Uneven shoulders? Can anyone tell me what's going on here?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by ottbryder, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. ottbryder

    ottbryder Senior Member

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    I noticed just the other day when I was sitting on my gelding bareback that his shoulders are uneven. :confused: There's a bulge on his left shoulder, what I'm assuming is muscle, that just isn't there on the right. I'm ashamed to say that even after 5 years of having him, it may be something that's been there all along, so don't rule out skeletal/muscular issues. :blushing: It's never seemed to cause him any lameness issues.

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    Here's a "bird's-eye-view" of it (Edited: picture with text and illustration included :)). I hope it's clear enough in this photo to see the "bulge" I'm talking about. It's near the back of the shoulder, just before it meets the back. There's just not the same "bulge" on the right. I should also add that he was standing completely square in this picture, and I shot it as straight down his back as I could.

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    Left side

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    Right side

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    And also a shot of his front hooves. Jury's front right hoof has always looked like that. I'm not sure what the exact definition of "clubbed" is, but I've had some people tell me that it is, others say it's not (clubbed that it). Either way, it's abnormally shaped. When I switched to a new farrier last August, I asked him what he thought of that hoof. His guess as to why it's shaped like that is that there's a conformational abnormality in Jury's right shoulder, and a funny-shaped hoof is his body's way of compensating for that. Again, he was only guessing, but could the two problems I'm posting about here (shoulder and hoof) be linked in that way?

    Also, any advice on how I should treat the shoulder from now on would be great. Do I need to call a vet out ASAP?

    Thanks so much if you read all that. Any and all advice is much appreciated! :)
     
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  2. tbtrainer

    tbtrainer Senior Member+

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    I'm not sure about the shoulder...it's kind of hard to see in the pics (old eyes)... but I have to comment on those feet!!!! :eek:

    My horse Grady has the exact feet as your horse...I'll have to get a good pic tomorrow for you, and by the way....Grady made almost 800G's on the track (beat a Kentucky Derby winner) and retired sound after 104 races. So dont let them scare you! :)
     
  3. ottbryder

    ottbryder Senior Member

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    That's great to hear about the feet! I guess just the appearance of them has always made me a bit nervous, but it's nice to know that I shouldn't be worried. And WOW!! about beating the KD winner. I can't say Jury's come close to that ($9k on the track :p).

    I'll try posting another picture highlighting what I'm talking about. It's a pretty significant difference in person.
     
  4. tbtrainer

    tbtrainer Senior Member+

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    I can see the bump, not sure what it is...and I wouldn't really worry to much or spend money for a vet if he's not sore. There may very well be a correlation between his foot and his shoulder...I'll have to ponder that one!
     
  5. gluey33

    gluey33 Senior Member+

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    Try and get pics showing from the shoulder down to the ground. I do think that foot is clubbed and there will be some relationship with foot angles and shoulder angles.
     
  6. ottbryder

    ottbryder Senior Member

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    I'll be sure to do that, gluey. :) I won't be able to until next week, because he's currently boarded 2 hours away from me, but I'll get them ASAP.

    Another question, even if a vet isn't needed, will the difference between the two shoulders affect saddle fit significantly? And if so how much can a saddle pad do to correct that?
     
  7. rageandglory

    rageandglory Senior Member+

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    compensatoury muscle development, commonly generated by a soreness or misalignment of something somewhere (isn't THAT helpful?!). could be the right hoof and its anatomy is causing uneven/asymmetrical use of shoulders.
     
  8. JBandRio

    JBandRio Senior Member+

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    I knew before even seeing the hoof pictures that the RF was going to be more upright and the LF was going to be less upright. That tends to go hand in hand with the shoulder unevenness.

    You need to get xrays of the RF to determine how the bony column is aligned, and get it trimmed for alignment if it is not.

    A side picture, ground level, of the LF would help, but I'd suspect it's got an underrun heel by the amount of flaring visible in the front picture. So, that foot probably needs to come up a little, but can't know for sure based on these pictures.

    I'd bet also this horse spends most of his time grazing with the LF forward and the RF back. That becomes a viscous circle - forward foot grows toe and crushes heel, making it even more comfy to have it more forward. Back foot wears off toe and grows too much heel, making it more comfy to have it further back. All the standing on the LF develops the left shoulder and atrophies the right shoulder.

    It will take a combination of good hoof care and correct riding to even things out as much as conformationally possible.
     
  9. RickB.

    RickB. Banned

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    Actually, after seeing the withers, I was quite suprised to see the club foot on the right side. I would have expected it to be on the left side.

    When riding this horse under saddle, does the saddle slip? If so, to which side?

    Also, which canter lead does this horse take and maintain more easily.

    Regardless, those feet need some help. The flares on the left front need to be addressed, as does the dish at the toe of the right front.

    Regardless of what remediation is undertaken, it will only be as successful as the horse is comfortable with. this is because of the fact that the front limbs are 'slung' in place and the horse has only to do some muscular contortions to get comfortable.

    You also need to assess the hind end because it is very likely that the contra-lateral hinds have, to some degree, the same conformation/issues as their paired fronts. It is easier to address those issues in the hind because the pelvic girdle/hip joint forms a more rigid structure to counter any effort by the horse to undo any remediation done at the hoof level.
     
  10. ottbryder

    ottbryder Senior Member

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    JBandRio - I'll be sure to get those pictures ASAP. Like I said before, he's boarded 2 hours away from me for another 3 weeks (when I'll be moving closer to him), but I should be able to go out Tuesday to get some more pictures.

    You're right on about him grazing with his left leg forward! That's how I usually find him. I'll be sure to talk to my farrier about that, see what he wants to do about correcting that. Are there any particular riding exercises you would suggest to help this problem?

    I'll also look into the x-rays. How urgent is it that I get them done soon? And do you know about how much they would run? I only ask because money's a little tight, a lot of expenses have come up with college starting up again soon. I'll find the money if I need to right away, but it'll be much easier if it can wait a couple months.


    RickB - I honestly can't say that I've ever noticed the saddle slip to one side or the other. Not sure how relevant it is, but your question made me think of it. I have noticed that the saddle pad usually slips to the right an inch or so in the back. Never the left.

    He favors his left lead strongly. There was actually a month or so when he wouldn't take his right at all. Since then he'll take it when I ask, but reluctantly. He also seems to carry himself better on his left lead.

    And I'll be sure to ask my farrier what he wants to do about the dish and flare you mentioned.

    My farrier also suggested to me, after I asked him about improving Jury's hooves, to feed him 2-3 alfalfa cubes a day. He told me that doing so would help the hoof grow more between trims and also grow stronger. Have you heard of this or know if it works? And do you think it's even relevant to the problems we're having?


    Both of you - Thanks so much for both of your posts! They're unbelievably helpful, and I really appreciate the time you've taken to help me with this. :)
     






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