I don’t normally post on the weekend but I’m driving myself crazy and need to write my thoughts out before my head explodes.
I’ve owned horses for almost a decade. You’d think I’d be more familiar with this stuff. Truth is that Gem and Pete were easy to manage. I’ve never had a single lameness even after she cut half her hoof off. No nagging NQR. Sure I dealt with personality disagreements and she wasn’t easy to train or ride but health wise she was an ox.
Now I’m finding myself overwhelmed and losing faith with a nagging right front lameness that will not go away. Or at least won’t stay away. And I’m so confused.
Here is what I know:
- He was sound the day I met and rode him.
- He was sound for his PPE, flexed 0/5 all limbs and had clean X-rays. The vet was confusing when it came to his navicular shots claiming she saw things but then sending them to a more experienced colleague who said they were normal. She gave the go ahead for low level eventing. Dusty spoke with her during the exam and was comfortable with what she said to give the green light for purchase.
- Both times he was shod all around and his feet were normal looking. The X-rays showed too long toes and needing the shoes set back farther but otherwise fine.
Then I brought him home. That was on a Sunday. On Monday he came in to the barn missing his back right shoe and half the hoof. He was lame on that foot. My then Farrier came out that Wednesday, trimmed all four and reshod the fronts. He was unable to walk come Thursday so I took him to the vet and she casted the hinds but saw no other issues.
Fortunately the hinds were not so bad and he quickly came sound again and able to be ridden. I rode him both at home and took him xc schooling. He was perfect. A little footy on the hinds in the gravel water complex but happy, forward and moving fine. At home I took a lesson in the pouring rain and he was fine w/t/c both directions on a 20m circle.
The week after he came in for dinner missing his front left shoe and half the hoof with it. The front right was loose with half pulled out nails and so we removed it and called the farrier. He came out and cleaned him up but he was dead lame on the front right with exposed lamina the next day.
I fired that farrier and got a new one.
Eeyore continued lame on the front right for weeks. He was pasture sound and sound on the lunge but very obviously lame front right under saddle going right. Going left he was fine. Going straight he was ok.
I gave him 6 weeks completely off between farrier appointments. That was from the end of July until Labor Day weekend in September. He remained sound at all gaits in the pasture. Labor Day weekend I trailered him to Trainer’s beautiful footing and he was sound at all gaits even jumping a small vertical just fine and willingly.
He remained sound for two weeks, I think I rode 5 times, then last Monday he was odd. Not lame, but sucked way back and refused to leave the ground to jump. Tuesday he looked off walking in from the pasture for dinner and then yesterday he warmed up fine but was dead lame on that front right going right at the trot about 15 minutes in.
Ok… that is the back story. Kudos if you’ve stayed reading this long.
I had Dusty examine his front right this morning and he found nothing and no reaction. No abscess and no bruising. No heat. No pulse. He is sound in the pasture and cantered up to the gate for breakfast no issues.
- Saddle fit.
- Soft tissue injury
Here is where I’m getting myself wrapped up in too many questions without answers.
First, his feet suck. His front right is shaped like an elf shoe and there isn’t anything to do about it until it grows all the way out. I find it hard to believe that isn’t the root of the issue. The foot is completely different looking than when I got him plus he is barefoot. The left front remains normally shaped though under-run and he is sound on that. It’s got to be the hoof right?
But if it is the hoof then why is he only lame under saddle going to the right at the trot? Why not in the pasture? The footing is harder out there with the lack of rain and I’ve watched him walk, trot, canter and rear/buck play all perfectly sound. Up and down hill too. Now he isn’t doing it on a 20m circle but still. If his hoof was the culprit, wouldn’t he be lame all the time on it? Specially since he isn’t a little NQR. He is three legged hobbled lame under saddle.
So Dusty posited that it could be saddle fit. The saddle was purchased for Gem after all and he has much bigger shoulders and a different build. The fitter said it was fine with a thin pad under it 5 months ago but maybe it pinches his right shoulder after a while and causes the lameness? He is a bit melodramatic when it comes to pain. I mean, when the hubby says go buy a new saddle and see if it helps I’m not going to say no but I don’t know. It would explain the fact that he is sound out and on the lunge line. I doubt it is the answer though. What horse becomes three legged lame with a pinched shoulder?
The other concern though is that there is a soft tissue injury that was either present but hidden when I bought him or occurred out in the pasture or when he was lame from his feet and six weeks was enough to calm it but not heal it. It’s hard to explain the soundness outside and on the lunge as well as no heat, edema or pain with palpation though.
So this is my plan at the moment unless bloggerland can come up with other suggestions and believe me all are welcome.
- Try one of my other saddles, even the endurance one. I know it won’t magically heal him but it is free to try and will appease the Hubby making spending a lot on other things easier for him to swallow.
- Nag the crap out of farrier to come out. If he doesn’t answer or can’t come, try to find someone who can even if they aren’t my favorite in town. If he comes sound with shoes end of story. If not….
- Set up a lameness eval with the vet. Likely Tryon Equine and see what’s up. Who knows it could be a left hind issue showing up as right front lameness and I’ve been looking at the wrong thing this entire time.
Wish me luck. My brain hates things like this. I’m a fixer. Not being able to fix this is killing me.
And thanks for reading a long post with no pictures.