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Lyndsey Lewis
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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 06:18 am by DrDeb

DrDeb
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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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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 339 times)

Last edited on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 09:12 pm by DrDeb

S&D
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Second pic.

Attachment: 2964small.bmp (Downloaded 338 times)

DrDeb
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Yes, S&D, these images are very typical of the style of riding and mis-training advocated by competitive dressage.

It is a very stiffening discipline. But stiffening is the last thing any horse whose stifles are sticking would need. What the horse needs is something that will harmonize with its physical needs -- a way of riding, and of being asked to move, that is physiotherapeutic rather than destructive.

So rather than her prying on your hands because you're being told by your coach to make the mare move above tempo all the time; and rather than your prying on her mouth because you have been mis-taught that this is what contact is, we can begin teaching you to ride properly at this time.

This begins with your having a correct understanding of how the horse's physical mechanism actually works. To this end, I ask you to scroll above in this thread and find the link in the Lindsey Lewis post, which is a link to a previous discussion about sticking stifles. You must read that thread and think about what it says.

I also have mentioned to you, in another thread, that the icon or small picture that you are using with your name shows incorrect work too. And what I have suggested there is that you need to go read the "How Horses Work" series in The Eclectic Horseman magazine. Go to http://www.eclectichorseman.com and have them back-start your subscription to two years ago, when the series began.

You will also find many other articles in The Eclectic Horseman which, you will find, will improve your theoretical concept as well as your practical skills; especially articles by or about Buck Brannaman or Harry Whitney.

You will also notice that in some of your posts there is an "edited by Dr. Deb" note. This is because I have gone in and removed the name of the patent shoes you are using. It is not permitted to name any brand-name in this Forum without prior approval by me. This keeps our discussions away from "my brand is better than your brand" and on to simply learning the concept or principle of whatever the question is. The patent shoes you are using have a particular design. You might mention what that design is, then, for example, and state why you think that design helps, or might help, the locking stifles. Do this after reading the abovementioned thread. -- Dr. Deb

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Sorry about the mentioning of "patent" shoes. I had no idea that was an issue :(

Any ideas regarding the uneven wear on the rear shoes?


My philosophy regarding contact is that it is "something the horse does to the bit, not something the bit does to the horse"

still working on perfecting my technique though   
 

Last edited on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 01:55 am by S&D

DrDeb
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Ahh, but so much depends on what precisely is meant by 'what the horse does to the bit'.

Even though your horse is, just as you say, 'reaching for the bit' in one of the photos you have posted, the animal is by no means reaching in the correct way, or in any manner that we would like to see. The horse is, indeed, doing SOMEthing to the bit -- but it's the wrong thing. And it is the same wrong thing that competitive dressage generally teaches.

Now you will be curious, I hope, to find out what the difference would exactly be, between what your horse is doing and what it could be doing that would make it possible for you to:

(a) actually win at dressage shows

(b) have no further trouble at any time in the future with sticking stifles

(c) expand your own horizons and abilities as a horse trainer.

To this end, I'll wait to hear your report after you've read the suggested thread that explains the mechanism of sticking stifles, or why stifles stick. Then we will begin to apply it, one step at a time, to changing what you customarily do with your horse.

Also, as an addendum, I am pleased to see you corresponding with Latina in another thread. If you go ride with Tom Curtin, this is going to make a big positive difference, and after you do that, you will find you understand what I am telling you a good bit better. -- Dr. Deb

 

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Did you ever figure out why your horse's rear end was falling out. My mare has the same issue and I have seen different vets, gotten her in fantastic physical condition and still she falls out behind.
Any ideas?

DrDeb
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Have you bothered to go read the several previous threads (in addition to this one), where the stifle-locking issue is discussed at length and in detail, and its entire anatomical and physiological mechanism is explained?

The commonest reason for the rear end "falling out" is that the stifles are catching. Anybody who has a horse that is doing this needs to come to a better understanding of how to produce a horse that does not think that it needs to tighten its back before it can move forward.

So please use the Google Advanced Search function per directions given in the thread near the top of the home Forum page, and use keywords "sticking stifle", "locking stifle", "upward fixation of the patella".

And then, once you have been courteous enough to do the homework, I will be glad to answer your specific questions that are based on the reading you have done and your experiences with your horse. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

Kuhaylan Heify
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Much food for thought here. So from reading several of the threads it would seem that getting the horse to stretch down with his head and neck prior to entering the cavaletti, while being lunged would be advisable. And also to not push the forward stuff at all while being lunged. Rather just to ask for relaxation.
Reading some of the background threads I came across Paulines talking about doing fingernail rubs from the midpoint of the croup down to the midpoint of the thigh. What does it mean when you don't get a tuck of the pelvis?
best wishes
Bruce Peek

DrDeb
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A book that is filled with images of horses moving exactly as we do not want them to move -- with evidently tight toplines, stiff hindquarters, bases of neck dropped, prying against the bit, and on the forehand, is Reiner Klimke's on lungeing. This applies to the old original editions and to the newer revised editions co-authored by his daughter.

The images are typical of German-style dressage, that which is most currently popular, that which pervades the culture; that which originated with Otto Lorke and Bubbi Ginther, and which has in fact almost zero to do with any form of "classicism." Hence in the above reply to the gal who sent in the photos: that is how she's riding, and hence, causing all her own problems.

Bruce, you misunderstand I think what the intention of "getting the horse to stretch down before entering the cavalletti grid" is. It isn't to get him to stretch down; he is to have the freedom to do that at almost all times. Rather the point is to get him to re-balance himself even a little bit more off the forehand, which means to coil his loins, raise the freespan of his back, and raise the base of the neck just that little bit more; and to slow down a half-notch, so that the steps over the cavalletti become elastic bounces done from strength, rather than the horse speeding up, losing a degree of roundness, and thus "flattening out".

You also misunderstand the fingernail thing. It's a party trick anyway; something of little or no significance; tests nothing meaningful; is not an exercise, just the demonstration of a reflex, similar to running the tip of a nail down the horse's back (which will cause him to drop his back), or so-called "belly lifts" (which cause him to raise it). So what? Your horse is already known to be neurologically normal, and the fact that you can't elicit a "tuck response" means zippo. What you need to do is learn how to ride properly, as we have said before.

The women who have written in here are trying to deal with "sticking stifles". Is your horse "collapsing behind"? They have the problem because they don't know how to tell when the horse's back is functioning properly; they accept a tight, hard back because it's the current German-inspired "norm". Is this what's going on with your horse, Bruce? Otherwise, your comments are just dragging this discussion off-topic. I'm waiting to hear back from any of the ladies who wrote in saying that they DID read the suggested threads, concerning the link between back and stifle function, or how a tight back and tight topline promote stifle-sticking. -- Dr. Deb

 

DrDeb
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Here are drawings made directly from photographs showing horses entering the grid of cavalletti. All three drawings show which major muscle groups are activated.

"A" and "B" show the horse properly balanced, with a loose and high back; and of this horse you get two images, which are sequential film frames of my own horse Oliver. You can see him visibly and markedly rebalance himself to be more off the forehand and more collected in "A", and the expression of that as a "bouncing" step in "B".

"C" is a German-style horse, or actually the "common" horse, that which is commonly seen, with a tight back and the base of the neck dropped.

You note that my horse does not require side reins to "balance". The side reins actually get in the way of balance.

The system DOES NOT WORK like peoples' minds want to make it work. If the horse pries against the tieback at all, it will in that instant cause him to dive through the base of his neck onto the forehand.

No horse can freely raise his back and the base of his neck before being taught to move straight on the longeing circle; taught to, and longed correctly so that he is encouraged to move straight rather than being literally prevented from moving straight.

And no horse can manage to produce straight movement upon the longeing circle before he has been made thoroughly supple in the lateral dimension, per being untracked.

Today I was out at the barn grooming Ollie at liberty in the arena. It was dusty and hot and no kind of day to go for a ride, so we were just enjoying each other's company. And I got into a conversation with a fellow boarder, a gal whom I like very much, who has a beautiful TB mare. This gal struggles to understand straightness, and not because she isn't bright enough. She gets what she calls "emotional" whenever we discuss this, because she wants it so bad and she's bright enough to have seen that Oliver rides, line drives, longes and freeschools straight; and she's furthermore bright enough to see and realize all the potential benefits of that.

And further, she has allowed me sometimes to coach her, because her mare vigorously objects (by bolting and bucking) when asked to take her not-so-favorite lead. And on those occasions when the gal has allowed me to assist her, then we get perfect, quiet, supple, fluid, no-problem departures onto this lead. And the way we obtain that is that I coach her step-by-step into getting the horse perfectly straight on the arc of a circle and through corners BEFORE and as necessary preface to, asking for the depart. In other words, the straightness on the circle is the very "setup" for the departure; in a sense, it IS the departure.

So why does this gal not eagerly and openly and happily carry this on when she's alone and by herself? Of which she would be perfectly capable. And why does she say "I have trouble understanding this", which is just psychological "code" for "I'm not sure I want to do it this way"?

It is because she did not hear it from her 3D Event coach, and she did not hear it in the magazine, and she did not hear it from a German.

So you either get smart and realize that YOU ARE NOT GERMAN, and that what upper-level so-called "successful" riders let on through magazine articles is mostly a lie, or else a brainless repetition of what the German instructor said (which itself is a brainless parroting of what the German instructor's German instructor said, ad infinitum back to Lorke and Ginther); I say, you either do this, or you go on getting bucked and bolted with, you go on injuring your own horse, and you go on being whiny, teary, unhappy, unconvinced, and still trying to have what YOU conceive to be the cake and eat it too. Trouble is -- the person's jaws are moving but THERE IS NO CAKE.

Have a good study of the attached images. -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: Cavalletti Correct Incorrect sm forum.jpg (Downloaded 108 times)

Kuhaylan Heify
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Ok. Good to know about the needlessness of the fingernail rub thing. Hmm. Can you start holding clinics down at your barn or a nearby venue? It would be very helpful.
best wishes
Bruce Peek

DrDeb
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Bruce, if you want direct assistance, you have the same option as everybody else. The rate is $750 per day plus all expenses, plus the cost for liability insurance which runs about $250. The minimum if I have to travel far enough to need to stay overnight is two days, so you're looking at about $1900 to $2200 total cost for two days.

You can pay the whole thing yourself and then it's a private clinic; or you can get together with friends and split the cost -- the expense will be the same either way. I do sometimes have dates open. If you decide you want to have me come up, contact me off list by writing office@equinestudies.org. -- Dr. Deb




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