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The tack room

So bloody fed up. Wwyd?

33 replies

feekerry · 17/09/2014 20:44

Okay I will try keep this to the point as much as possible but this has spanned almost 4 yrs now.
2008 bought an up and coming youngster (5) to have some real good times with. Ridden owned and competed all my life and this was the first time I could afford an amazing horse. And he was that, amazing temperament, ride ability and talent. Paid a lot of money (for me) for him. Fully vetted etc all good. Had an amazing year with him bringing him on and just starting affiliated competing. He then went a bit off, not lame, developed a weird hip hike. Huge investigations done and ended up at royal vet collage who eventually diagnosed mild hock spavin. Spent near 7000 on diagnostics (5k ins) this horse literally had top notch vet care. He was rising 7 at the time.
I reluctantly retired him as a hack but he even struggled with walking around the block. Over the last 2yrs he has had some turn away time as I have had a couple of babies. 4m ago he returned to light hacking really well until last week when he went all off again and hasn't been rideable since.
I am beyond gutted. It's obvious he can't cope physically with being ridden. I am now wondering whether he should be pts. He appears field sound. But he loves work. He is only 10. I have my own land so he can stay but I have my daughters pony as well and don't have enough land for a 3rd. As it stands I cannot get another horse.
I have spent soooo much time and money on him and the last few years have been heart breaking. He is so lovely and I feel awful for him. I just don't know what to do. Horses and riding is all I have ever known. I can't imagine not riding, but what am I to do? I know folk are looking for sharers etc but I have young kids and land to look after so trying to fit in with someone else's schedule would be difficult. What if he lives for the next 15 years?!!!

OP posts:
Goldenlab · 17/09/2014 21:09

What does your vet say? Is he suitable for a hacking home? Perhaps someone who wanted an occasional plod out?

feekerry · 17/09/2014 21:15

Hmm vets are not hugely interested as he was referred thru 3 different practices before he went to RVC. They all couldn't diagnose him. Thing is I have been lightly hacking him. His legs gave way last week mid hack and he went down on the road. He can't even cope with 20mins round the village once a week. I suspect there is more too it than hock spavin. I suspect he is riddled with arthrites

OP posts:
feekerry · 17/09/2014 21:17

My vet came out last week and we tried him on bute for a while which made no difference to his ridden work.

OP posts:
todayisnottheday · 17/09/2014 21:23

We had this with dd mare, well not a spavin but intermittent lameness etc. I now have her as dd has lost interest. It's taken 6 months to get her back into work. Get started, lame, start again, lame, get a bit further. ... you know the drill. Eventually we are regularly hacking without lameness but I know I need to keep her working regularly whatever happens or we'll be back to square one. It's incredibly frustrating but worth it for me because I couldn't part with our mare.

Do you think you could start again taking it really, really slowly? Does your vet think he could become work sound?

As for the pts question, well only you can answer that. Horses are expensive to keep as a pet. Would a retirement livery be an option?

todayisnottheday · 17/09/2014 21:25

Collapsing under saddle changes things. Whatever the cause it's too dangerous.

feekerry · 17/09/2014 21:42

Arthritis (as in humans) is degenerative so it's not going to improve. There is a lot of debate over joints fusing etc but this has been 4 years and we are no further forward. The joints giving way is a new thing since he has been on bute ( can only presume bute masks the stiffness and makes him less careful)
He has been on retirement livery before and I will consider it again but it's allot of money and as he needs specialist foot care it cost me near full livery prices.

OP posts:
Floralnomad · 17/09/2014 21:53

As today said only you can make a decision about PTS , if he were mine he would just be retired until such times as he was in pain ,but most of my horses have had longer retirements than working lives IYSWIM ( our current Dartmoor is 21 and has been retired since my DS gave up riding at 6 ,DS is also 21!) .

Goldenlab · 17/09/2014 21:53

In that case I would PTS. I wouldn't keep a horse long term on bute and think it would be the kindest thing to do. So sorry.

micah · 17/09/2014 21:59

Could you break him to harness? Even if you're not interested in driving if he can stay sound without the weight on his back rda or the like might take him on.

feekerry · 17/09/2014 22:00

Sorry should have made clear on the field he requires no bute. In fact he is a twat in the field lol!! Often belting Around. He is only unsound ridden. The day he is not field sound is the day my decision is made v easy!!

OP posts:
feekerry · 17/09/2014 22:09

Micah I think we would encounter the same issues as he would still struggle to control the weight downhill or uneven road. Tho the suggestion brought a smile to my face Smile

OP posts:
countingto10 · 17/09/2014 22:29

Could it be the ground, it's like concrete around here and my mare who has similar issues (vet very pessimistic about her long term soundness, wanted to operate six months ago) became very "off" a couple of weeks ago including tripping quite badly on one occasion.

I've come to the conclusion with my mare that her "flare ups" occur when the grass is flushing (as it has been over the last couple of weeks and six months ago), her coat is changing and as a coincidence, the ground is exceptionally hard here ergo unforgiving to her joints. Even though she is a hairy native, her stomach is very sensitive (she colic'd 10 months ago as well) and anything that unsettles it seems to cause an inflammatory response in her legs. We had a laminitis scare in the spring too. I completely reassessed her diet, found a vit/mineral supplement with pro/prebiotics etc in it, fed her salt, vit e, an organic herb mix, soaked hay, Naturebute (which is boswellia) muzzled her to try and get her weight down. I started quietly walking her out to get her moving after she'd had about six months off. I am a light weight rider and as my farrier and Physio said, providing she is happy to, there was no harm in riding her and was better for her - indeed she improves with warming up.

I am taking it really easy with her ATM as she wasn't sound last Friday so I upped her Naturebute to the loading dose, gave a couple of days off and rode her again on Monday and again today, quietly. She appears sound, doesn't object to the saddle or to me mounting and with all her issues, getting her moving more is better for her.

She had a period without hind shoes on for about 8weeks whilst she was really lame and I feel this helped as well.

She went from having hardly any changes in her hocks on New Years Eve to having a bone spur three months later. Prior to this bone spur she had had 3 hock injections and Tildren, none of which worked Hmm so hence me trying the diet/life style route as I had nothing to lose.

It's really hard knowing what to do for the best, only you know your horse and your circumstances. I know I mentally gave myself six months to a year to try and get my horse sound (she's only 12) and I am paying full livery (with DH moaning in the background).

Best wishes.

feekerry · 18/09/2014 22:39

Yep counting I am sure ground/colder nights play a part in things....it's 4 yrs since diagnosis. How long can i keep doing this tho?? For what it's worth he has also had steroids and Tildren with little to no improvement. His weight is good and I am a light weight rider but I just don't know what to do for best. This is the 3rd time
He has been 'brought back into work' in 4 years

OP posts:
MegBusset · 18/09/2014 22:43

Could he be rehomed as a companion?

ADishBestEatenCold · 24/09/2014 00:12

"developed a weird hip hike"

Did anyone consider that this could be neurological?

ADishBestEatenCold · 24/09/2014 00:45

Think everyone has gone to bed.

I am certainly on the wrong tack here, in what I am about to ask ... if it was anything like this, the loads of vets would have certainly picked up on it ... so it's can't be stringhalt, because they would have diagnosed.

But I'll chuck it in to the mix for consideration anyway. Smile

Here are a couple of very obvious videos, but of course it can range from the extreme in that the horse's hind leg looks like it is springing upward violently toward the horse's belly, all the way down to a bit of a leg hike, and everything in between.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcBQXZwxPCc

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=u87t4qqF9XE

The classic presentation is certainly not the only presentation, as this description shows
"rather then displaying the classic symptoms she was knuckling over in both hind legs so that when the stumble occurred her foot would not hit the ground normally and she ended up with the fetlock joint bent back and the weight going onto the front of the joint",
and stumbles and falls do occur.

Anyway, I'm sure you know all this and it's something your vets have discounted but ... as I said ... I thought I'd bring it up, just in case it hasn't yet been considered.

(p.s. If it were Stringhalt, that is not ... in my opinion ... good news, but it might help you to reach a decision).

feekerry · 24/09/2014 19:15

Hiya!
Thanks for your thoughts. Tbh you are right that the resulting action is a lot like stringhalt, that's almost how I would describe the leg action. However, he has been to a neuro specialist at the royal vet collage in London for a full neuro work up which came back totally clear. It was only then that their orthopaedic specialist suggest the hock area and we went from there. If he is pts then I will have a post mortum done as this horse has baffled vets for the last 4 years and I wouldn't be surprised if they found something really bizzare or something very serious.

He has had 2 weeks off on bute so will attempt to ride at the end of the week in the hope he has just 'tweaked' something tho I suspect there is something very catastrophic going on.

OP posts:
couldbeanyone · 24/09/2014 20:16

Gosh how frustrating, I can relate to this as had a horse that clearly had something wrong yet the only thing we ever found was mild changes in hock. These weren't considered to be the main cause because we had X-rays to compare the difference over time (no change) and no response to steroid, bute etc. long story short unfortunately he was eventually PTS as got dangerous to handle and was clearly in a huge amount of pain. Did not have post mortem, a sacroiliac issue was suspected but not proven. I have a feeling it was something drastic but of course will never know.

Very difficult, if only they could talk. I do have a friend whose horse would react very extremely to being ridden - a lovely natured chap who would just flip for no apparent reason. It turned out he is riddled with arthritis and is now a lovely if rather big field ornament.

feekerry · 24/09/2014 21:24

See, your experience sounds medically very similar to mine. X Rays showed mild spavin in one hock. Orthopaedic specialist thought it was not severe enough to cause the symptoms he displays. However he has been scanned and x rayed from head to toe and it was the only thing of interest. The problem is my lad is super genuine, overly genuine actually. He has never once ever shown any issue to being ridden even tho he is clearly in discomfort. Poor thing.
I too reckon he is riddled with arthritis

OP posts:
Goldenlab · 24/09/2014 21:31

So sorry Feekerry. Nothing new to add, but fingers crossed that the bute has helped.

couldbeanyone · 24/09/2014 21:38

Exactly what an orthopaedic specialist said about mine. Can only sympathise as can't even share a diagnosis of what mine had but hope you get some improvement.

countingto10 · 04/10/2014 11:51

Just wondered how you are getting on Feekerry

Mine has been very up and down over the last couple of weeks, as I said before hard ground, flush of new grass growth even though she is muzzled whilst out, raise in ACTH hormones at this time of year and general high temperatures for time of year here (was stamping a lot a couple of weeks back to get rid of flies and I'm sure that inflamed things too). I'm just playing it by ear ATM, she's ok for now (cantered yesterday and I could sit it which was good - can't sit it if hocks are bad as she can't get her hinds underneath properly) and her saddle isn't moving either (which is another sign things aren't right).

Best wishes.

Truckingalong · 04/10/2014 15:05

I'm assuming from an earlier comment u made that you're remedial shoeing? If that's the case, please consider taking shoes off. Learn all you can about barefoot - start with Rockley farm.

feekerry · 04/10/2014 19:38

truck I had previously tried to get a refferal to rockley farm but they couldn't take him at that time and even if they did my insurance refused to pay for it. He has been barefoot for the past 16m but unridden tho I have tried ridden. He seems better shod tbh as he has awful pidgeon toes. Have a remedial trimmer/farrier coming next week so will discuss in full. Don't mean to sound dismissive as I will consider anything but to date no one inc professor at RVC recommended bare foot. But as I say I would be open to it if a decent source could convince me!

counting glad to hear things are okay at the moment. Mine is doing okay at the moment. Off bute and happy in field. Haven't ridden in a couple of weeks however the last time I rode I took him up the road briefly and what the bute has shown as it appears to be a front end issue rather than behind. This all coincided with the last time he was shod, he hasn't been right since and I don't think his feet look right. The farrier was in a huge rush last time and I wonder whether he has rushed his feet. He has bad pidgeon toes and is prone to long toes so if farrier doesn't take care then he ends up all off. This is only 2nd time I have used this farrier. So, I have a highly recommend/sought after trimmer/farrier who only deals in problem cases coming out to look at his feet and advise further. I am wondering now whether he has navicular too... Stumbling, pottery, footy....

OP posts:
Whippet81 · 10/10/2014 20:11

You know what - I think you've done what you can and then more and in your situation I would honestly pts.

I'm saying this from an unsentimental view obviously - I have owned horses for over 30 years and I know it's much easier said than done. I have lost three myself so know what it's like.

Horses are very expensive to keep as hamsters - and if you want to compete etc and cannot afford another to run along side like you say you could be waiting another 15 years before you get the chance. Horses have no concept of length of life only quality - also many of them do not cope well as field ornaments and it isn't fair on them. People don't want big horses that need lots of looking after as field companions - people want placid small ponies - you would still have the worry of him behind the scenes and the worry of having him handed back to you.

My current one has had numerous issues - he is currently on loan to a college (vet out today actually he's an utter nightmare) but he gets very difficult if not worked fairly hard - if it ever got to the point that he couldn't work I wouldn't hesitate - he would hate to be retired and he's only eight.

I would have a good chat with a trusted vet and ask them what they would do if he was theirs - I went over my insurance by thousands once only to lose her anyway and I said I would never do it again.

Sorry to sound negative and I wouldn't want to upset you but in a roundabout way I'm just saying you should feel no guilt if you decided to let him go.

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