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Reasons for the 'horse on a pedestal' stance?
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Kathy75
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 Posted: Fri May 1st, 2009 09:08 am
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Hi

I'm hoping Dr Deb or anyone can offer what possible reasons there are for a horse to stand like he's on an invisible pedestal... where both his forelegs and hind legs are not plumb straight but tucked under his body slightly.

 

My 12yr old Thb gelding has done this on and off for a long time, and I'd really like to figure out why. Sometimes he stands straight, and other times I see him standing at rest, one hind leg cocked with his forelegs tucked way under him.

Is this more likely to be hoof related, or could it be structural/muscular?

I'm afraid he may have a touch of low grade laminitis. He has a very faint pulse on all fours, maybe a 1 out of 5. Otherwise his feet are'nt too bad, the white line is not as tight as I'd like to see, but there is no deviation/flare of the dorsal wall angle to indicate possible rotation of the hoof capsule or coffin bone.

I tested his feet with the hoof testers recently, no reaction to pressure at the toe or heel area.

He's sound on all going except stones where he may be a little footy. I have been trimming him myself for 2 years, having studied Pete Ramey, KC LaPierre, and taken part in various clinics over the years. 

He gets a handful of unmolassed Speedibeet plus vitamin supplements, and a mixture of teff and oat hay, and he's on a rather overgrazed stressed pasture... kikuye unfortunately!!.

 And I'm a little embarrassed by how fat he looks... not cresty but more like a big grass belly. I'm sure if he actually got enough exercise, any possible, subtle metabolic issue would not be evident.... but at the moment, he's very unfit, and apart from living out 24/7, doing some long reining, in hand work and handwalking around the neighbourhood, he doesn't get enough exercise I know.... something I have to work on!

Anyway, I'm wondering about if there is a connection between any LGL and the way he stands - in laminitis they stand with the weight rocked back to unload the toes... here my horse is loading the toes on the fronts with his forelegs tucked behind. His heels are in the right place, not underrun, he lands heel first/flat and I do not suspect any caudal heel sensitivity.

 

So could the reasons be further up? In Dr Deb's Birdie Book, she says the muscles should not feel firmer than a hard boiled egg if I remember correctly - in my horses' hindquarters there are areas where his muscles feel harder than that.

If he's not standing properly or using his stay apparatus effectively, this must be taking a toll on his body?

Or could it be a chicken or egg story, maybe the problem originated in his feet, causing him to stand unnaturally, leading to his current situation?? And of course, it doesn't help that he's not '100% OK', he's always been highly strung and unpredictable, which is why I'm so glad to have found this forum and the Birdie Book (BTW I live in South Africa, so I cannot get help from the clinicians mentioned on the webite, much as I'd love to!).

So I'd really really appreciate any thought or comments on what could cause a horse to stand in this position, and what kind of toll it could be taking on his body.

(And I have every intention in the coming months, of ordering the DVD's and publications on anatomy and the biodynamics of the hoof that I've seen mentioned on this site, looking forward to it!!.)

 

Thanks for any help!!

Kathy

 

 

kindredspirit
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 Posted: Sat May 2nd, 2009 12:56 am
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Hi Kathy,

This made me think of heel pain.  Anyy fungus issues?  Frogs are full and healthy?  I have seen horses do this when they are trying to unload the weight in the heel area and generally these horses have some thrush issues.

Best,

Kathy

(I trim too!)

 

rty

Kathy75
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 Posted: Sat May 2nd, 2009 08:49 am
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Hi

Thanks for the suggestions.

Yes, the heel sensitivity is a possibility.... I'm thinking that just because he did'nt respond to the hoof tester, does not mean he is not sensitive there. His left front is a little more upright than the right (the right is his dominant foot, the one he normally has out in front when grazing, this one has a pretty healthy frog).

So the LF has a weaker frog, and the central sulcus is deeper than it should be, and there is some thrush, not too bad though. I've been plugging it with gauze soaked in stockholm tar, and it's improved a little. I know stock. tar is frowned upon by equine podiatrists, but I've heard of excellent results from a very reliable source, and I've treated a pony the same way and his central sulcus began closing up within 2 weeks. Plus I've heard how it was used by vets in the old days to plug wounds, so the stuff can't be that necrotising...?!

Have you seen horses which stand tucked under like this improve once the frogs have improved and the thrush gone? What have you used to treat the thrush?

I was just wondering if there could be any other factors involved, like pelvic issues etc, but I'm probably reaching here. The way my horse stands with his hinds tucked under, his pelvis looks tilted, but is this chicken or egg situation, is it because of his feet....?

I meant to say that I'm not expecting a definitive diagnosis here, very difficult without seeing the horse in person I know, but I would love to hear all possibilities involved so I can increase my understanding and knowlege.

 

Thanks so much

Kathy

 

Leah
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 Posted: Sat May 2nd, 2009 11:22 am
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The stance sounds more like heel pain and rings of hoof balance issues.

The description of his weight issues and diet (stressed grass) sounds like conditions perfect for laminitis. A horse will normally stand the opposite way when getting hit by laminitis-rocked back to unweight the toes.

The lack of frog healthy rings of diet issues and hoof balance issues.

Of course it can also be something higher up-and from your description of the hooves, chances are there are some body issues going on.

Either way, the lack of hoof health and diet needs to be addressed.

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Sun May 3rd, 2009 12:27 pm
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Hello Kathy

I doubt your horse's stance is caused by foot troubles - he is increasing the loading on the flexor tendons which pull on the undersides of the coffin bones, the exact opposite of the posture of a laminitic horse and you report that he does not have underrun heels and lands heel first in movement so it's unlikey he's feeling too much heel discomfort whilst stationary.

Has this horse ever had an accident where his hind feet have slipped out from under him, such as when taking off over a jump, or even slipping in the mud while free in his own paddock?  How easily can this horse stretch his hind legs backwards, ie if you lift a hind foot, as though you were going to trim it, how far will that foot extend back past his tail?  Can your horse do that easily and stay relaxed if you keep the leg stretched out for a while?  Any difference between one hindlimb and the other?

I'm trying to figure out why he would feel more comfortable in that position and wonder if at some point he has torn or over-stretched one or more of the iliopsoas complex muscles.  These are muscles that are involved in tucking the pelvis under (coiling loins) and will be stretched when extending the hindlimb.  If there has been any injury here, the horse will be reluctant to hold a stretch and may stand with hindlegs under himself to take away any pull on those muscles - the front legs would then be placed under him also to keep his balance, rather than having to use muscular effort to maintain the stance.

Just a thought.

Best wishes - Pauline



kindredspirit
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 Posted: Sun May 3rd, 2009 12:55 pm
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Kathy75 wrote: Hi

So the LF has a weaker frog, and the central sulcus is deeper than it should be, and there is some thrush, not too bad though.

Have you seen horses which stand tucked under like this improve once the frogs have improved and the thrush gone? What have you used to treat the thrush?

Kathy

 


Hi Kathy,

Sounds like you are working on the thrush.  I use a product called White Lightning.  It is a chlorine dioxide product .  It works well.  Also using a mxture of Athlete's foot cream, (antifungal) mixed with a triple antiobiotic cream squirted into the central sulcus works too.  Pete Ramey uses this and it has been coined Pete's Goo.   I have seen horses stand tucked like this from thrush, some are tougher than others.

Kathy

 

Kathy75
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 Posted: Mon May 4th, 2009 09:17 am
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Thanks to everyone for the very helpful comments!

Pauline, I don't know of any accident he may have had to have affected him this way.

He did have 2 nasty accidents as a youngster before I got him, with some bad scarring and scar tissue on his one front leg, but I don't know if this is relevant at all.

I've had him since he was 3 yrs old, and it seems he has always worked in 2 halves - the hindquarters simply come along for the ride because they're attached to his body. His front end has always appeared more powerful than the hind end. He does not show that natural ability to coil the loins and collect, watching him in the paddock when he's playing or something spooks him, he hollows his back and sticks his head in the air.... where my other horse raises the base of his neck and back, and is a picture of elegance. It's interesting to note the difference in their way of going at liberty.

I think I saw a comment somewhere that horses do not need to be 'taught' collection, as horses they know how to do this naturally, but do some horses perhaps have less natural ability than others... like some people don't know how to use their body as efficiently as others, re. posture and breathing etc.

I have never jumped my horse much, he's never shown much inclination towards it, and I have to admit, that in the past three years I've hardly ridden him at all.... long story...... 

Usually, I take him handwalking, or work in hand. I try do plenty suppling work as well... leg yield and (what I hope is a correct) shoulder in, he backs up very easily, but he does not like to canter so much. He seems to find it difficult to sustain a canter, if I push him he gets agitated, I usually ask for one circle if he looks up for it, then let him fall back to trot.

*******I'm trying to figure out why he would feel more comfortable in that position and wonder if at some point he has torn or over-stretched one or more of the iliopsoas complex muscles.  These are muscles that are involved in tucking the pelvis under (coiling loins) and will be stretched when extending the hindlimb.  If there has been any injury here, the horse will be reluctant to hold a stretch and may stand with hindlegs under himself to take away any pull on those muscles - the front legs would then be placed under him also to keep his balance, rather than having to use muscular effort to maintain the stance.*********

Pauline I think you may have something here... he definitely feels tight with his hinds when I trim.... (my poor old knees, I can't lift his legs too high). I don't think he could sustain a stretch out behind.

Over the years he's had Chiropractic, physio, acupuncture, Body Stress Release, homeopathy... LOL I must sound like one of those neurotic owners whose horse is always sick. (But actually he has not needed the vet for 4 years). During all these treatments, issues have always been picked up in his pelvic/ back areas. He has been looked at by a vet, and there is nothing like kissing spines or neurological disorders.

What I am wondering is could it be something as subtle as a long standing combination of factors  - mostly perhaps from years of incorrect and insufficient exercise, working too much off his forehand, plus his ever present inner mental tension which manifests as physical tension. Plus throw in less than perfect hooves (slightly weak frog and a little thrush in the one foot), plus a subtle case of low grade laminitis, and continuous strain from standing unnaturally. I'm just thinking aloud here.

I am busy rereading the Birdie Book, and the thread on 'mannering' your horse. What Dr Deb has mentioned about the Greater Path and the horses mental state influencing their physical state, had me very interested.... I am hoping that this will all help with the way he moves and stands.

Thanks for the help

Kathy  



Leah
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 Posted: Mon May 4th, 2009 11:21 am
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I would really not dismiss hoof form too quickly ;-)

Indy
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 Posted: Mon May 4th, 2009 11:39 pm
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Kathy,
Is it possible for you to post a picture of your horse standing in this position?
Clara

Kathy75
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 Posted: Tue May 5th, 2009 07:41 am
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Clara, that's exactly what I thought I'd do, so I took a few pics last night. Hope I've attached them properly, not very good at this....

 

Leah, you're right, I don't plan on dismissing the feet. I have attached a pic of his left front, the one with a deep central sulcus. (I should've included a solar shot) The other foot has less heel hight, but a healthier frog. You'll see how he's loading his toe area on his fronts, but then he's loading his heels on his hinds. Interestingly, his pulses are a touch stronger in his hinds compared to his fronts. (I am giving him some MSM to combat any inflammation).

If the problem is simply from caudal heel sensitivity, why then would he stand with his hinds tucked under..?

Would appreciate any thoughts on the pics.

Thanks

Kathy

 

Attachment: Reyk 4 May 2009 006.jpg (Downloaded 501 times)

Kathy75
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 Posted: Tue May 5th, 2009 07:42 am
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And another one...

Attachment: Reyk 4 May 2009 004.jpg (Downloaded 498 times)

Leah
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 Posted: Tue May 5th, 2009 11:13 am
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Kathy, feel free to email me on his hooves if you want (unless the list wants to continue a detailed discussion here).

I would love more photos taken just like you did that side shot-ground level and filling the lens of the camera. Photos taken like this reduce distortion as best you can with photos.

The first thing that jumps out is the length of his toe-it is way too far forward (also called 'too long'). His toe needs to be backed WAY up (over time of course).

A forward long toe will pull the entire foot forward. This will pull heels forward, creat a long skinny frog AND create conditions for thrush and infection. It also creates thin soles and all kinds of issues.

His posture to *my* eye reflects a horse very sore on his feet (from imbalances like the one in the hoof you posted). He likely has body soreness as well.

The good news is the feet are fixable! BUT any topical thrush treatments or body work will not be as successful without also addressing the hoof imbalances.

Leah
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 Posted: Tue May 5th, 2009 11:15 am
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I wanted to add-from the body shots his left front looks like an even longer toe and his hind toes also look long with long heels (possibly even a negative coffin bone).

Anyway....shots off each foot from the side, front and sole would be great.

If Dr Deb prefers not to take up that much space you may want to post your photos on a free website and just post the link here?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue May 5th, 2009 11:19 am
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Kathy --

(1) Move fore heels back -- rasp. Remove the junk from the toe. The main problem is that the fore heels are somewhat under-run: a common problem that will cause the type of stance the horse shows.

(2) Move hind heels back and allow a little higher angle in the rear. This will drive a little more angle into the hind joints, and relieve the horse's back.

(3) Have you said above that this horse is lame, or has some other reason why it can't work? Greater general fitness -- conveyed by a few sessions with wet saddle pads -- will greatly help this animal's stance. Use the search function for this Forum to find threads on use of cavalletti in conditioning.

Consider the following axioms:

1. Back dynamics govern limb dynamics (in the sound horse)

2. If conditions in the hoof get bad enough, so that the horse becomes footsore for whatever reason, then hoof dynamics will begin to dominate back dynamics; the animal will have to compensate by the over-use or chronic tightening of muscles above the knee and hock.

I get the sense that you may be over-focusing on details of the frog. It is wise to step back and look at the whole picture. The frog business will clear up all by itself when you get the capsular cones back to where they need to be. -- Dr. Deb

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Tue May 5th, 2009 11:42 am
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Kathy - You've been given good advice re his feet which may be sufficient to return him to a normal posture.  If not, we can delve a little further into what else could be responsible.  Please let us know how he progresses.  Best wishes - Pauline



Last edited on Tue May 5th, 2009 11:55 am by Pauline Moore


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