I’m hoping some of you could share your thoughts on this situation. I will preface with the vet will be out next week to check things out.
I have a 21 year old gelding. He has his set of health issues. Ringbone, hock arthritis and a weak top line. The weak top line is mostly due to him not being worked at all for several years because of me not being able to do so. We’ve battled lameness for many, many years. It would come and go and no one has ever been able to say, “x is the main issue”.
I’ve recently started to bring him back to work. We x-rayed recently and while the ringbone has progressed it shouldn’t be enough to say he can’t be ridden. We also changed his shoe situation. Brought back his toes more on the front, added leather pads and pulled his back shoes. He has looked much more comfortable and when he canters he no longer hops in the backend like he used to from time to time. His walk is less short than before and there’s no head bobbing at the trot. (Even in a circle which was difficult for him before.) He also got a round of OsPhos. I give him bute from time to time on his stiffer days. He will be starting Equioxx next week.
Riding him bareback he does well. Sure I can feel some stiffness but he’s happy and seems to want to work at both the walk and the trot. He’s absolutely one who will let you know if he doesn’t. That said if I saddle him up and just walk he will come up lame in his hind by the end of the ride. Today I rode him and I asked for a trot and he dis for a few steps but stopped because he didn’t want to. But he seemed very happy walking around and then just standing watching the other horse. When I got off and walked out of the ring he was favoring his right hind.
Clearly my first thought is what’s wrong with the saddle? It does fit him. I have a Mattes pad underneath to provide more cushion. I can certainly try another saddle on him I just haven’t had the chance to do so yet. When he is lame after he does eventually walk out of it after I turn him back out.
Is it possible since his topline is weak that that is part the issue? Not sure if it matters but I’m tiny- 110 pounds and I’m a quite rider. I’m also suspicious of pain in the SI. I know that the discomfort from his arthritis causes him to move short and I know that can transfer pain to the SI. What about Lyme? He did have it when he was younger but did well with treatment. What else should I be asking the vet to check?
If it ends up he can’t be ridden that’s fine. I just want what’s best for him. I’d love to be able to w/t/c under saddle but only if he wants to. As I said he likes to have a job but will let you know if it isn’t okay. He can always do simple ground work to give his brain something to do.
The vet has okayed him for low level work. Again, she’ll be out to see him next week. Any thoughts/advice you have would much appreciated!