Horses » 19year old horse keeps going lame on hind leg??


This question is related to: Pip the Horse

Breed:Irish Draf
Vaccination History:Vaccinated every year

19year old horse keeps going lame on hind leg??

I'm not really sure what to do.

My 19 year old IDx went lame earlier in the year (we noticed it while in the field, he was in very light ridden work at the time and sound). The lameness was almost undetectable in walk, but very lame in trot. He's 16.3, so a big boy.

Called the vet out, he didn't really know what it was, he said it might be a field injury or arthritis. His hind legs have always been quite puffy. After a series of flexion tests & trot ups he said he thought the lameness was coming from the fetlock and maybe even the hock joint. So the only thing to do at this stage was 4 weeks of box rest and bute. Which we did.

Vet returned after 4 weeks, re examined and he was pretty much sound now, a huge improvement, no visible lameness.

(that was a couple of months ago) since then we started to turn him out again (only for an hour or two at first and on a small separate pen from the other horse - to try to stop him from playing around). We had hoped that the injury/problem would continue to get better and eventually be able to turn him out all day with the other horses.



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Anyway he did continue to improve and we gradually increased it to 8 hours out, and he was still sound. I began to ride him again on really short soft ground rides at walk. He was still sound.

Then turned him out as usual a couple of days ago (it was really windy) half an hour later I found him limping around in the field on 3 legs! :( We think he'd probably spooked in the wind or over exerted himself/hit it awkwardly. He will walk on it but as soon as he stops he picks it up and rests it. He's not very comfortable.

So brought him in and put him on a deep bed. Trying him back on box rest & bute for the next few days.

Reluctant to call the vet as he said last time if he went lame again to go straight to nerve blocking & x rays - & this would hugely stress my horse out as well as cost a fortune! I'm not sure whether it would do any good??

The injury seems worse than before as there's a fluid lump - about the size of a small squashed golf ball on the outside of his leg - just above the fetlock joint.




I don't really know what the long term solution is as it feels like we've just undone all the hard work and box rest by turning him out. This is where he's injuring himself. I can't keep him sound. 

If the lameness improved this time, Would brushing/tendon boots help when turning him out?

Apart from resting his leg - he's his usual self, quite lively, not sad or unhappy! It's such a shame as he's only 19. However he has had quite a hard life of hunting. I've had him for years and he's never been lame before.

Also he's such a good doer, he doesn't have any hard feed- so no joint supplements. I've heard these can work wonders? 



Martina Stuart

I suspct that the best way of keeping him sound wil lbe to keep him fit. problem often is that when they are nolonger in regiular excercise and they suddent ly decide to do something daft (as we do like cycling to China !) then allthe old arthrititicy problems flare up. get him in regular work and do both of you a favour!



let him rest for a week or two then just ride him for 10 mins then leave him 2 days then ride him for 20 mins leave him 2 days then ride him 30 mins leave him for 2 days then ride him for 1 hour on a hack and leave him 3 days, then just gradually build up. i hope this helps!


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