Anyone have a horse with the same problems?

I bought a TB mare from New Vocations a little over a year ago. Since I bought her, she’s had this weird hind end issue. At the walk and trot, she short steps with both hinds but more so in the RH. She walks like she’s on a tight rope and usually stands with her legs camped under her. Her canter, however, is lovely. She has a lofty warmblood canter that is super comfortable. She almost always picks up the correct leads and doesn’t ever swap out or kick. She doesn’t have a problem backing up either.
Besides the short stepping at the walk and trot, there are some other symptoms. When she is getting her feet done (she’s in front shoes), she doesn’t have a problem getting her back feet trimmed. She will allow the farrier to stretch them out and pull them under her with no problem. It’s the front feet that have issues. When she is having her front feet done, she starts trembling in the back, wont shift her weight, and loses her balance and tilts backwards. Then she rips her feet from the farrier and runs backwards. She got so bad that I had to give her dorm gel, which helped a lot.
I have tried multiple different joint supplements, buteless, and devils claw and none help. I’m now starting equioxx to see if it helps. I also just got Gutx and Joint Flex so she will be getting lots of HA a day.
When I first got her, she was in work 5 days a week and it never got any worse or better. Then I gave her a few months off. Still no change.
I moved her to a different barn and she is turned out in a like 30 acre field 24/7. I see her galloping and having fun in the field a lot, so she’s not in so much pain that she can’t move. I didn’t have a lot of money for a huge vet bill when I first got her, so I have been saving up for a while (but every time I had enough, something would come up. Cat needed surgery, car needed repairs, etc. ugh). I just finally had enough a month ago. So I called the vet out and she came, did a basic flexion test, and said to inject her hocks. She didn’t do any xrays or even offer them. I’m pissed at myself for not asking for them, but I trusted the vet and injected both her hocks. It’s been 4 weeks since then and I don’t see much of a difference honestly. I am going to have to save up again to get actual xrays (which might be in a while because once again, my car needs repairs. ugh).
A little background on her, she raced 3 times and then retired. She was adopted in 2016 and was thrown in a field for 3 years. She was not taken care of during those 3 years. No one knows what happened during that time, but I don’t think she was lame before she was adopted. She was adopted by someone else in may of 2021, but was immediately given back because she failed her PPE. I then bought her in August of 2021. For a thoroughbred, she isn’t really accident prone (knock on wood). She has cut her leg one time that needed a vet (wasn’t even lame on it) and has only thrown her shoe once. It could’ve been an old injury or perhaps arthritis, or perhaps she is just tense (she is an extremely tense and anxious horse. Perhaps her muscles hurt from being so tight all the time? We’re working on getting her to relax. I’m thinking of starting her on regumate)
Does anyone have any experience with similar symptoms?
Thanks for reading my essay.

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I hate to say this but you already know you need a very thorough vet workup, by a good lameness vet which apparently isn’t the vet you used. This could be anything from neurological to…?? Who knows what.
I’m so sorry.


I’m going to tell you from my (extensive!) experience - stop wasting your money on local vets and find a way to get her to a proper clinic. I pinky swear, cross my heart, that in the end you will SAVE money. They’ve got all the tools right there, and lameness evals are their bread and butter - they’re good at them.


I’ll third this: stop wasting money on feed through supplements and a local vet. Go to a lameness clinic, the best one in your area. Save up, get a thorough exam, tell them your budget for treatment, and follow their plan once one is in place.


I’m going to save up and haul her to an equine hospital a little ways away. I’m from Virginia where I had 10 equine vets in my area. Don’t like the vet you used? It’s ok, there’s 9 other ones. But now I’m in Maryland and the vet I used is literally the only one in the area that will see her. It’s so frustrating.


As an alternative to go right now to big vet clinic and/or a plethora of supps; do a Bute trial. 2 60 ml tubes of Bute costs me about $50 and is 24 grams of Bute enough to do 2 grams per day for 12 days or 3 grams for 8 days. If your horse is significantly improved on a Bute trial then you have a lameness issue and you need a good vet work up.

Don’t kid yourself that Equioxx is anything other than pain meds. Bute is just faster acting and more effective.


May want to mention shivers to the examining vet.
One of the early symptoms is farrier trouble with the front feet, unbalanced and leaning back, similar to what you describe.
We had one horse with similar symptoms, that never advanced thru the time we had him, farrier trouble was his only problem.
Here is a previous thread:

Just more to check out, best luck figuring this puzzle horses are.


That’s kind of what I was thinking. I figure it’s better to spend a little more up front to know exactly what’s wrong with her and exactly what I need to do rather than just guessing with a local vet. The joint injections were already $800. I could’ve used that for tests at the actual equine hospital :weary:


Any way you can find out why she didn’t pass that PPE?
I 2nd & 3rd going to a vet clinic - here it’s the large animal college facility about an hour away.
But as @endlessclimb said: they have all the latest tools.

Wishing you success! :crossed_fingers:


Cooper Williams and Magda Stewart both travel throughout Maryland. Their schedules can be pretty busy but once they’re out, they will spend time on your horse and be honest (and of course are pricey, I did a post-purchase eval since I knew my mare ahead of time and just wanted someone good to do her injections, and the exam was ~500+the injections I knew ahead of time she was going to need, didn’t do rads because I was already anticipating the injections being needed but he offered to do them).

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Here is her PPE

So you have this info to share with the clinic.
Gives them a baseline.

Before I did her injections, I showed her PPE to the vet and based on that, she thought it was the hocks. Personally I think it’s more than that. My old farrier and barn manager both think it might be her SI. I’m not sure though, as she doesn’t really have any symptoms of SI issues.

This might be really dumb since no one else said it yet, but could her hind feet be really sore? You mentioned she’s only shod up front.
Sorry you’re going through it OP, hope you figure it out :slight_smile:


That was my first thought as well, because I have a friend whose horse has shivers and it presents exactly like what OP describes. His horse got progressively worse and cannot back up now.

That said - only a thorough vet exam at a reputable clinic will go to the bottom of it (hopefully).

Your situation sounds similar to what I’ve been through with my gelding. Bear with me, because this is kind of lengthy. Spring of 2021 - he was consistently short-strided behind, hind end and lumbar discomfort, etc. My local vet was convinced it was an SI ligament tear. That didn’t fit what my trainer and I were seeing, so I bit the bullet and sent him to New Bolton for a full workup.

The team at NB agreed that it did not seem to be SI. He had severe ulcers and negative angles/thin soles in the hind hooves. Corrected his trim and added hind shoes and he was hugely improved. We spent the last year or so working to get him fitter and stronger, got him going really well, started thinking about some fall shows.

Fast forward to about a month ago. Barn manager rotates pastures, kindly tries to put my 7yo TB and his TB buddy (who have exactly 3 brain cells between them) out in a bigger field with more grass. They go bananas. Buddy almost goes through the fence. My guy got to running, slipped and had a cartoon style wipeout. Big slice across the point of his left hip. Whole hind end is sore, clearly not right behind.

Gave it about a week of rest and quiet turnout to let things calm down and see if it got better. No dice. Had a different local vet out - she immediately thought he’d inflamed something in his SI but couldn’t say for sure because of the hip injury. Said to give it another week or two and reevaluate. Sometime in that window, he also blew an abscess at the coronary band on that LH.

Vet comes out for recheck appointment. Confirms abscess blown in LH. Hip laceration is mostly healed, he’s no longer reactive to palpation there. Still moderately sore SI. We go ahead and ultrasound. No evidence of soft tissue damage (new or previous), thankfully, but both joints were definitely inflamed. Decided to inject and he’s like a different horse two weeks post.

Even though his symptoms were never classic SI until after his pasture crash, I imagine something may have been niggling there for a while. Fixing his feet likely removed an irritant and caused improvement. Moral of the story: get balance films of all four hooves if you haven’t already, and don’t necessarily write off SI.


I’ve thought about that, though I’m not sure if she’s allowed to have hind shoes as she’s on field board but I’ll ask my manager and then talk to my farrier depending on what she says. Though she has had hoof testers and they were negative. But I am interested in getting her feet looked at once I bring her to the hospital.


Here is a video from new vocations back last may. You can see she’s slightly off in the hind. Her gait has not changed much since then.
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This is curiosity and not condemnation, but why did you buy her if she was off and had the failed ppe? Just curious.


I would take a closer look at her hind feet and assess the trim. Could be that the trim is not balanced, ie medial/lateral balance is off or off the heels are underrun and the toes long. Shoes won’t fix that. I’d start there.