Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

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Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:13 pm

This is a very interesting and important question. I would cast it in terms of what are good reasons and bad reasons for retiring a horse. In discussing this I am going to limit it to physical/mental issue of the horse and not get into life situations with people.

As my vet told me, ringbone (arthritis) is NOT a good reason to retire a horse. And he was proven right. It is beyond question that my horse moves very close to normal and usually does NOT limp AFTER his rehab than at the beginning of his rehab. It is night and day and the difference would escape nobody who rode him at those times. What he didn't tell me is that with enough work my horse could also stop limping. Had he said that instead of suggesting I lease him as a trail horse and stop doing "small circles", I never would have retired him. That hiatus was completely unnecessary. Though it is true he was in the same amount of work then when he started limping as now where he usually doesn't I think that just suggests the condition flares and remits. I wish he told me that.

It is beyond question that my horse stiffened up everywhere else as his limp remitted during his 24/7 retirement turnout. So the pastern arthritis improved and everything else got worse apparently in even 24/7 retirement turnout. Assuming horses that move normally feel better than horses who move stiffly, that is a strong argument not to retire a horse like that.

So what will it take to retire my horse? When we get to the point that work can't keep the ringbone in check or one of his other legs gives out.

I would like to hear from folks about how they made the decision to retire their horse (not counting human situations).

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby texsuze » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:29 pm

The decision to retire my horse was made by his physical situation. It was like having the rug yanked out from under me in the spring of 2011 when I finally retired him. In a nutshell: intermittent lameness on the RT front (the sound/unsound roller coaster), non-specific origin, and the resultant interruptions in riding were how things started.

We saw a lameness specialist who did a thorough workup with flexions on two surfaces, x-rays, blocks, the works. IIRC, some very tiny bone spurs on the anterior surface at joint spaces. Arthritic lameness was given as the reason. Nothing drastic-looking, no laminitis, no navicular, etc. Shock wave therapy, which made him sore after his therapy sessions, did not provide any degree of improvement. Adequan seemed to give no improvement, although I later read that Adequan needed to be administered IV-- my horse was getting it IM because DH was giving the injections and it was a safer way to administer at home, rather than travel to the vet for each shot.

Second vet opinion and more x-rays pretty much confirmed the tiny spurs, and vet felt my horse's lameness was not going to improve.

Third vet opinion confirmed two previous evaluations. I also asked for x-rays of the opposite foot, and some calcification of the DDFT on that side was seen. Most notably, this vet was of the opinion that even if my horse 'recovered' enough after time off from work, and even if he were sound after a decent period of rest, there would be no guarantee that I'd manage to have him days/weeks/months back into sound work before he was likely to go lame once more. I pondered this, and the thought of the emotion and time spent (on both of us) gearing up again, returning to riding (even just trail riding), then not being able to explain to my horse why, suddenly, we're shutting down, this time for good. I tried some in-hand work with him, but that seemed to exacerbate the discomfort. I'm not one to employ a constant use of rx in order to satisfy my desire to ride. Judicial use of rx to keep one comfortable while on his feet is something different, IMHO.

For a few years after my horse's retirement, when I would haul him to my main vet for yearly vaccination (one at a time) I'd have a lateral x-ray of each front foot, just to see how things looked. No real changes, except after a couple years the DDFT attachment calcification looked "... much clearer...", so retirement seemed to help improve that, at least. I did get another horse in the meantime, but later re-homed him when I decided on a major course correction in my life--- family life crises were looming large on the horizon.

My horse will be 27 y.o. this coming weekend :D and most days you'd never know he had issues. He's in good weight, often behaving like he's 3, but with some possible vision deficits I'm still evaluating. Many is the day I've considered putting him on the lunge line for assessment, or have thought about just hopping on to walk in the arena. Do I want to open that door and have it slam shut in our faces? Not sure.

Oh, boy, time to stop typing, here come the tears.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:27 pm

Thanks so much for typing that out, texsuze. Yours is a very tough case of not really getting a diagnosis that was definitive. That must have been maddening.

I definitely picked up on your point of roller coaster lame - no lame - lame and how the emotions go up and down with that. I went so low when I retired my horse and then I went so high seeing he was sound again. This must be how manic depressives live. Then the roller coaster of good days followed by bad days in rehab making me question if I was on the right track. Then we surfaced and it was clear the work was making him better and the limp was disappearing. And then his left hind gives out coincident with removing front shoes. Hmmm.

This game is hard physically and emotionally. Thanks again for writing.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Ryeissa » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:53 pm

Rye had ringbone for several years, and hock arthritis. It turns out it had moved to her neck too (Found due to x rays for her nurological condition).
I should have retired her and not continued, but I didn't know what I know now. She didn't like dressage and wasn't suited to do it phyiscally. However, we did such a low level that it can hardly be called dressage...it did teach her to carry herself better, so maybe in the end it did help? who knows. I would not do that again it was a drain on me and my bank account.

(She died due from an illness and infection, nothing with her arthritis)

I'm a huge fan of getting more than one opinion when facing major medical decisions, and listening to the horse in front of you. The good and bad reasons are things we choose due to our own situation. If we come to life with caregiving for a parent then it will be even harder (for example) to manage the emotions and needs of a lameness.

Also, some horses inherently have better work ethics. Having owned COMPLETELY 180 degree different horses, I know that Riot would be a stronger mind and spirit. Things just don't become an issue, he is allowing me to mold him so he is physically more fit, therefore healthier, and can power though smaller issues due to his nature. Rye made every dang thing a big NO and any little physical imbalance was magnified 500x since she didn't allow me to guide her to be forward/balanced (Her whole family was very stubborn, her dad ended up being pulled from breeding due to this).

Things that scare me: soft tissue/tendon stuff, back issues, neck issues, navicular (I don't know much about navicular)

Things I can manage: muscle and bone, some COPD/heaves related issues, encocryne system issues

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:51 pm

Thanks for typing that Ryeissa. It's an interesting perspective.

Navicula used to scare me too but I ride a horse now who has been nerved and he is a game, forward guy. He is relatively easy to sit so I do a fair bit of sit trot which is fun. Another horse in my barn was just diagnosed with navicular and she is sound on bute for the moment. What did scare me is that neither of these horses is a typical candidate for navicular as far as I know. I always thought I could avoid ever owning a horse who became navicular by avoiding QHs with teacup feet. I did not realize other breeds get navicular or that horses with reasonable-sized feet get it. One more potential worry when buying my last horse I guess but at least the surgery is successful.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Chisamba » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:11 pm

I've retired horses for a few reasons but believing that retirement hastens old age I try to keep my horses in exercise appropriate to their ability

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby PaulaO » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:46 am

Bob developed fibrotic neuropathy in his right hind. Instant retirement. He lived another 18 months til the rest of his body gave out.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Moutaineer » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:07 am

I retired Walker from dressage because I reached the point where I couldn't keep him sound enough, even with regular injections and assorted pharmaceuticals.
He had so much try, he'd always really give it a go, but one day in a lesson, I looked at my trainer and said, "no, this is futile, we are stopping this right now..." and that was that.
He's still perfectly happy to go out on the trails, or walk and trot, beautifully on the bit, in the ring, but he just cannot canter cleanly any more, He bunny hops even when he's blasting around his pasture. His SI is just a disaster. So we don't, and that's fine. He's 22 and owes me nothing.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby exvet » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:09 am

I think you need to 'qualify' retired. I've retired horses from specific levels of work and/or disciplines to other careers more suited to their physical & mental capabilities. I've retired horses to pasture pet and companion horse status for the same reasons. Some went from higher levels of competition to lower levels of work, both requiring regular riding to pasture puff over a period of years or a period of months. There's many reasons to do so or not. In the end I think the owner/caretaker knows the horse best and is in the driver seat in making the 'best' decision on the when. That doesn't mean that they don't seek the advice of professionals or mentors to arrive at that decision but at the same time, it's the individual who really truly knows what determines quality of life for that animal that should be making the decision and it's definitely not a one size fits all but an individual, case-by-case decision. I believe if it's not causing undue pain and suffering keeping any being active and engaged does improve/maintain longevity as well as cognitive function.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:48 am

I move on to a sounder horse as soon as I realize that the horse has issues that aren't going to go away, and the reason for that is because I believe that horses will work through considerable pain both because they don't feel they have any choice, and because they're genetically programmed to mask weakness.

I'm also skeptical that it's in a horse's best interests to continue to work him when he's in pain, and find the whole idea just as unbelievable as the other self serving stories humans invent to justify their actions. Which isn't to say that I haven't bought into it in the past--or at least I did until I started to suspect that I was believing what I wanted to believe instead of looking at the evidence and attempting to think about it from my horse's point of view.

I'm not sure why it's so hard for owners to put themselves in their horses' shoes and think about what they would want if they were their horse? Or maybe they do, but they just see the evidence differently, or interpret it differently, and then come to different conclusions than I do?

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Chisamba » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:39 am

I agree that generations of being a prey animal make horses stoic about pain. It has also made them an animal designed to heal on the move.

Secondly, horses may be stoic but mostly they are honest. You flex they flinch. It is not complicated to see if they are sore, nor if your treatment is helping or harming.

Sometimes changing a horses job has nothing to do with pain either. Some times it's just the mental state of the animal.

But let's be clear here, not every person who claims to be an animal ethicist actually has the animals good life in mind. There are people who steal dogs from families and kill them because they believe death is better than slavery.

My personal goal is to provide my animals a good life. I explore many options to do that. However if daily pain with no improvement and unable to alleviate is the animals long term future, it's not only retirement that I consider. However I definitely seek professional opinions. My vet, my acupuncturist, farrier, trusted friends, but perhaps mostly, the animal itself.

Some animals are content with confinement, others are not, some are okay with light work, others are not, my best advice is listen to your horse.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:09 am

kande have you ever been to PT? I have. You go from a state of pain to a state of no pain. It is not painless on the way though. The equivalent to that in the horse world is correct work. If a horse has a condition that, like in humans is amenable to PT, then you are obliged to do that to take away their pain in my opinion.

This is why my vet told me not to retire my horse.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:17 am

Chisamba wrote:
But let's be clear here, not every person who claims to be an animal ethicist actually has the animals good life in mind. There are people who steal dogs from families and kill them because they believe death is better than slavery.


True, and even those with the best of intentions make what I think are mistakes. But trying to argue that an entire group is out in left field because some players are, is a logical fallacy.

I also think that finding a balance between what humans want vs what their animals might want is a journey in itself, simply because humans can't know what an animal would choose.

There's a lot of human ego wrapped up in the entire ethics debate, which is why I think that one of the questions owners need to ask themselves is, "what would I want if I was my horse" But of course, coming up with a reasonable answer to that question depends upon being able to accurately interpret the horse's behavior, because if someone doesn't know or believe that horses mask pain then they're going to come to a different conclusion than someone who believes they do.

My personal goal is to provide my animals a good life. I explore many options to do that. However if daily pain with no improvement and unable to alleviate is the animals long term future, it's not only retirement that I consider. However I definitely seek professional opinions. My vet, my acupuncturist, farrier, trusted friends, but perhaps mostly, the animal itself.

Some animals are content with confinement, others are not, some are okay with light work, others are not, my best advice is listen to your horse.[/quote]

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:30 am

Tsavo wrote:kande have you ever been to PT? I have. You go from a state of pain to a state of no pain. It is not painless on the way though. The equivalent to that in the horse world is correct work. If a horse has a condition that, like in humans is amenable to PT, then you are obliged to do that to take away their pain in my opinion.

This is why my vet told me not to retire my horse.


Isn't PT more about restoring function to muscles and tendons than decreasing arthritic changes?

The reason I'm skeptical about your horse's PT is because of the arthritic changes in his rads. If you had before and after pix that showed that what he's going through was correcting the arthritic changes, then I'd be more convinced that your vet might be on the right track. but his problems just seem like they're way beyond what PT can fix.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:43 am

The proof is in the pudding... does he limp? Is he stiff?

It is beyond question that this condition flares and remits or else my horse wouldn't have a single day after he started limping that he doesn't limp. In fact it is unusual for him to limp now. I don't know how bony changes conduce to flaring and remitting. How can my horse been sound every day until he started limping at the top of a hill set run? How can he have largely stopped limping after 2 weeks of 24/7 turnout? These are all interesting questions that we can only approach empirically.

I don't know what else to tell you.
Last edited by Tsavo on Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:44 am

PT for osteoarthritis in human (replaced the link)

https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-a ... ercise.php

Physical activity is the best non-drug treatment for improving pain and function.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby khall » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:04 pm

Not my horse but one I've known since he was 4, now in his late 20's. He in his early 20's went from pasture pet to schoolmaster to someone I know. For 2/3 yrs he did well, but he started having lameness issues LF from ringbone. Pretty significant high ringbone. So she drastically reduced his workload and went looking for another horse. He became the pony horse for her niece. Mostly sound, but had to avoid smaller turns which exacerbated the issues. He ended up injuring his hip somehow in the field over the winter and has been on stall rest for awhile. He will never be a riding horse again. The fact though that the rider reduced his work load IMO is the most significant point here. Tsavo you wanted to go back to the level where your guy was before the lameness started. Sounds like that was against the vet's advice and now you are having hind end issues with him. How are you addressing the hind end issues? Bute? Injections? Adequan? Any over the counter supplements? Radiographs? Do you know what is causing them?

I've had discussions about ringbone over the years with my farrier (whose wife is a vet) and his belief dealing with ringbone is all about the balance of the foot which requires diligent attention by the farrier and often rads to check the alignment. Sometimes the high ringbone will fuse and the horse will become pain free. Low ringbone is a different story and is much more about management and most often will end up causing lameness that is not able to be managed. This is exactly what happened with my mare Anna. We managed her low ringbone for years with careful and regular shoeing until we could not. When I lost her in 2016 she was starting to show lameness on a more regular basis. Which was one of the factors when I opted to not do colic surgery. When the lameness showed up I quit working her.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:11 pm

Tsavo wrote:The proof is in the pudding... does he limp? Is he stiff?


I have a lot of trouble with the timeline sometimes, but didn't you just post something about him now being lame on his left hind, too?

There's no doubt that inflammation comes and goes, so with or without PT there's more pain some days than others, which of course, makes it very hard to tell what's working and what isn't.

But at least now I understand why you're riding him so hard. Or at least it sounds hard, although I get that when one is honest about what they're doing it often sounds much worse than it is, because we're so used to reading sanitized versions of what is actually happening.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:17 pm

khall what are you suggesting as the relation between ringbone on a front and hind issues? I think a horse can have two or more unrelated issues. I think his hock is flaring as would not be surprising in a 21 year old horse and that is conducing to moving the stifle differently. It flared about 2 months ago and resolved by itself. I expect that to happen again. Are the flares more often or less often due to work? Who knows. I know he was stiff as a statue from being largely out of work from August to February and now he moves normally in-between flares.

I expect my horse will go the same route as yours... there will come a time where work will not prevent limping. That is when I will retire again although I think my vet would again advise against that. I only retired him because I thought the limp was permanent. It wasn't and I wish I was told it might not be and to try more work not less.

He is sound on 15 m circles by the way. That doesn't mean it isn't bad to do them just because he is sound. I think that was my vet's point maybe.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:20 pm

kande50 wrote:
Tsavo wrote:The proof is in the pudding... does he limp? Is he stiff?


I have a lot of trouble with the timeline sometimes, but didn't you just post something about him now being lame on his left hind, too?


Yes but that is probably unrelated to the ringbone issue. It happened 2 months ago and went away by itself. I think it is a flare of hock arthritis.

There's no doubt that inflammation comes and goes, so with or without PT there's more pain some days than others, which of course, makes it very hard to tell what's working and what isn't.

But at least now I understand why you're riding him so hard. Or at least it sounds hard, although I get that when one is honest about what they're doing it often sounds much worse than it is, because we're so used to reading sanitized versions of what is actually happening.


30 - 40 minutes of walk trot canter 5 days a week is not hard for any horse even my horse.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Chisamba » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:22 pm

kande50 wrote:
Tsavo wrote:kande have you ever been to PT? I have. You go from a state of pain to a state of no pain. It is not painless on the way though. The equivalent to that in the horse world is correct work. If a horse has a condition that, like in humans is amenable to PT, then you are obliged to do that to take away their pain in my opinion.

This is why my vet told me not to retire my horse.


Isn't PT more about restoring function to muscles and tendons than decreasing arthritic changes?

The reason I'm skeptical about your horse's PT is because of the arthritic changes in his rads. If you had before and after pix that showed that what he's going through was correcting the arthritic changes, then I'd be more convinced that your vet might be on the right track. but his problems just seem like they're way beyond what PT can fix.

Kande I have severe arthritis and yes pt is for arthritis. Wow you talk about ego. You sure have something. Are you the premier expert on arthritis? Learn before you accuse

And I'm not even taking Tsavos side I don't know enough about the case.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:28 pm

Chisamba wrote:And I'm not even taking Tsavos side I don't know enough about the case.


Even I don't know enough about my horse's case. That's the problem. All I can do is report what I did and what happened. No knowledge is being advanced with my horse's case. :-)

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby demi » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:35 pm

Muddy, wet conditions for more than a day or two can definitely contribute to lameness whether barefoot or shod. I have seen horses go lame when left out in muddy wet conditions.

I’ve never had a retired or partially retired horse that DIDN’T require a good bit of management. Lots of turn out is imperative IMO, but 24/7/365 is probably not going to work for most horses, unless they are conditioned for it, and the climate is right for it.

One thing I’ve noticed with my older horses is that a comfy, well cushioned place to lay down at night is very important. Mine have unrestricted access to pasture most of the time but they always come in and sleep laying down in their stalls at night. With the older ones, I bank the shavings up the side of the stall wall so they can lay down and get up more easily. I can tell the position each one likes to lay in by the indentation they make in the shavings. Then I bank accordingly. Getting good rest makes a big difference in how they move, especially with the ones that have hoof lamenesses. Even the arthritic ones seem to do better if they get good rest.

When the conditions are too muddy for 24/7, mine have 24X24 crushed granite paddocks and additionally I’ll walk them and turn them out for a while in the sand arena. This is really helpful for the arthritic horses I’ve had.

I know form my own age related arthritis that movement is the best thing. But movement for horses on muddy wet ground 24/7 only adds to the problem. It’s about proper management, I think.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:41 pm

That makes sense now that I read it, demi. We have drenching dew and I ride in the morning on it. Without shoes he does sometimes slip and that may have caused the left hind issue. It came on so suddenly that I first thought it was an injury but I think it is more likely a hock arthritis flare.

I do think there is a decline in hind end ROM based on the small abrasions I see on his hocks now. I think he has more trouble getting up and down and that is manifesting in small abrasions.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby demi » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:43 pm

It.s more than just slipping in the wet grass. It’s about what the wet/mud does to the hoof wall and the frog, and the heel.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:03 pm

There is almost no mud in my horse's pasture. The mud is too small an area to matter.
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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Dresseur » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:46 pm

which is why I think that one of the questions owners need to ask themselves is, "what would I want if I was my horse"

Many owners would look at a rainy day and think, if I was my horse, I'd want to be inside and dry and warm and comfortable, yet most horses will happily stand with their butts to the wind and rain even with a shelter nearby. We DON'T know what they want, we DON'T know what they are telling us. We can interpret, and that's it. And our interpretations are fallible.

In the case of retirement, I've stepped a horse down, and she went on to be very useful for a member of our board for years to come. I believe in keeping horses in light work as long as possible as extended time off makes them stiffer and hastens the aging process. They are athletes, and protocols imo should follow athlete protocols.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby khall » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:02 pm

Tsavo I did not relate the two lamenesses. They could be related they might not be, having diagnostics done would help pin point the hind end issue. There is such a thing as compensatory lameness, I've witnessed it myself when I had front feet lameness in my OTTB geld years ago.

What I was asking was are you doing anything for this lameness? Are you continuing to ride him? Any diagnostics done to determine what is going on? Any treatment?

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:20 pm

demi wrote:It.s more than just slipping in the wet grass. It’s about what the wet/mud does to the hoof wall and the frog, and the heel.


The heel sulcus is usually the problem here, although the collateral grooves can be affected, too. The cure seems to be to keep the hoof short so the frog is on the ground, and of course, to ride on abrasive footing as often as possible.

I've also taken all the mats out of the run ins and put gravel in them, along with a gravel apron around the barn where they go in and out. Sting looks like he has nubs instead of front hooves because he keeps chipping the walls at the toe off, but the bottoms look better than they ever have and he's sound on the stones. So it really does seem to be about keeping the walls short and the bottoms stimulated when it's wet, and possibly all the time.

I ride in a grass ring, but have coarse sand in one end and stick to that end for cantering when the grass is wet. Or at least that's what I did when I rode outside more. Now I ride indoors most of the time because the footing is so much better, and it's in the shade, and there aren't any bugs, and I've become such a fair weather rider.

I
Last edited by kande50 on Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:40 pm

Dresseur wrote:Many owners would look at a rainy day and think, if I was my horse, I'd want to be inside and dry and warm and comfortable, yet most horses will happily stand with their butts to the wind and rain even with a shelter nearby.


None of mine do unless they're on limited feed and won't leave it to seek shelter. My Trakehner wimps, who are hard keepers so always have grass or hay available, actually run for their stalls when it starts raining, even when it's hot out. :-)

But yes, our interpretations of what they might prefer are fallible, which is why we often change our opinions throughout our lifetimes.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:01 pm

khall wrote:What I was asking was are you doing anything for this lameness? Are you continuing to ride him? Any diagnostics done to determine what is going on? Any treatment?


I am buting him and resting him. I don't consider him rideable in this state. This limp is not like the front left limp which was minor. He had a flare on the left hind about 2 months ago that resolved on its own without bute.

If it doesn't resolve I will have it worked up but they are going to tell me it is a flare of hock arthritis I am sure. It came on very acutely... the day before there was absolutely no issue nor was there any issue in the weeks before that. Then boom... no left hind. It wasn't gradual which is why I thought he hurt himself.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:38 pm

Tsavo wrote:
30 - 40 minutes of walk trot canter 5 days a week is not hard for any horse even my horse.


I think it's hard for a horse who is pain, which is why, when I think of keeping a lame horse in work I think easy walk/jog trail rides with minimal hill work and no tight turns. IOW, enough to keep them moving, but no more than it takes to do that. But that's because I think of arthritic changes as permanent, so am not thinking in terms of fixing them, as I would if they had an injury that healed and then needed PT to regain strength and flexibility. So my goal would be to prevent further damage, rather than trying to fix what's already damaged by returning to the same work that may have caused the damage in the first place.

But then, maybe the work you're doing now is much easier than what you were doing with him before?

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:36 pm

I can only report what I do and what happened. Taking him out of work a year ago did not resolve the limping. Turnout and rehabbing and getting him back to five days a week W/T/C did. Or it was a total coincidence.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:03 pm

Tsavo wrote:I can only report what I do and what happened. Taking him out of work a year ago did not resolve the limping. Turnout and rehabbing and getting him back to five days a week W/T/C did. Or it was a total coincidence.


Or he could be more equally lame in all 4 now so there's no limping?

I've seen that twice. Once with a horse who has what my vet called "mechanical" lameness from previous damage. His claim was that she wasn't in pain, but she's the only one who knows whether that's true or not. But anyway, I'd had her for several years and she came in from pasture one morning and she was "sound". I couldn't believe it because she'd been uneven since I got her. As it turned out she'd developed a small abscess in one hoof, and when that hoof became sore it wasn't sore enough to prevent her from trotting, but it was sore enough to even up her trot.

The same thing just happened to a neighbor's horse who has been uneven in back for years, but one day recently she trotted in from pasture even. It was a miracle, until the hoof abscess progressed and she got sore enough on that side so that she was lame again.

I have no idea whether anything like that could be going on with your horse, but it is something to consider when you're trying to evaluate his progress.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Ryeissa » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:11 pm

kande50 wrote:Or he could be more equally lame in all 4 now so there's no limping?


First, this makes no sense to me but if your barometer is "all 4 legs move the same" it seems ok.

I think Tsavo can tell if the horse is sore when you ride. It's not that complicated. Pain presents in many ways that go beyond limping.

Also, with clients I work on in massage therapy= I can usually tell in a few moments when they are not feeling good. Many times you find diagonal pain patterns or secondary pain patterns as they compensate for sore areas. sometimes I can even tell by the way they are standing in the grooming stall.

Horses do better in work, overall- as I said above it makes the horse more even and carry themselves which saves the joints from more work (all else being equal, and if it doesn't harm the horse).

Also, when my horse hurt his hip a few years ago, it was because he was in such good shape before with good muscling that he healed as well as he did.

All horses have to have something managed- I have worked on sore 4 yo, sore pasture pets, and sore trail horses. Being a horse is full of problems.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:52 pm

kande50 wrote:Or he could be more equally lame in all 4 now so there's no limping?


I have *joked* about my horse being quadrilaterally lame. The reason it is a joke is the chances of having exactly equal pain in all four legs are so small as to make the suggestion comical. Then add the claim that the horse stays quadrilaterally lame week after week after week. Do you see the problem?

It is not just an absence of limping. It is stride length, overstep, foot flight, foot landing, walk mechanics, comfort level, ability and ease to do certain things like counter canter and SI, and how a horse feels to the rider. I watch him on the lunge and I ride him. If he is quadilaterally lame now then he has been quadrilaterally lame the entire time I have owned him. Possible but the chances of that are the same as the chances of a teapot orbiting the sun. I can't disprove either thing but then there is no reason to believe it in the first place.

I think you are struggling with this because you are unfamiliar with the concept of and evidence for PT.

My horse has radiographic ringbone. He had a limp. These things are probably related but we can't know that or be sure how they are related. All we can say is the radiographs show ringbone but work resolved the limp.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:55 pm

Ryeissa wrote:
Pain presents in many ways that go beyond limping.


And humans either miss or trivialize most of them, because horses are good at masking pain and their humans are fine with that because they don't want to lose the use of their horse.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:02 pm

If a horse shows no sign of pain, how do you ever know if that horse is in pain?

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby khall » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:06 pm

Actually I have seen it often when a horse is lame on one front leg. Block that leg and the horse goes lame on the other front leg. Blocks are a good tool for diagnosing lameness and showing up ones you did not know about!

Tsavo you keep saying work resolved the limp, but was your horse not is work when he became lame initially from the ringbone? Again what I've been told it is not about the work but about the balance of the foot with ringbone, that and REDUCING the work load the horse was in when he became initially lame.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:15 pm

Tsavo wrote:
I have *joked* about my horse being quadrilaterally lame. The reason it is a joke is the chances of having exactly equal pain in all four legs are so small as to make the suggestion comical. Then add the claim that the horse stays quadrilaterally lame week after week after week. Do you see the problem?


It doesn't need to be exactly the same if it's being evaluated by observation, because humans aren't all that good at discerning whether they're seeing improvement, or if they're seeing a horse who is in more pain that's more evenly distributed.

The problem I've noticed in horses who have pain, or even mechanical issues, is that they so often end up with neck, back, and/or sacral pain to go along with their original problem.

I think you are struggling with this because you are unfamiliar with the concept of and evidence for PT.


I have no personal experience with PT, but certainly know plenty of humans who have had joint replacements and such and gone for PT, so have some clue how it works.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:19 pm

khall wrote:Actually I have seen it often when a horse is lame on one front leg. Block that leg and the horse goes lame on the other front leg. Blocks are a good tool for diagnosing lameness and showing up ones you did not know about!


Kande is discussing a horse who doesn't limp.

Tsavo you keep saying work resolved the limp, but was your horse not is work when he became lame initially from the ringbone? Again what I've been told it is not about the work but about the balance of the foot with ringbone, that and REDUCING the work load the horse was in when he became initially lame.


Yes he was in similar work. So that means if the limp was due to the ringbone then it flares and remits OR the limp is unrelated to the radiographic findings. One or the other. There is no third option.

Reducing the workload did nothing to resolve the limp. His feet are balanced as usual.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:23 pm

Tsavo wrote:If a horse shows no sign of pain, how do you ever know if that horse is in pain?


We can't know even if he limps, because it could be a mechanical lameness that isn't painful.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:42 pm

Kande is discussing a horse who doesn't limp.


It would still work though, if he was bilaterally lame rather than sound. You'd block one side to see if he become uneven.

Which just reminded me of an interesting conversation I had with a vet. The entire diagnostic procedure was a bust, but then he wanted to inject her with IV Adequan and at the same time inject something like long acting novacaine (can't remember what it was). The whole idea made no sense to ne, because if we were going to numb the pain then we wouldn't be able to tell whether or not the Adequan helped, but then, maybe that was the idea?

But anyway, it's possible to numb back muscles, and probably any muscle or group of muscles. Before that conversation I was aware that vets do a lot of hoof and leg blocks, but hadn't heard anything about back/neck blocks?

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Hot4Spots » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:25 pm

Moutaineer wrote:I retired Walker from dressage because I reached the point where I couldn't keep him sound enough, even with regular injections and assorted pharmaceuticals.
He had so much try, he'd always really give it a go, but one day in a lesson, I looked at my trainer and said, "no, this is futile, we are stopping this right now..." and that was that.
He's still perfectly happy to go out on the trails, or walk and trot, beautifully on the bit, in the ring, but he just cannot canter cleanly any more, He bunny hops even when he's blasting around his pasture. His SI is just a disaster. So we don't, and that's fine. He's 22 and owes me nothing.


I am one of several people who exercise an older horse for a woman in our barn who can no longer ride. He is a 26 year old 17.2 Oldenburg. We don't know his complete story, but from the ease with which he does lateral work, we think he was probably trained to at least third level. But he can't canter under saddle any more. He has arthritis in his hind end, and was foundered in front, but recovered fairly well. His shoeing HAS to be "just so." His owner pays the extra travel cost for a farrier who finally got it right for this horse to come and shoe him. I think if this horse were NOT ridden, he would just seize up. His owner feels, and his riders agree, it's a "use it or lose it" situation. Because of his issues, trail riding isn't really an option, especially since the terrain is pretty up and down around here, but he seems perfectly happy to do his 30-45 minutes of walk/trot, s/I, H/I, etc. He appears comfortable and is definitely the type to let you know if he is not. I think he would deteriorate if retired to no work at all.

My last good event horse retired to being a trail horse at age 21 and was still being ridden up until the day before he died at age 27-1/2.

I did retire my horse prior to the one I know own due to arthritic stifles. He was still okay for walking trail rides, but I couldn't find anyone to, perhaps, half lease him (he would have loved being a beginner's trail horse), so I retired him at age 21. About two years later, he dramatically lost weight and wouldn't pick up no matter how much he was fed (he'd never been an easy keeper, but this was pretty bad). I had a veterinary workup and they said it was cancer. They said he wasn't in any great pain, but to keep monitoring him. Six months later, he had transient mild colics, then he stopped eating. Vet came, said there was an infection (possibly guttural pouch), that he was not a good candidate for that particular surgery, so the decision was made.

Now, well, as many of you know, I guess you could say my present horse - only 14 - is semi-retired. He can only be ridden at a walk. So, despite the fact that he's not a very good trail horse (too easily upset by anything and everything, despite the fact that he's smart, curious, and had a show career), but he's going to have to learn to be a trail horse, because vets say pasture is NOT a good idea (will probably make injury worse), and light work is good for him. End of my show career, but whatever. I'm 73. I've evented, I've done H/J, wanted to do more dressage, but...... It is what it is.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:56 pm

kande50 wrote:
Tsavo wrote:If a horse shows no sign of pain, how do you ever know if that horse is in pain?


We can't know even if he limps, because it could be a mechanical lameness that isn't painful.


Schrödinger's lameness is both there and not there in response to Schrödinger's pain which is both there and not there.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:00 pm

kande50 wrote:
Tsavo wrote:
I have *joked* about my horse being quadrilaterally lame. The reason it is a joke is the chances of having exactly equal pain in all four legs are so small as to make the suggestion comical. Then add the claim that the horse stays quadrilaterally lame week after week after week. Do you see the problem?


It doesn't need to be exactly the same if it's being evaluated by observation,


If they would sell me a Lameness Locator (TM) we could settle this. But they won't.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Ryeissa » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:08 pm

Tsavo wrote:
kande50 wrote:
Tsavo wrote:
I have *joked* about my horse being quadrilaterally lame. The reason it is a joke is the chances of having exactly equal pain in all four legs are so small as to make the suggestion comical. Then add the claim that the horse stays quadrilaterally lame week after week after week. Do you see the problem?


It doesn't need to be exactly the same if it's being evaluated by observation,


If they would sell me a Lameness Locator (TM) we could settle this. But they won't.



Oh! I need one. Does it turn colors if you find something?

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Tsavo » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:14 pm

No but it can sample motion faster than the human eye and can discern multiple lamenesses with accuracy.

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby Ryeissa » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:57 am

Tsavo wrote:No but it can sample motion faster than the human eye and can discern multiple lamenesses with accuracy.

Hahaha.... I do need this!

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Re: Musical Comedy asks what's it going to take to retire my horse?

Postby kande50 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:07 pm

Hot4Spots wrote: I'm 73. I've evented, I've done H/J, wanted to do more dressage, but...... It is what it is.


Another opportunity may present itself.

It may not be the same out there, but around here there are plenty of owners looking for someone to help keep their horses fit, or to go out trail riding with them on one of their horses.


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