Pain of unknown origin

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by SEAmom, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    The problem for you is possibly that you expect the horse's head to bob up and down when he's lame?

    But that's just not how it always looks. A horse can be severely lame without bobbing his head. And the more legs he's lame in, the more difficult it gets to spot.

    Compare the 'flight path' of each hind leg in motion. Look at one hind leg, then the other, compare their length of stride, how the hock flexes, etc.

    Also look at this horse's behavior. He's extremely resistant and moves very badly under saddle. He is, in a word, 'unhappy'. I saw a video of the girl trying to get him to canter, watch that, the behavior is very, very typical of a horse that's 'tight behind' (lame in the hind legs). Head lifted, neck hollowed out(not rounded on the top line of the neck), slows down, refuses to pick up the canter.

    You see, to pick up the canter with a rider when circling, the hind leg on the outside has to push harder off the ground, and the hind leg on the inside has to 'engage' further under the horse's body and bend more. A horse that is unsound in both hind legs will resist picking up the canter in both directions. A horse can 'run down into' the canter, and many do when green, without much change in either hind leg, just by sort of shuffling the hind feet a little, but they have to be sound enough to do that, too.

    When a horse is lame in more than one leg his gait starts to be what's called 'pottery.' British term, it means the overall stride is restricted and uneven.

    Try this. Hold a piece of paper up to the video so you can't see anything above the horse's stifles.

    Part of the problem is that you have to kinda have a picture in your mind of exactly what a 'normal stride' is for this type of horse. You have to have that in mind and compare that to what you see.

    Look at how the horse is swinging his hind leg in toward the midline of the body while the hind foot is coming forward, in the air, rather than putting it down in the usual spot. It's so severe that the stifle joint is actually twisted inward with each stride.

    Look at overall, how restricted the stride is. Look at how the foot is put down on the ground.

    In some judging situations, some judges were trained very strictly to look only at the hooves, then only from the fetlocks down, then only from the knees/hocks down, etc. It helps a lot if you can do that. It takes a lot of concentration.

    Isolating each part and looking at how it moves IS useful, but it's also really important to look at the entire stride overall, an to how the body is used with each stride. Usually with hind leg lameness the horse's rump will bump up and down unevenly, in other words the hip will pop up in the air on one side when one foot moves. This leads a great many people to insist the horse's back/hip/sacroiliac are the problem. But in general this irregular bobbing up and down of the croup is due to hock lameness. The back, croup, stifle and hip will all be sore as well.
     
  2. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    It isn't subtle at all. It's very severe.

    It's not about years and years of 'experience,' it is not 'too hard for you to see' at all, it is just about getting specific instruction on how to detect hind leg lameness.

    Most people can tell lameness when it's in a front foot and the horse's head bobs up and down, and lameness very often is in a front foot. When it comes to hind leg lameness they need specific instruction.
     
  3. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Ecotopia actually goes to the OPPOSITE extreme by ascribing ALL gait unevenness to pain/medical issues. They say 47% show some unnevenness, but ascribe ALL to pain.

    Well, SOME of those problems are due to training. SOME are due to pain/medical issues, some are BOTH (the hardest to figure).

    The problem is very complicated because:
    1. A novice rider can cause a horse to misbehave or resist due to his own errors
    2. Medical problems can also cause resistance/misbehavior
    3. A better trainer may have fewer issues with his own training, but he also may tend to compensate without thinking for uneven gait
    The video is VERY GOOD because it does in fact give you a very, very good list of things to look for, and many apply to hind leg lameness very well.

    I've seen almost all of it, and I think they don't mention the ears being used different on one side than the other. A horse very often holds an ear back if something is hurting him on that side of his body. Generally, it's due to tack pinching him on that side, but it can also be due to pain from lameness.

    They also don't help a rider understand the difference between TENSION and FRESHNESS. FRESHNESS is good, lol.

    They also showed that horse lameness causes rider pain. That was good. I can't even walk after I ride a lame horse, lol.

    It was a relief to hear then talking about the saddle sliding to one side - that was good.

     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  4. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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    Gee.
    It obviously isn´t easy to see for a lot of people or are you suggesting that they see the horse is lame and continue to ride regardless? In 47 % of the studied cases?
     
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  5. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    If it is hard for you to see it right now, then you can learn to see it. You learn a lot of things, you can learn this too. It is not years of experience or 'feel' or anything like that. You can learn it. Why are you so resistant to that idea? If you're confused that might be because there are several mistakes in the video. The picture of hollow and not hollow backs are switched, the videos are somewhat fuzzy and a bit far away, some of the moments/examples are in fact hard to see. But just keep at it. It's learnable.

    Manes doesn't always describe things well. Neither does any one person totally 'click' for everyone. You have to be patient and give yourself a little time.

    I would argue with the claim that almost 50% of horses are lame, in pain, need veterinary care.

    I see a great many horses with 'uneven strides.' Certain types of shows I go to (where they have no veterinary exams or blood testing) tend to have more horses with 'uneven strides.'

    1. SOME uneven strides are due to incorrect riding
    2. SOME uneven strides are due to veterinary issues that must have attention immediately
    3. SOME uneven strides are due to veterinary issues that should have had attention long ago, and are now affecting multiple limbs due to the animal's efforts to unload the leg that was originally painful, so that now other legs, the back, pelvis are damaged, and as a riding animal the horse is probably beyond help, and the horse should no longer be ridden
    4. SOME uneven strides are due both to vet issues that must have attention AND incorrect riding
    5. SOME uneven strides are an older arthritic horse's instinctive responses to arthritis that PREVENT him from being in pain but still allow him to move about and be active, which is good for his health. AS LONG AS he is not worked inappropriately for his level of disability(and that may be the 'rub'....), he will benefit from exercise. Attempting to jack him around and 'make him straight' and putting on shoes that actually interfere with his efforts to compensate, are inappropriate in this case.
    6. SOMETIMES you see old arthritic horses that are ridden improperly AND have an acute issue that needs attention.
    My guess is that in future, more people will use Lameness Locator systems and send the DATA to their vet for review. Legit trainers will eventually start buying LL when the price comes down some (and it will). The vet will give you a report on the DATA. This could result in faster and actually, cheaper diagnoses.

    I would not 'suggest' that some people see a horse is lame and still ride it, I would say flat out, for a FACT, that SOME PEOPLE do that. And that in SOME cases that's appropriate (again, depending on how much work we're talking about) and in SOME cases it's not.

    Other people are looking for 'plausible deniability.' They were fairly sure something was wrong, maybe some old timer told them several times, but never called a vet or allowed any vet to do enough to establish a diagnosis or recommend a treatment plan.

    They may prefer to believe their trainer who says 'he's being a jerk, get after him' but they do in fact have this idea in the back of their head that the horse is lame, they just choose to ignore it.

    There are lots and lots of flavors and levels of this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  6. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    and SOME uneven strides can simply be chalked up to our equines own "push vs carry" syndrome.

    I find the OP's horse to be very obviously lame....but then again, I was also the one who insisted Fez was lame, despite a lameness specialist & many other vets insisting he was 100% sound and I needed to just go ride my horse. Yeah.....vet who actually agreed with me said he was 3/5 lame in the hind end & his words specifically were "if that was a front end lameness no one would ever ride that horse as the head would be bobbing so badly". For anyone not in the know with Fez - this vet found the cause and it ultimately required surgery.

    SO.....while I see the horse as very obviously lame, it's been made VERY clear to me that it's not so obvious to others....even "lameness experts" :rolleyez::cautious:o_O:cry:
     
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  7. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    Hmmm. I think I am pretty good at seeing when an animal is "off", especially an animal I know well. I am not as good at seeing what the problem is though and often need help or to video and study it endlessly.

    I think it takes practice and practical experience to be good at it.
     
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  8. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I think anyone can very easily LEARN to see when the animal is 'off' in the hind legs. Which hind leg, what it is, how to treat it none of that is absolutely necessary to each horse owner - a vet can be consulted for that information. The point is to recognize when there is an issue/don't work the horse/ask questions. I think that is very feasible for anyone to learn. INSTANTLY? No. But learnable within a few weeks.
     
  9. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    Harder to do if you do not have a lame/some lame equines to look at and someone to tell you if you get it right/wrong. I have really bad trouble learning from videos of random animals, then there is sorting out what videos are good and what videos are not. You know, you can find a video that supports your opinion on anything on the internet. Literally anything!

    I'm not saying it is not learnable but I don't know that anyone/everyone can learn it. I don't think videos on the internet replace actual hands on, in the flesh experience either.
     
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  10. barrel_racer64

    barrel_racer64 Senior Member

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    Its also hard if no-one will listen and help validate what you intuitively feel or suspect. I suspect one of my dad's horses is a little off. Right or wrong, I didn't bother to open my mouth because it IS subtle and I highly doubt he would listen or follow up on it, based on history. I'm already the "family quack..." sometimes my feelings are founded, other times it seems I am paranoid.
     

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