Hi COTH. I have amazing luck.
My mare just turned 5 and I’ve had her for 7 months. 16.1 hh OTTB, track trained but un-raced (“too slow”). Got her green and going fine W/T/C, chill on the trails or really wherever. Passed her PPE, liked her personality so all systems go. She has been in light work off and on over the winter and fall (maybe 2-3 rides a week, sometimes in hand stuff like long lining, hand walking on the trails). I had surgery and some other factors came into play so work has not been consistent, but this wasn’t any different from her previous home. Was turned out 8-10 hours a day, then moved to 24/7 turnout month and a half ago. No diet changes (24/7 alfalfa/grass mix, handful of triple crown senior for vitamin E, cosequin when I first noticed her NQR, magnesium when she first started “acting up”).
S l o w l y progressive behavior oddities, and very inconsistent too. Never sure what horse we get day to day.
Small stuff like fidgetyness at the mounting block where before she stood like a statue, anxiety in new places despite being unfazed by new places before, not wanting to stand still under saddle but not wanting to go forward. Off and on…some days, she’s the horse I bought, stands like an angel in cross ties, quiet under saddle…other days, totally on edge and hard to settle. Doesn’t coincide with heats that I have tracked. Never has bucked/reared under saddle but prone to being challenging on the lunge…nothing extreme either, small rears and ear pinning but would eventually proceed. Reluctant to canter. Bunny hops in canter (not noted in cantering under saddle vids at previous home months prior). Better behaviors lunging with tack on and side reins but not always. Classic signs of discomfort, but this came on so slowly aside from the very first time anyone asked her to lunge (I was not there, apparently she made a big fuss about it). I had pinned it on her being a youngster.
Sometimes explosive in hand but no real rhyme nor reason to it. Will be leading along quietly or standing and then just start bucking/rearing/cavorting, never seems to matter where she is being led. At first I thought it was baby horse sillies but now, not so sure.
Has always been sticky picking up her hinds…despite working with her on this, she has been slowly getting worse about wanting to hold a hind foot up. When I first bought her, she’d pick it up reluctantly and it seemed like she simply wasn’t used to being asked. But in the last month or so it seems very uncomfortable for her to hold a hind foot up. This is bilateral.
Off and on NQR at the trot, hard to pinpoint a location. Not head-bobbing lame but odd looking. Would disappear for weeks at a time and thought perhaps she was laying on a leg too much.
Never swollen or hot anywhere. No signs of old injuries. Has had the chiro out twice who commented on her SI joints but it was nothing extreme.
Out of ideas, she’s been on paddock rest for the last two weeks finally waiting for a vet visit. Today they took X-rays of both fetlocks, both hind feet, both hocks, both stifles. No signs of arthritis, injury, bone chips etc. No swelling. No visible fluid on X-ray (which it isn’t always visible, true). She was the worst I’ve ever seen her be about lifting her hinds and tolerating her stifles being handled…kicking out with gusto. Needed double the sedation and twitching. I’ve never seen her do this, but it’s been a few weeks since I’ve personally asked her to lift her hinds.
According to vet, on a 1-5 scale, she presents as 4/5 sore trotting on the lunge both directions equal. About a 2/5 trotting away straight. Nothing too noticeable walking.
We need to haul her into the clinic for more diagnostics. Nerve block wasn’t recommended since she needs to be sedated currently for any manipulation of either leg. Have I mentioned that none of this behavior was present at her PPE?
Otherwise she is a sweet horse who walks up to you to be caught. Not super into being groomed but not cinchy, I treated her for ulcers the first month I had her home as she was a mite touchy about her barrel but that went away after the round of Nexium. Teeth fine. Shots worming etc all UTD. Was shod on the fronts temporarily but we took those off as she kept loosing them…was not shod at track and only had them on due to rocky trails at previous home. Her feet are remarkably normal for a TB. I should mention these symptoms were popping up long before we took the shoes off about 3 months ago.
Any thoughts as I prepare to embark down this road? Vet suggested spine, suspensories, SI/pelvis, maybe muscular issue. He said that she did not seem neurological but of course, I’m worried about EPM/EDM and so on. She’s had no pasture incidents that I am aware of in the time she’s been here. And, all “work” has been low key, let’s bob around the well footed arenas and learn about contact and bend sort of stuff. No jumping or anything strenuous…not even ground poles.