Keep on Keeping On

Keep on Keeping On

Simon is still not quite right.  I’m just a few bad rides away from the crazy train… hell who am I kidding – I’m probably already on the crazy train.  I may have been born on the cray train.  Here’s the timeline:

  • Thursday, January 30th: Simon comes out stiff, works out of it
  • Friday, January 31st: Simon comes out stiffer, works out of it but I give him the night off
  • Saturday, February 1st: Simon looks great in the AM, we go show, he’s solid all day minus some funny strides in the flat class…. I scratch last class
  • February 2nd – 7th: Simon gets time off (w/ 1g Bute daily)
  • February 4th: Vet sees Simon, diagnoses sore front feet & perscribes Bute
  • February 8th: I ride walk/trot.  He is nqr tripping in the hind
  • February 9th: I ride walk/trot.  He is nqr tripping in the hind
  • February 12th: Trainer rides.  He comes out weird RF but works out of it and then has a good ride
  • February 13th: Chiro visit, nothing remarkable to report
  • February 15th: I ride w/t/c he feels pretty good
  • February 16th: I lesson.  w/t/c feels okay, we jump some small stuff and he is jumping amazing.
  • February 17th: I ride, he trips a lot in the hind and doesn’t feel right… I despair

The video below was taken on 2-8-14.  I see a sound horse, but the same day he didn’t feel right u/s.

So to make a long story short, we’ve been nqr off/on for two solid weeks now.  Trainer sees a slight offness in RF, but nothing in hind.  I feel like his hind is super week, and he is tripping a lot more than he should be in the back.


Reasons he would be tripping?  Locking stifles, my weight, improper saddle fit.  Problem is, none of this appeared overnight.  He’s always had locking stifles and the problem disappeared once he got fit.  It’s not like he magically lost muscle in two weeks.  I also didn’t gain 100lbs overnight, and we’ve had a variety of different saddles on him with the same result.


I talked to trainer on this Monday, and we decided I pretty much have two options.

A) He has a cut/small open wound on his LH inside fetlock.  Survey says this is either caused or not healing because he is interfering.  We can boot him for turnout and riding and try to get that sucker to heal 100%.  Trainer thinks his ‘tripping’ is actually him hitting that hurt spot by interfering.  We can try boots, get it to heal, and see if it improves.

B) Have vet out and ride him for the vet so vet can see funky hind end behavior.  Chase mystery lameness.


For now, I’m going with option A even though my gut feeling is that we may be looking at something significant here.  Still, the worst thing I have lost is a week or two of time and money spent towards boots… and let’s be honest… I love horse boots!  I picked up some fetlock boots for turnout and riding and some BoT hock boots to help those ‘ugly’ hocks of his.

Curious any opinions of arm chair vets.  I’m stumped and borderline depressed.  This is the shining turd on top of my poo icing cake so far this year.

43 thoughts on “Keep on Keeping On

  1. Have you and your trainer discussed the possibility of it maybe being a neurological (sp?) problem? Especially if he is tripping in the hind end?

    I’m sorry you and Simon are having such problems! He certainly seems like a wonderful boy and I hope you can get some answers soon!


    I just went through this in September/October with the pony, and when the vet watched him go he was sound sound sound, just a teeeeeny hitch in his ‘bad’ stifle, but felt like absolute shit u/s. Just wouldn’t engage his hind end and I felt like I had NO horse under me. I was scared to even trot him over a crossrail because he was so on his forehand and un-engaged/trippy/etc. While fitness helps, sometimes you’ll have a setback with the stifles. I did the estrone injections and they were like MAGIC. Chat with your vet!

    1. That’s what I think too, although it’s weird they would get suddenly worse so quickly? If the boots don’t end up fixing it, that will be the first question out of my mouth when I talk to the vet. I hadn’t thought about injecting though… was hoping we wouldn’t have to do stifle surgery or something crazy.We shall see.

      1. Since Dino also has Cushing’s, he got worse in the fall with the change of season/wacky hormones. Not saying Simon has metabolic issues, but sometimes the change in seasons/hormones can do weird things to their stifles. The Estrone isn’t in injection into the actual stifle joint, but an IM hormone therapy. Basically what it does is allow the stifle ligament to relax and work correctly. The effects were INSTANT and lasting for Dino, plus it’s very non-invasive, and cheap at $30 an injection.

  3. I actually had a horse a few years back who randomly developed a bucking issue that we discovered was due to developing arthritis in her hocks. The made always had an attitude and the bucking was just her way of telling me she was hurting. We did xrays and found the issue. Vet put her on antiinflammatory and told us to keep riding like normal so the hocks could fuse. My lease ended part way through the process but it was working well up until she went back. Though Stacie may have hit the nail on the head with the scratch. Think about how much it hurts when you knock your ankles togethet , especially when there’s a scratch on one. If it doesn’t get better though you can always ask about the arthritis. The mare was only 8 or 9 and hadn’t done much before I leased her.

  4. How totally frustrating! I’ve been through that seemingly non-stop NQRness. It can be awful. If he has a tendency to interfere, and there’s a scratch there, that could certainly cause him to be hitchy in the back. Delicate feet can also cause tripping and a hesitant horse. Guinness often gets sore in his back if his hind feet are sore. He will be reluctant to engage his hind end and even trip more, too. He feels like riding a horse stuck in molasses, and I always want to just kick him forward and out of it. So, that might be it to.

    I like your conservative approach. Nothing is overtly wrong, so watch and keep him moving, right?

  5. Ugh, I’m sorry you guys are going through this. This time of year is the worst — so hard to tell what’s really an issue and what’s just February. Hope you get positive signs ASAP.

  6. Blah, the arm chair vet in me can’t help but always worry about neurological crap when I hear “NQR/tripping in the hind end for mysterious reasons”… BUT, I will send positive vibes that it is nothing of that sort and that you figure it out soon : ) Hoping it’s something easily fixable and you figure it all out and Simon goes back to sound and happy!

  7. I went through a little of this last year with Ginger. We never did find the problem but she is back to normal after some time off. I hope Simon is feeling better soon and it’s something minor!

  8. This scares me. I don’t want to scare you, because I KNOW my experience with Image was completely atypical and this is likely something stupid and fixable…but this scares me. Vet, pronto.

    No real advice other than that. Just gentle hugs and jingles that it’s nothing.

    1. Yeah, that’s definitely a possibility. I talked to the farrier and he is going to adjust his back feet next shoeing. Unfortunately he JUST got done, but if I need to we can always re-set before.

  9. As a veterinarian myself, I would veer on the side of having your vet out to watch you ride, or if that isn’t an option, have someone video tape you riding and send it to your vet. There are a thousand different things that could be going on with your Simon right now, but without the vet seeing it when you are feeling it under saddle, the vet has nothing to go on besides giving you a long long list of possible diagnoses. So sorry Simon is having troubles. The most frustrating thing is not knowing what is wrong because you can’t start the steps to recovery until you know what you should be doing to get there. Always keep in mind too, that second opinions are respected in the veterinary world and happen all the time. Sometimes it’s best to get a “team” of veterinarians together to track down and solve a problem. Sending healthy vibes Simon’s way!

  10. I know it’s the hardest thing when we’re working ammies who obsess over the beasties, but don’t jump straight to panic land. There are a lot of things between here and there that could explain it and aren’t super scary.

    Has your trainer ridden him? What does she feel? Is he maybe a little rein lame, or does it persist even when he’s sent super forward? Shoeing changes? I like the boot idea–my TBs have all been princesses.

    Also–if the vet says his front feet are sore, did he say why? Thin soles? Wet/dry cycle catching up to him? These are all pretty simple fixes.

    I totally sympathize with the “worst case scenario” mindset, but it doesn’t have to be that. 🙂 Here’s hoping.

  11. Sorry to hear he’s still NQR, that always is so stressful. Hopefully it’s just the scratch/interference, though I second the thoughts joint issues (did the vet do a flex test?) and neuro problems, however unlikely. I always jump to the scary conclusions when my horse is off, but it always tends to be something small. Hope it resolves quickly!

  12. Don’t overlook the foot pain. Simon is landing toe first on all feet and really digging in on the hinds. Check the frog sulcus’ in particular. Never underestimate the amount of pain a case of sulcus thrush can cause. When a horse is landing toe first like this instead of heel first as he should be, it will cause problems throughout the body. Foot pain would cause ALL of the symptoms you describe, including the locking stifles. You might want to talk to some other farriers and get some second opinions. By all means, talk to the vet, but, in my experience, most vets do not know much about feet. Good Luck.

  13. My friend’s horse went through something similar- was off, had a cut, but then went dead lame – much worse than what you’re seeing. At first they thought abscess. But it turned out he had a small bone chip and an inflamed tendon where the cut is. I might get an x-ray and ultrasound to make sure you aren’t looking at something like that, but on a smaller scale.

  14. Nothing new to add – everyone else said what I was thinking: stifles, neuro, maybe it is just the scratch or maybe he injured the leg beneath the scratch. Any chance the scratch is infected?

    When Lex went NQR, it was an OCD lesion in her stifle. Not cheap, but excellent prognosis, and now she’s sound. But: common things occur commonly, and a TB who is ouchy about a scratch on his leg is VERY COMMON.

  15. I am no expert, and sounds like you’ve gotten a lot of great suggestions. The best thing you can do is just keep an eye out and focus on what you know. You hands down know your horse best. If you think something is wrong, then they should believe/acknowledge that. And chin up-I’m sure that something good will come around soon! Sending sound thoughts to Simon in the meantime.

  16. Ok this arm chair vet sees short steps behind. More so in each direction he is going—shorter in hind left going left, shorter on hind right going right but clips are just short enough for me to get a good enough look. I would question vet on injecting hocks or looking at stifles.

  17. How frustrating. I hope for your sake you are able to figure it out soon and start down the healing path, because those NQR performance issues can be so aggravating! It sounds like you have a good plan so far, especially if you are leaning on the side of caution/having the vet out sooner rather than later. I second what the other Jessica said, sometimes these lamenesses require a second set of eyes and some brainstorming.

  18. I’m so not an armchair vet but option A certainly seems plausible and if not the underlying cause could be exasperating it. I hope you guys are able to figure out and give you some peace of mind.

  19. When was the last time that he had time off? Like really off… no hacking or anything like that. Maybe his body is just a little sore/tired and it’s coming across as him being wonky. Usually tripping behind makes me think neuro. I noticed that he was dragging his toes a bit behind as well. Has he been lethargic?

    Hopefully his body just needs a break! Sending good vibes!!

  20. Hey Lauren — just a thought — Have you had Simon tested for Lyme? And have you had him checked for ulcers? I’m inclined to think he’s probably got some stifle issues, but Lyme can cause weird symptoms that come and go. I’m in Texas too and I know it’s supposedly not common here, but it’s actually a lot more common than you’d think! I hope you get to the bottom of it, NQR is so worrying!

    *HUGS* from me and my own Nerd Horse 🙂

    1. I haven’t but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea! He was treated for ulcers last year during stall rest when he was at high risk for them. His life right now is pretty ideal conditions digestive wise and he doesn’t show any signs of ulcers, so I don’t think it’s a big concern.

    2. We went through a similar mystery NQR issue with our TB a couple years back. Our boy would be just slightly off in the back left low, then back right high, then back left high, back right low, and on and on for several months! Never anything really crazy, just ‘off’ if you know what I mean. Talk about frustrating! We were begining to think he ate a chipmunk and it was communting from leg to leg:) As a ‘what the hell, why not’ gesture we tested him for Lyme and he came up positive much to our surprise. I just hope you find out soon. The frustration of not knowing sucks! Good luck.

  21. My off and on again NQR mare presented a lot like what you are saying (we thought stiffle, we thought bad saddle fit, we thought terrible thrush, we thought all kinds of things it wasn’t) she went sound for months after 3 weeks stall rest with bute then wham, RH suspensory. Its super common for hind suspensory to present off and on again NQR until the day the injury just tears. I would seriously consider talking to your vet about this and maybe insist on a utlrasound even if just to rule it out. I spent a lot of money just getting to the ultra sound point with blocks and ex-rays and lameness exams. 15% of horses at my old barn had hind suspensory injury’s (another reason im not there anymore, terrible fields) but it goes to show you how common it really can be. Whatever the result i hope Simon and you both feel better very soon. I wish they could just tell us where it hurts.

  22. I don’t have time to go through all the comments, so maybe someone else already suggested this…but have you had his stifles checked? Remember last year my horse Sunshine was off in the hind end and I didn’t have a clue what it was? Her stifles were super tight. The vet gave her a shot of something to relax them (sorry, I can’t remember now what it was!) and it helped a LOT. Its worth checking into, at least! My vet was able to determine that was her problem by just palpating around her stifle.

  23. Awww. I’m sorry to hear this. I have no suggestions as I am neither a vet nor an armchair vet and have similar problems with my own pony. He does look sound to me in that video though, which begs the question – why is he turning up lame afterwards? I hope that you guys can come up with something. Maybe he could simply benefit from a week or so off, no riding or work at all. But I seriously have no clue

  24. Late to the party, commenting regarding saddle fit. IF this is the cause, simply switching saddles won’t help. Time will be needed for any bruising to heal. I would give a week or two off…then try again, and if not try new saddles at that point. Not sure if you have called the vet yet or not, but time off never hurts.

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