Very Strange Lameness; Video and Rads Included

Background: 8YO gelding. Always been very sound. Does low level work jumping under 2’6” with me about 2x a week and usually teaches a lesson or two also.

On the 19th we warmed up at the walk and then picked up the trot. About 100 feet into the trot it was like his whole hind end just broke. Really, really lame, and felt horrible. I got off, got the lunge line, and lunged him both ways (video 1 and 2) but weirdly he was sound again. Maybe ever so slightly lame in the right hind, but no way near what it was previously. I assumed he stepped on a rock, got back on, and finished the ride, which included jumping. Interestingly he is very picky about jumping, and if he is in pain at all will refuse and throw me to the ground, so the fact that he happily jumped around the course tells me he was not in pain.

Two days later I rode him again. Same thing happened with trot warmup. Now clearly this was not a rock so I got off immediately after video 3. It’s filmed by my PIVO, so excuse the part where it videos the sky; it does capture the lameness towards the end pretty well.

Vet came out Monday. He was so horribly lame at the trot that she had a hard time deciding exactly what part was lame, but narrowed it down the the right hind. I elected to start nerve blocking. We really thought it was going to be something higher up, but wanted to eliminate the possibility of it being lower down, so his first block was in the fetlock. He trotted off pretty much completely sound on that block. So I elected to X-ray it.
I’ve included all the X-rays here, but I’ll be putting them in the next post so I don’t overwhelm the COTH uploader. My vet really expected to see a broken coffin bone or something with how lame he was, but there was just nothing.

He also has no swelling or heat in the leg.
Ideas? Thoughts? Currently our next steps are waiting two weeks to make sure it’s not an abscess, and then going in for an MRI :weary:

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All the other things aside, your horse is VERY overweight. Whatever is going on to trigger a lameness, the extra couple hundred pounds being carried 24/7 is not helping. I’d be doing whatever it took to start getting that weight off, now.


Also, for anyone who can’t get the video to play, here’s links to it on YouTube

Yes, it’s being worked on. I got a stern talking to from the vet. I didn’t realize how bad he was… guess it kind of sneaks up on you when you see them every day.


No worries, as long as you start taking it seriously immediately. He’s going to try and pluck those heart strings, but he’s not going to die getting stiffed a little to start working that weight off.

My late mare would sometimes do this to me. She’d start off lame like your horse, then “work out of it”. I never did find the cause, but always suspected hind suspensories and/or stifles.


He’s now being muzzled 24/7 and is on a thyroid medication to try to get him to jumpstart his weight loss. If only I could also take said thyroid meds :smile:

He’s not my first who needs muzzling all the time; I have 4 others. But I truthfully just did not see him gaining weight.


I am useless at radiographs so I’ll leave that to others who can read them and assume they are clean or at least cleanish for the purpose of giving my guesses. Abscess, heel area of the RH.

If the low nerve block hadn’t fixed him, I’d give right stifle as my second guess.

At any rate, I hope you get him sorted out without too much trouble! And good luck with the diet program - excess weight on horses can sneak up on us when we see them every day.


Older pony did this years ago, it was less dramatic to start than in the videos but she looked like she had a flat tire, was the best way I could describe it. Ultrasounded and found a slight suspensory tear; some rest and slow return to work helped.

Resting that cute guy would be more complicated tbough with his weight…

Good luck and I hope you find a good and easy solution!


My gut also says soft tissue issue. Hind suspensory or stifle. Cute horse! Best wishes in figuring it out and getting your chunky monkey leaner.

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Biggest thing my eyes see is a saddle that does Not fit. When you’re posting, the cantle is popping up and down with you. Get a saddle fitter out.


Can your vet ultrasound at the farm? Or would you prefer just to go for the MRI? If the nerve block worked and you have an idea of where you are looking, I’d probably start with an ultrasound of the suspensory and other soft tissues in that area, if it doesn’t resolve on its own as an abscess or something.

How many blocks did she do? Do you know exactly which block it was that resolved the lameness? That might help narrow down where you’re looking, although sometimes by the time they have jogged for multiple blocks they have warmed up enough that sometimes they start to look better and it isn’t necessarily attributable to the nerve block. Sorry if I missed it but did he react to hoof testers?

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For some reason the original videos did not work, but your link to youtube did.

In first lunge video going to the left, I thought the LF had a reduced ROM. RH definitely.
In second lunge video, going to the right, the RH is much more obvious.

I agree off of the video alone, that lumping steps behind, look like classical stifle and suspensory soreness; which doesn’t explain the fetlock block working for something up high.

In general when you feel a “lumpy, bumpy tire” feeling in the tack, that is often suspensory with some aggravated stifle soreness.

I wouldn’t discount this horse being sore on all four hooves given his chunky status - fingers crossed you get some answers. I love his name and he looks like a lovely pony under all that extra padding. :laughing:


She can ultrasound, but the block was so low that she felt it was probably not going to be helpful. He was sound on the first block, in the fetlock.
Non-reactive to hoof testers.

Thank you :slight_smile: he’s my little BLM Mustang that grew up to be 15h :smile:

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I was relieved to read that his weight issue is being addressed :slight_smile:

Ditto ChocoMare on the saddle, it does’t fit. It may fit around his shoulder area, no way to tell from any of this, meaning it may fit in the lateral dimension, but it doesn’t fit in the longitudinal dimension

I too see RH, obvious in the ridden video, less obvious but still there in the lunging videos.

An abscess can do this. Tweaking a collateral ligament can do this. he could have taken a misstep as the first thing, went really lame right away from that, and potentially tweaked something badly enough to cause either a slight tear, but after that initial “omg that hurts!!” it didn’t hurt, until he stopped working, inflamamation set in, maybe something else tore every so slight, who knows

Nothing is jumping out in the xrays, the hoof-pastern alignment looks fine, the trim looks fine

I’d say some ultrasounding is the next step. MRI sounds like a giant next step, though you could end up there anyway after an ultrasound, so…

Jingles it’s nothing a few weeks off can’t fix!


I had one present non weight bearing on a hind leg after stepping on a pole. I thought he broke something, but could not identify tenderness, etc when I palpated him. My very good lameness diagnostician found tenderness is the medial sesmoidal ligament. He found it by palpating while flexing this way and that. He diagnosed it as a strain/sprain. After a week of icing, stall rest, and wrapping, he is nearly 100%. I hope this is helpful/encouraging somehow.


It was fitted to him a year ago, but his pudge level has changed so much I would think it’s probably due to that.
I’ll have it checked again once he’s sound and has dropped a few pounds.