The Mystery Lameness

Honey Flat Work

This past month, my mare became stiff, unwilling, lazy, and then just flat out lame. There was no heat in her legs and the farrier checked for a possible abscess with no conclusive findings. It was a true puzzle for everyone at the farm but one thing was certain, Honey was lame.

A few weeks later, the chiropractor was scheduled to come out and adjust her. I figured that would solve the stiffness and possibly shine a light on where her lameness was coming from. As Dr. Engel was adjusting Honey, starting at her hips and working her way up she noticed that her hips were extremely out of alignment. After she mentioned that, I immediately knew what had gone awry.

At the show we had competed in at the end of June there was a particularly tight turn off an oxar in some¬†particularly slippery footing. While we did slide, we didn’t fall and she finished the jump-off to move into 4th place. However, what I realized was that that slip had affected her hips more than we realized and since she showed no signs of lameness or discomfort we had continued riding her as usual. Over time, the issue became much worse and Dr. Engel suggested that the lameness could have been Honey compensating for the discomfort and imbalance of her hind end.

I gave her the recommended 72 hours off before riding her after her adjustment and I held my breath as I asked her to trot on the lunge line.

She started off slow, but no head-bob and no off-steps. Then I asked her to canter, and she picked up her lead no problem and cantered without any sign of lameness.

While we haven’t jumped yet, I did put her back into full flatwork and while she’s been a bit sassy about actually working, she’s been totally sound.

It’s so important to pay attention to all the little things that happen to your horse and really listen to them.

I am so thankful for my chiropractor and can’t wait to start getting Honey over some fences again!


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