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What does the term "hunter's bump" mean?
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kfhoz
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 Posted: Wed Sep 2nd, 2009 07:38 am
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I am about to buy a horse that has prominent tuber sacrale.  I own and read Dr. Deb Bennett's confirmation books as well as have read other books and many articles about "hunters bump", sacroiliac subluxation, "racking bump", etc.

In one of her books, Dr. Deb Bennett refers to prominent tuber sacrale as "racking bump" when they are even and as "hunters bump" when they are not level.  But many others, including some veterinarians, refer to to the top of the pelvis being unusually high relative to the spine as "hunters bump" even when it is level and part of the horse's normal anatomy.  There is much variation on whether this feature is normal or a problem.

Daniel Marks, VMD, in a 2000 paper says "... a long dorsal ilium which is evidenced by a prominent tuber sacrale. This is frequently characteristic of superior jumpers and should be considered a beauty, not a defect."  (Italics mine.)  I have many more references saying that a bump there is normal for some horses, but this is the only one I found who actually liked it!

In her 2004 paper for the New Zealand Warmblood Association Dr. Deb Bennett seems to indict prominence in this area, such as by saying:  "In all cases however the better the S-L placement, the less peakedness develops."

Is it is possible for the equine community to come to agreement on the layman's terms for these conditions?  Can the community agree on what is normal and what is pathology? 

My personal interest in in this question amounts to: are a prominent tuber sacrale a reason not to buy a horse for eventing?

Example:  5yo 15.3hh horse only started gently under saddle a few months ago.  The gelding has little muscle in his hind quarters and as he has lost the fat that he obtained by lounging in a pasture for the first 5 years of his life, his tuber sacrale have emerged.  So now the tuber sacrale are prominant, though perfectly even.  Myy book by Dr. Deb seems to say to stay away from such an animal.

We had a vet out who confirmed the horse was perfectly sound, but who thought the presence of the bump might be indication of SI strain.  The vet told us to get a chiropractor to look at it.  The chiropractor loved the horse and said a bump there can be just a normal part of a horse's anatomy.  Shouldn't the vet have also said that?

Attachment: bump.JPG (Downloaded 316 times)

hurleycane
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 Posted: Wed Sep 2nd, 2009 02:04 pm
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I can not see the rest of the horse you have pictured - but the muscling over the LS joint is very similar to my horse and I think may be a compensation of this anatomy.   Here is his picture:



In this picture his hind end is a little further from the camera than his front end which makes his hind quarters appear more diminutive than they are - but they are small.  The relative smallness is in the pelvis from point of hip to point of buttock.  ANd in my guestimation this structure would leave little room for muscle attachments.  Especially the big powerful muscle attachements he would need to event/jump etc.

He has developed his thigh muscles and gaskins more since this picture.  He has also required a good bit of chiro work and is prone to back strain. 

 

kfhoz
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 Posted: Wed Sep 2nd, 2009 04:53 pm
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Thanks Hurleycane!  The tuber sacrale prominence on your horse looks just like this horse! 

Unfortunately I was so focused on the bump in this horse that I took 8 photos of it and forgot to get conformation photos.  But I went back over the photos that I do have and the horse does seem a little lighter in the hindquarters than the forehand.  (I think that his most significant conformation question is that his back legs are rather long, but I am not planning on spending $big to get a perfect horse, and the attitude of this horse is perfect.)

I think that you are right in that in this horse it is due to muscling on normal confirmation that makes the top of his croup prominent.  Is that what your vet and chiropractor say about your horse?  That the prominence in the tuber sacrale is his normal confirmation, but it is just emphasized by his muscling?

I would not be OK if I bought the horse, then figured out this was something that significantly limited his ability to do dressage and jumping, or needed lots of special care.  You said your horse needed chiropractor work, but the chiropractor that saw this horse said there is no reason for him to come back, except maybe a check up in 6 months!

I put a few more pics below. 

Last edited on Sat Sep 5th, 2009 12:46 am by DrDeb

hurleycane
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 Posted: Wed Sep 2nd, 2009 05:30 pm
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I bought my horse for attitude as well.  But the body will play into the attitude one way or the other - especially if asked to do something he is not made to do easily.  ANd if this horse is priced low - my guess is he is or has been deemed or proven to be not suitable for the market he is in. 

In my case with Holly, there is a reason he was cheap.  Holly had a skip in his get-along on sale that I thought could be rehabed.  But with one look from more experienced horse folks - they could see he had some "built in" limitations that would make him heavy on the fore and weak behind for saddle work. 

So Holly is not good for long hard or competitive work - which I have no desire for.  But he also proves problematic even for the not so demanding owner such as me.  My aspirations are to ride in a harmony and understanding with him.  Hard to do when the horse has a back that is bothering him.  So we do chiro and massage and such to improve his comfort and strength.

These treatments come at a fee that probably surpasses what a better conformed horse would have cost.

So I would guess the use of the horse should be geared to what he is built to do.  And with an understanding there is a reason faults are faults and more so why certain traits are desired for certain types of work.

And more importantly: there is a reason you were focused on the hump.

I am sure others more knowledgeable will offer feedback.  I look forward to that feedback too. 

hurleycane
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 Posted: Wed Sep 2nd, 2009 11:41 pm
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kfhoz wrote: Thanks Hurleycane!  The tuber sacrale prominence on your horse looks just like this horse! 

Unfortunately I was so focused on the bump in this horse that I took 8 photos of it and forgot to get conformation photos.  But I went back over the photos that I do have and the horse does seem a little lighter in the hindquarters than the forehand.  (I think that his most significant conformation question is that his back legs are rather long, but I am not planning on spending $big to get a perfect horse, and the attitude of this horse is perfect.)

I think that you are right in that in this horse it is due to muscling on normal confirmation that makes the top of his croup prominent.  Is that what your vet and chiropractor say about your horse?  That the prominence in the tuber sacrale is his normal confirmation, but it is just emphasized by his muscling?

I would not be OK if I bought the horse, then figured out this was something that significantly limited his ability to do dressage and jumping, or needed lots of special care.  You said your horse needed chiropractor work, but the chiropractor that saw this horse said there is no reason for him to come back, except maybe a check up in 6 months!

I put a few more pics below. 


Just re-read this.  Though not what I intended, what you say here is pretty interesting.  My statememt was not so much that the small place afforded by the bone makes the muscle bulge - more so that more bone gives more places for a big muscle to attach :0) - or so I am learning.

Oh, and you may want to remove the full body pics of the horse  -  best not to post pics here of horses not owned by you - specially prospective horses.  One of the nice rules of the board.

This is a great place to learn about stuff like this though.

Last edited on Wed Sep 2nd, 2009 11:53 pm by hurleycane

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Sep 3rd, 2009 12:22 am
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Dear Kfhoz: Please be more careful as to whom you think you are quoting. I have never written any paper or given a written opinion to the New Zealand Warmblood Association. I have no connection with them and no particular interest in working with them. If someone in that organization has quoted me, they had no permission to do so, and moreover the quote attributed is not something I ever said.

As to 'agreement within the community', well sweetie, all I can say there is good luck. I have a lot of respect for Dan Marks; he was Dr. Matthew Mackay-Smith's clinical partner for a long time and he is also a fine rider. But nevertheless I don't think of a hunter bump as a 'beauty' and I don't think it particularly contributes to a horse's ability to jump. Rather, I think it's an injury frequently found in jumpers as a result of incorrect or excessive riding and jumping.

As to your own personal concern: now we're getting down to cases. This is all you should be concerned with asking, really: does a hunter bump mean you shouldn't buy the horse. No. But if you see a hunter bump, you ought to be instantly on the alert for frequent accompaniments which are much more likely to cause you problems. For the way the horse gets the hunter bump is a subluxation of the sacroiliac joints. If the subluxation is bingo straight down the middle, as it sometimes is, which leaves the horse with a prominent PAIR of tuber sacrales and nothing else, then no real harm done except for making the topline less smooth and less beautiful. 

However, if the subluxation is in any manner asymmetrical -- i.e. that when the inflammation subsided and the sacrum 'settled' into its new relationship with the iliac wings of the pelvis, it did so in a manner that leaves the sacrum in there at an angle, or with one side higher than the other, then this is an unrecoverable problem, for it means that the horse cannot be straightened.

And a horse that cannot be straightened is a horse that cannot give, cannot offer, collection. You will find that this inability manifests in various different ways, i.e. the animal 'won't' take one lead, seems mildly 'off' all the time, leans (or drops) one side of the bit or leans (or is absent from) one of your hands, drifts to one side of his fences, and so on and on. Go read the "Lessons from Woody" paper on straightness that is posted under "Knowledge Base" in the main section of this Website for the full explanation and a full list of possible manifestations.

There are some thoughtful chiropractors who I have heard claim that they can fix (reduce) a hunter bump, and I always politely say I hope it is so. I don't think that it is so; it is very difficult to reverse the kind of exostosis that welds a hunter bump (a displaced sacrum) into position, once the exostosis has formed.

So what you need to do now is go make a very careful examination of the prospect from the rear. Have a helper stand the horse up -- he must be absolutely square, the pairs of feet fore and rear absolutely even -- and stand him up in front of the bed of a pickup truck. You stand up in the bed, and the horse should be stood up with his butt toward the tailgate. Then you can look down on his back. Wait to make your judgement until the handler tells you the horse is square, and the horse is quiet and settled 'square'. Then the handler will be careful to place the horse's head dead in front of the center of his breast. Then you can make your assessment. If the horse is square on his feet but you see S's or twists in his spine, you had better be an expert or else pass him up. Particularly, look for the line of the sacrum (the croup bone) to never seem to want to square up with the rest of the back, or the neck to have a persistent 'S' bend in it.

I am much more interested, you see, in these practical considerations than I am in obtaining universal agreement over anything, which is an impossible, useless, and controversy-engendering hope. Nothing in the great and ancient art of horsemanship is simple or cut-and-dried, and it is a bad mental habit to hope that it could be so. Horses are not machines, and neither are doctors. -- Dr. Deb

 

kfhoz
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 Posted: Thu Sep 3rd, 2009 02:00 am
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DrDeb wrote: Dear Kfhoz: Please be more careful as to whom you think you are quoting. I have never written any paper or given a written opinion to the New Zealand Warmblood Association. I have no connection with them and no particular interest in working with them. If someone in that organization has quoted me, they had no permission to do so, and moreover the quote attributed is not something I ever said.

Hmm, I assumed they had their permissions correct:
http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/warmbloodhorses/articles/db-pelvic.shtml

Maybe there is a Deb Bennett down under?

kfhoz
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 Posted: Thu Sep 3rd, 2009 02:06 am
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hurleycane wrote:Oh, and you may want to remove the full body pics of the horse  -  best not to post pics here of horses not owned by you - specially prospective horses.  One of the nice rules of the board.Thanks for the manners tip! - when I tried to edit the post to remove the pics I could not.  But I will try a little more.  If the full-body pics go away then I was successful ...

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Sep 5th, 2009 12:59 am
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Kfhoz -- Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of the Media. Pay attention to what I said above: the quote you quoted was not something I ever said.

How do articles "attributed to" me manage to appear? Here are some possibilities:

1. The quotations have simply been made up by someone who thinks they don't have enough clout to make their own point -- so they put my name on THEIR thoughts and sayings.

2. The whole article has been made up, ditto.

3. Parts of the article have been lifted from this Website, despite our firm request on the home page not to do so and that all material here is copyrighted. Then the person who commits this theft patches in the parts from my writing with ideas and writings of their own, finally attributing the whole mixed-up melange to me.

4. Somebody thought they heard me say something at a clinic, who told her girlfriend what she thought she heard me say, who told her other girlfriend, until it gets written down by some third or fourth-hand party as a "quotation".

In short, Kfhoz -- why would you believe anything you read in the wasteland of the Internet?

This is one reason we protect this space so strongly, with rules that enforce decent behavior and ethics -- so that this will be a sanctuary where you can, in fact, go to the actual source. If you go anywhere else, please then for God's sake, don't bring the garbage back into my house so that I have to smell it.

All you really wanted to know in the first place was should a hunter bump prevent you from buying the horse, and that much has been answered as thoroughly as I am able -- and that should be the end of it. -- Dr. Deb  PS I have pulled out the identifiable pictures you posted; yes, it is a violation of our rules here for anyone to post a photo of a horse that they do not own, unless they send us an EMail from the owner that explicitly states that the poster has the owner's permission to post the horse's image for discussion. -- DB

Last edited on Sat Sep 5th, 2009 09:26 am by DrDeb


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