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Any ideas what might be going on with dd’s horse?

50 replies

Pleasedontdothat · 02/02/2023 12:56

DD’s had her mare for two years - dressage is not her favourite thing but she’s a jumping machine, especially XC - she lights up
when she sees the XC course and has never had a XC fault. They did mostly 100s in their first season together then last year went up to novice - she had no problems and has been schooling over intermediate fences and doing 1.15s and 1.20s BSJA over the winter. In two years she’s never had a lame step.

Dd gave her a few weeks off over Christmas but when she started bringing her back into work she was bucking in canter - very unusual for her. We got the vet out who couldn’t find anything in particular apart from tight hamstrings - she sailed through flexions etc - she said give her some intensive physio and if she was still bucking to call her out again. The physio thought she was a bit tender on her back so we got the vet to do back X-rays - these were inconclusive as although three of the processes were close none were touching and the vet said she was pretty sure they weren’t dealing with kissing spines. They nerve blocked the back and she’d stopped bucking on the lunge, dd lunged her again the next morning and she was still fine but when she got on her yesterday she was bucking again. Saddle has been checked and is a good fit - and saddle fit problems wouldn’t explain bucking on the lunge.

Any ideas where we go from here? The vet (very experienced competition horse vet) is a bit stumped. She’s said we could inject her back and SI and see if that makes a difference but I’m a bit reluctant to medicate symptoms without knowing the cause 🤷‍♀️

OP posts:
BaroldBalonz · 02/02/2023 13:36

Have you taken her to a cross country course? Have a blast around at 80 and see if she bucks there.

Pleasedontdothat · 02/02/2023 14:19

I suspect she probably wouldn’t because her system would be flooded with adrenaline (she finds XC extremely exciting) so I don’t think we could rule out an issue based on that. In any case, dd wouldn’t be happy working her until we know what we’re dealing with

OP posts:
TheSweetestPea · 02/02/2023 18:31

This is the route I would go:

They will need permission/for you to have notified your vet that you're having a McTimoney chiropractor treating your horse.

Good luck!

AGoodDayForSomebodyElseToDie · 02/02/2023 23:24

I wouldn't rule out the saddle because she was bucking on the lunge - she may still have been sore enough to buck as a result of wearing the saddle previously. It's interesting that this is presenting after a brief period out of work - where she might've changed shape slightly. Equally, she could just have tweaked something in the field, or any number of injuries / issues.

If she were mine, I'd probably give her a few weeks off, check the saddle (double, triple check), do some strengthening work over poles, and see how she goes - assuming she's happy and sound in the field throughout. You might want to pursue diagnostics more quickly for insurance reasons, or because you'd rather a faster pathway back to work. I probably wouldn't medicate without more diagnostics either. Obviously there are more things you can do - bone scans etc - but whether they'll give you a clear answer at this stage... It's not an easy situation.

Pleasedontdothat · 03/02/2023 07:38

Thanks - we’ve decided to throw the diagnostic kitchen sink at it and she’s going into the clinic on Monday for a full work up. The vet said her back is really nicely muscled, she’s trotting up
sound etc. She does like a wild hooley around the field so it’s quite possible she’s slipped and done something stupid to herself. It’s very frustrating because she was going absolutely beautifully just before her holiday and now dd is looking at the start of the event season approaching fast and having to do some major adjusting of expectations…

OP posts:
Formerglorystory66 · 03/02/2023 07:42

wouldn't rule out the saddle because she was bucking on the lunge - she may still have been sore enough to buck as a result of wearing the saddle previously. It's interesting that this is presenting after a brief period out of work - where she might've changed shape slightly. Equally, she could just have tweaked something in the field, or any number of injuries / issues.

^^ I was going to say this too.

Hope you get to the root of the issue op

Meeka1976 · 03/02/2023 22:37

Don't rule out the close vertebrae. Mine had two that were close but not touching, he started bucking a lot , after a lot of investigation and treating various things we decided it must be the spine. He had surgery in October and no longer bucks and is a different horse

Greatly · 04/02/2023 13:27

Something very similar happened to us a couple of years ago - just before lockdown in fact. Excellent competition vet couldn't find anything conclusive. We turned him away for 6 months ,he came back into work with no issues and within a year they were back at 100 with no issues since.

Pleasedontdothat · 04/02/2023 17:55

I’m glad your horse came good @Greatly - we can turn her away if need be - dd has another couple of competition options but neither is at the same level as her mare so I’m really hoping we can get her right for at least some of this season.

That’s interesting @Meeka1976 - our vet is pretty sure it isn’t kissing spines but it’s possible she’s wrong - did you consider intensive physio or did you go straight for surgery? Do you mind me asking what exactly was the operation your horse had?

OP posts:
Toomuchinfor · 04/02/2023 18:02

Any possibility some aspect of her diet or lifestyle over her holiday was different or stressful to her? Be a shame not to rule out ulcers.

Pleasedontdothat · 04/02/2023 19:24

@Toomuchinfor she had ulcers last year when the yard she was on had restricted turnout for a couple of months in the depths by of winter (she’s since moved) and she presented very differently. But it’s one of the things we’re considering thank you

OP posts:
Newuser82 · 04/02/2023 19:36

I would suggest ulcers, kissing spine or hock issues. I know you say your vet is very good and I'm sure they are but have you considered a referral to a hospital with a specialist vet? It's often helpful to look at things with a fresh pair of eyes. Good luck, I've just been through similar with my own horse so I know it's not easy.

FamilyStrifeIsHard2Bear · 11/02/2023 13:26

The best physio to get to assess your horse is an ACPAT physio you can see who may be near you who is qualified. I wouldn't trust any other physio to assess and treat mine now. I agree with others it could be a range of things, I haven't found vets to always be brilliant with assessment or advice for diagnosing, treating and managing muscular, postural or similar issues in the past.

Along with a physio assessment there are in hand exercises you can do to help support and manage suspected KS or sore back issues, surgery isn't always necessarily the answer and performance outcomes can vary.
A friend of mine set up a Facebook group called NoBackNoHorse that has free in hand exercises to help improve posture, suppleness and way of going. There are physio and rider experts that can provide free advice and my friend herself has successfully managed several KS diagnosed horses using them in conjunction with vet, farrier, physio and saddle fitter support.

Guinefort · 11/02/2023 18:32

Having spent months and £100s /£1000s trying to get to the bottom of my boy's inconsistent hind end issues we got our definitive answer in minutes from a gait analysis computer at a local vet hospital for £150. In future if I'm ever in a similar situation god forbid of knowing something is wrong but not able to work out what I will insist on going straight for this option instead of all the fannying around with lunging and flexion tests and ultrasounds and nerve blocks!!

In my experience, bucking under saddle most likely hocks or kissing spine. I hope you get to the bottom of it soon and it is a straightforward one 🤞.

FatSealSmugSoup · 11/02/2023 18:37

@Guinefort is that AI/machine learning? What was the diagnosis out of interest?

Guinefort · 11/02/2023 19:14

It was called an Equigait machine I think. It confirmed my horse's lameness was originating from his stifles and from that we proceeded to arthroscopy. This was after months and months of is he/isn't he? is it stifles? or something else?!

Arthroscopy showed chondromalacia of the lateral condyles (bilateral but left worse than right). An unusual finding apparently it is much more usual to find chondromalacia in the medial condyles and his were fine.

Pasithean · 11/02/2023 19:22

We had a bucking problem it was caused by a jaw problem. Mctimony and dentist worked to relieve problem.

Tethersend01 · 11/02/2023 19:29

The one and only time my horse bucked. Was a few days before she went severely lame- subsequently diagnosed with a tendon injury. She was in pain and was trying to communicate her difficulty in carrying me 🙁.

Pleasedontdothat · 12/02/2023 18:42

That’s interesting @Guinefort if the bucking continues that’s definitely something to ask about. Vet has ruled out hocks, thinks it’s most likely something going on with her back but not classic kissing spines. Definitely not teeth and saddle fitter is regularly checking all the horses on the yard - she’s based on a pro eventer’s yard. She’s had her back injected and has a physio programme in place - the vet (who is a specialist working out of an equine hospital) says she’s in remarkable condition for a riding 10 year old competition horse and is struggling to find anything she can actually treat 😬. She’s got two weeks of groundwork and stretches and then ridden work can start again which is when we’ll know a bit more 🤞🏻

OP posts:
Tirednest · 12/02/2023 19:18

Rising 10? Would he expect a 9 year old eventer to have problems?

Pleasedontdothat · 16/02/2023 13:44

We have an answer - it’s her suspensory 😢. She’s having surgery next week. specialist says it’s chronic and has almost certainly been there since before we bought her. DD’s beating herself up because she must have been in pain all that time and yet has never said no. The vet says the surgery will give her the best chance of returning to full work so I’m keeping everything crossed it’s successful. If you have any positive post suspensory surgery stories please share.

OP posts:
Ryebreadandpickles654 · 16/02/2023 13:48

Sorry to hear this op. No experience of it but wishing you, your dd and your horse all the best.


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elastamum · 16/02/2023 13:55

Hope it goes well for you. My old horse had suspensory surgery a number of years ago. Took about 6 months to get her back into work. Never had a problem since. Now 23 and retired, but still happy in the field. Good luck with your girl.

elastamum · 16/02/2023 13:57

She was only very slightly lame on and off, but it kept reoccurring and we found it when she was scanned during one of her lame phases.

CaptainClover · 16/02/2023 14:50

The key to rehabing after psd surgery is to change the horse's way of going, otherwise the issue will recur. My friend has a horse that was operated on in 2018, he was brought back very slowly into work and she reschooled him basically, he had jumped a lot up to 1.30 as a young horse but was crooked and never used himself properly. She spent a long time getting him straight and soft over his back. He's amazing now.
Time and careful schooling is the only answer.

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