I have a 6-year-old OTTB gelding, who over the last few months, has started doing some lower level dressage work. He had been on vacation for almost a year (due to no fault of his own), and once we moved to a new barn, back to work he went! I should mention that although he was race-trained and tattooed, he never actually started.
Most of our work has been in-hand/on the lunge. Lots of walking and trotting, including doing some gentle slopes out in the field to strengthen up his hind end. He’s always been rather weak behind, and my trainer and his chiro both believe he may have an old SI/pelvis injury that nags him a bit, but he’s always been sound and tracked up fairly well.
My question is, does anyone have experience with a horse wringing/twisting their hock? It’s almost as if his RH gets “stuck” and “catches” at the trot, and cantering to the right is very difficult for him. My fella never had this issue before, and it cropped up quite suddenly. We switched farriers (after a bit of a disaster - and the issue appeared before the new farrier was implemented), and he is very happy with the direction we’re heading with my guy’s feet, but definitely notices tightness throughout his entire RH (and seems inclined to think stifle or hip). I’ve had my vet out twice for soundness exams, and he attributes the wringing to an overall lack of strength in both hinds. Even the Lameness Locator showed nothing in particular. We do routine chiro work/acupuncture, which seems to provide my fella relief, but the wringing/twisting of the RH is still there. He has never had any fill/heat in his stifle, hock, hip, or at his SI joint, but is very sensitive to having his RH handled in general (reluctant to have it stretched underneath him and reluctant to have it stretched behind as well). He also has trouble backing, swinging his RH out a bit, and he ever-so-slightly catches his toe on that leg when trotting.
He is on a joint supplement, and is shod in the rear (with his shoes wearing evenly). He gets turned out with one other horse during the day, and has access to a stall at night, but has a private run accessible as well (which is on a gentle slope, so he does lots of walking up and down that to reach the round bale below) so he’s moving around quite a bit. He has had bouts with Lyme Disease in the past, but recent testing showed his titres were too low to indicate an active infection, so that rules that out as a possible cause of the joint issue.
Anyone have any thoughts/suggestions? I’ve read some about estrone injections for locking stifles/SI issues - has anyone had any success with that? What about Legend/Adequan/etc.? I’m concerned that if this wringing/twisting continues, he’s going to end up with serious and long term joint damage - and everyone just keeps telling me that continued work is the key to correcting the problem, but I’d like to do SOMETHING to help him along through this process. I’m a bit stumped as to where to go from here, and would love your suggestions/thoughts/recommendations!
Thank you all so much in advance!