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ESI Q and A Forums > ESI Q and A Forum > Questions and discussions for the ESI Q and A Forum > Horse with "hind end collapse" -- i.e. locking stifles

Horse with "hind end collapse" -- i.e. locking stifles
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Lyndsey Lewis
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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 11:52 am
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Hi All, This forum was recommended to me as I have 3 (very short) video's of my horse who occasionally does this little collapse behind. The vets can find nothing wrong with him although I have not done an MRI or had his neck xrayed - just back and legs including stifles - and the xrays are all good.

He has done this for 3 or 4 years. He is now 6 years old and I am starting to ride him. I have been doing lots of slow in-hand work to strengthen and balance him which I think is helping..?? But the very first time I rode him and had him actually walk along, he did the little collapse again. Someone on another forum suggested a stifle issue and said Dr Deb might be able to help with that...???

I would so appreciate any help!! I'm not sure what to write about his history without writing a small novel...:-)...so I'll just put up the video's.  He has never had an accident as far as I know (I bred him) but has often fallen over when slipping on wet grass trying to turn a corner.

This is from last November:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzAVC3ZGqe0

This is from this spring. It seems like just a little thing but it's all I managed to catch on camera. Often the collapse is more dramatic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbad3S-k0WU

And this is under saddle (This is the FIRST time he's been ridden which is why I'm treating so much!! - I've sat on him many times but never asked him to walk-on). He only collapses once near the beginning:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4pJJql8tDw

Thanks so much in advance for watching and for any ideas!!!


Adrienne
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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 12:51 pm
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Hello,
 You may want to check out this thread " Question on locking stifles"
http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/450.html

Adrienne

Lyndsey Lewis
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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 01:05 pm
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Adrienne wrote: Hello,
 You may want to check out this thread " Question on locking stifles"
http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/450.html

Adrienne

Thanks so much Adrienne! Interesting reading. I have limited experience with locking stifle but from what I understand, the leg sort of gets stuck behind and gets straight and stiff and looks a little paralyzed for a moment.

With Ruby the joints seem to all fold and collapse...so I don't even know if it is his stifles???

I did take him to a Jean Luc Cornille clinic and he thought the problem was in his back as he did palpate his stifles and pulled him sideways with his tail etc to test his stifles and felt that they were not the problem. That was encouraging...sort of...:-)...but if not his stifles, then I'm left wondering what it could be...so I'm hoping here that more experienced eyes can see anything that would indicate the origin of the problem.

Thanks again!


bespotted
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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 01:48 pm
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I think this thread may also be of help here.

http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/706.html

Have you had a chiropractor examine him?

Latina

Lyndsey Lewis
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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 02:21 pm
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bespotted wrote: I think this thread may also be of help here.

http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/706.html

Have you had a chiropractor examine him?

Latina

Wow! Thanks!! And thanks to Dr Deb!! Explained the function beautifully. I never thought of the stifle having the opportunity to catch TWICE! Both when the leg is fully forward as well as fully back! I 'think'..??...that with Ruby it might be happening in both instances...??

I'll keep reading....

Thanks again!

PS I could not get the link to the video to work...is there any chance I could get to see this video? Or any other video's of horses with this issue???

Lyndsey Lewis
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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 03:23 pm
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bespotted wrote

Have you had a chiropractor examine him?

Latina

Yes! Three different ones. All found small issues but could not explain the collapse.

Thanks!

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 04:47 pm
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Lyndsey, I see that you have read the relevant pre-existing threads. Now go back and re-read the suggestions given therein as to what YOU have to be doing to prevent it from happening.

This will primarily involve your learning:

(1) When, why, and how your horse is going crooked (for this, you go to "Knowledge Base" from our home page at http://www.equinestudies.org, then download the free PDF document entitled "Lessons from Woody" and study it). Horses whose riders allow them to go crooked are much more likely to catch a stifle.

(2) What collection is, and why it's important for you to maintain at least a mild degree of it at all times when riding (follow the same procedure as above, and download "True Collection" and "The Ring of Muscles" papers and read and study those).

(3) How conformation may impact the likelihood of a horse catching its stifles. For this, get a subscription to Equus Magazine and have them back-start it two years, to the first issue wherein my current conformation analysis series began.

It will also help if you don't get into any type of panic mode over this. There are thousands of horses who have the problem -- 95% of the time, it's due to rider error. So what has to change, mainly, is your own level of knowledge and skill. For this, you may also need to learn from whom you should (and should not) be taking lessons, so that you present your horse the exercises he actually needs at the time he needs them, and not some other hopes, dreams, or ambitions which cause you to ask him to do things that make catching the stifle more likely.

Also, by the way, I want EVERYBODY here to go look at Lyndsey's videos of herself longeing her horse. They are classic examples of how NOT to longe. Lyndsey, you are utterly unaware of the fact that you are backing up the whole time -- or how you could possibly be doing this -- what about the way you are walking and stepping and handling your body that constitutes "backing up".

Yet you must never back up when longeing a horse, nor, as I see you doing, try to make him "go" by pulling on his head. You think you are making him go with the whip, but it is not so, and I would have you entirely dispense with any whip, for a whip is never needed (though at a much later stage, a whip may be a useful directional and stimulating aid, vis. Allen Pogue's work).

But for the moment, what you need to know, Lyndsey, is that whenever anyone backs up when they are longeing their horse, and causes him to go by pulling on his head, what they are actually doing is pulling the animal onto its inside shoulder, which is the commonest manner in which horses doing arena work go crooked. It is you who have trained this into the horse, and you thus, in addition to reading the relevant materials cited above, need to write in here and ask "how am I supposed to handle my body while longeing a horse." This will not be where the instruction you need ends; but it will be where it must begin. -- Dr. Deb

 

Lyndsey Lewis
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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 05:29 pm
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Thanks so much Dr Bennett for taking the time to watch!

I will go do the reading you suggest but just quick question - can I assume at this point that in your opinion  this collapsing is in fact catching stifles??

Thanks!!

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 09:43 pm
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Yes, there is no other likely cause. Any veterinarian specializing in equines will likely tell you the same. You should not rely on chiropractors or massage therapists for your primary diagnosis. On the other hand, most veterinarians have very little training in physiotherapeutic rehabilitation of catching stifles, and most will want to encourage you to do surgery. Do not do surgery, I would advise, until you try some of the other things which will emerge as suggestions from the reading and from our ongoing conversations here.

The first thing I want to hear from you is a question about how you could possibly be "backing up", and what you should be doing differently when you longe. -- Dr. Deb

Jeannie
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 Posted: Sat Jul 23rd, 2011 09:53 pm
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Dr Deb, my horse has been doing the hind leg lifts that Allen Pogue suggested in the tricks topic, and I have been very impressed with them as an exercise.

  I was thinking they would be good to do even if you were not trying to teach your horse piaffe, and might help in this situation. My horse started off better on his left side, but has almost caught up on his right. I encourage him to hold it up. I'm grateful to Allen for showing me this "trick".
                                                            Jeannie

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jul 24th, 2011 03:28 am
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Yes, Jeannie, though this would be an approach requiring more skill than we usually ask or expect beginners to have, teaching the horse to lift one hind leg and hold it up would indeed help the animal to overcome a tendency to catch stifles.

Better, though, I think all around, would be for the owner to learn the proper therapeutic use of cavalletti, first; and second, to learn how to teach the horse to back up one step at a time.

And of course, before anything else can be attempted, the particular owner here is going to have to learn more about straightness, and what she has been doing, through wrong longeing technique and under saddle, to teach the animal to carry itself crooked.

When suggesting exercises to students who write in over the Internet, one must try to come to some idea of the skill level that they possess, and not get them and their horses into trouble through suggesting exercises that would indeed work, but which require a level of perceptivity and skill higher than what they have. -- Dr. Deb

S&D
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 Posted: Wed Aug 31st, 2011 08:32 pm
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My horse has the same problem. And thanx to Dr. Deb and her articles in Equus I now understand more about what in her conformation causes this problem. I have tried everything: exercises, joint injections, Estrone (sp?). And nothing worked very well, until two days ago. We put a pair of [patent] Shoes on the rear hooves and the difference was immediate!! No sticky stifles at all during my dressage lesson!!

Last edited on Thu Sep 1st, 2011 05:18 am by DrDeb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Sep 1st, 2011 05:24 am
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S&AMP: You will soon find out -- within three days -- that the patent shoes are not the answer. They can help, but my dear, you are focusing on the wrong things.

First, the trim the horse receives is one thousand times more important than whatever the shoes are. Assuming the trim is orthopedic, in other words, what the horse actually requires, he might do just as well barefoot, or might do better with ordinary shoes, or might continue with the patent models you are using. SOOOOO many people are SOOOOO prone to focus or fixate on the thing they have purchased, and not on the biomechanical and medical principle that makes the whole thing work -- or not work -- as a system.

Second, I could wish that dressage lessons were not part of your activity with this horse.  At the very least, we need to ascertain what your horse looks like, in other words how it uses itself, during the lesson. Would you like to post a photo of yourself riding your horse at a trot? Make it a side view, while you make your best effort to have the animal "on the bit". And, we'll need your assessment of whether whatever the photo shows is what you think your instructor is asking you to do. I suspect that the cause of the sticking stifles is not the horse, and not the shoes, but the way he moves when you ride him. -- Dr. Deb

S&D
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 Posted: Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 01:14 pm
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Ok, let me include a few more details and hopefully solve this issue. I do many activities with this horse: pleasure trail riding, sport horse versatility, intro to working cows, endurance and dressage. We started the dressage as a way to work on collection and bending for my horse and to improve my seat. My mare has had a natural hoof trim and worn regular shoes. Barefoot was fine for ring work but just did not work for endurance as the terrrain was too rough. The regular shoes worked fine until this last pair. The outside of both rear shoes was worn down so that the nail groove was smooth (inside of rear shoe was fine). The only change is that we have recently been doing more hill work in prep for a distance ride in hilly terrain. The [patent] shoes are being tried to add more protection for distance riding. The non-sticking of the stifles was an unexpected occurance. I will also add that with just about every step this mare takes whether under saddle or just being led in from the pasture her hind legs "click or pop" when they move forward. I will attach two photos of trot. In one she is reaching well for the bit but could be a bit more collected, in the second she is more collected but not on the bit (she is very polite in the bridle). A good trot is somewhere between these two, just do not have a still pic of it.

Attachment: 2917small.bmp (Downloaded 334 times)

Last edited on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 08:12 pm by DrDeb

S&D
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 Posted: Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 01:17 pm
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Second pic.

Attachment: 2964small.bmp (Downloaded 333 times)


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