side. So it makes sense that it COULD be that.

And it's also fly season. I've seen her doing a LOT of standing with her left hind leg cocked back, resting, then stamping the flies off. That could be aggravating it.

Also in my search it said that uneven ground could aggravate a stifle issue - well, our pasture is far from smooth - hoof pock marks everywhere.

So...I really do need to get her to a vet...but sometimes these things work themselves out if given enough time. This one is just strange because she's become gradually worse...while turned out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nicole
I feel you pain! I was 9 months pregnant this time last year. I went up to see my horse and he could not walk out of his stall. I freaked out because his right hind was completely locked out behind him. This has never happened before. I have had him since he was 1 and he is 5 now. I called the vet and the fancy term is upward fixation of the patella. He said it was do to lack of exercise. Well yeah I was 9 months pregnant and was tired just walking out to the pasture to get him. Well its been a year and it still locks on him. I don't get to work him as much as before my baby and only recently have I said Nova NEEDS an exercise schedule to get better. He does get an adjustment from the chiro every 5 weeks and she taught me stretches for him after our workouts which he loves! He practically falls asleep while i do them. I also rub "sore no more" on his stifle before and after every exercise session as well as everyday and massage it in. Standing with their legs cocked does make it worse is what the chiro told me. You can actually feel their patella's pop in and out if you place your hand on it while someone walks them. All the exercies you mentioned are great! I ground drive my guy a lot as well as ride and we trot up as many hill as we can find!Good luck! I hope everything works out. PS Lunging will agrivate it which stinks because I could wear my baby on my back and lung my horse but no go Nova's stifle got worse. If you are sure it is a locking stifle I would forgo the vet and have the chiro out. All my vet did once I explained what happened (the locking Nova wasn't lame) He placed his hand on Nova's patella and that was that $200 dollars later. My chiro has defiantly done more for him.