Friday, March 12, 2010

Saddle pads are fair game, and a Harv update

Our Red and Black kitkas love saddle pads. This black pad has been used more by the cats than Harv.

Speaking of  Harv -- I'm a little worried. In late February, Harv seemed a little off when I rode him.  I gave him time off to feel better, but the next week he was worse. The farrier came out to check for a bad nail or abscess but he didn't react to hoof testers or taps to the nail holes.

Thinking the tincture of time would a) reveal a deep, brewing abscess and b) heal any soft tissue injuries, I chose to wait a bit before calling a vet. Harv has never been this lame before, and  as of today, March 12, he is still  lame.  The vet is coming Monday to do a workup.

 The symptoms...
  • Nods irregularly/stiffens to show lameness on the left front (or right hind, I suppose).
  • No heat, no swelling, no signs of injury.
  • Sound at the walk -- even walking down an incline he takes nice long strides.
  • Fine on sharp turns at the walk.
  • On the lunge he is worse travelling to the right, which is odd if it is the left front that is bothering him. 
  • He really wants to canter rather than trot, which makes it hard to evaluate him.
  • His hind legs really don't look bad, fairly fluid and even.
 On the plus side, he seems comfortable and "in character" (otherwise the vet would have been out sooner).  On the down side, I really don't like him showing this level of lameness for three weeks.  

Oh, one more thing.  Bob said he found text messages from C. Everett Koop on Harv's Blackberry.  I don't know if this is good or bad. Wish us luck.


  1. Sounds like same symptoms my retired TB exhibited last year right before I decided he'd done his best as an under saddle buddy. Turns out he has extensive arthritis thru hocks, stifles, back, etc. Can't tell to watch him run in the pasture though. Hope Harv fairs better than my Sloan! PS: When my husband's'trying to catch him I hear *#)*#@! Horse is lame my ass!!!!

  2. I'm okay with Harv moving into retirement, if it's his time. But I'd rather this just end up being an abscess!

  3. Does he take MSM? My 27 yr. old takes that and I think it helps--he's much less "creaky", still bucks when turned, etc. Time for Riley to man up. :)

  4. Sounds like a hind leg problem to me. Hope it's an easy fix/low maintenance issue! You've had more than your fair share of vet expense lately!

  5. crossing my fingers for you. It sure sounds like a brewing abscess, with the exception of a long time frame? But you never know. Having followed your blog for awhile now, I'm sure you've tried everything. :) We had to give Tiny the full hot soaking in a boot for 3 days before I felt something. I more time and I was able to lance it. It was deep. Certainly is the season!

    Sending the best to you and Harv.

  6. I am very sorry to hear that Harv is not 100%. I knew an appendix quarter horse close to thirty who displaced similar symptoms. His lameness began very gradually at the trot only. Nerve blocking determined that it was the right front leg, although the vet was not sure what about the leg was bothering him (fetlock or foot). I have seen other instances where the horse had front-limb lameness and preferred canter over trot. The owner decided to retire him.

    Here is the good news. The place where he retired him pulled his shoes and provided a barefoot trim (not a pasture trim and not the Strasser trim) with hoof boots during the transition. He went completely sound in a short time (weeks, maybe a month or two). His owner still keeps him at the retirement farm, but the horse is sound, rideable, and chasing around the younger horses.

    Just some food for thought. I hope that Harv feels better soon.

  7. Hi, I think maybe I was babying him too much to get a grip on the situation. This morning on the lunge line he was super-animated (wind, rain on roof) and hyper. Watching him *really* move the head bob stopped and the hind end looked very uneven -- it looks like the stifle. I'm still having the vet out just in case.

    If I'm right, at least it's a known issue.

  8. Those saddle pads look very comfy! I will have to have my human order me one or two, even though we don't have any horses.

    I hope Harv is okay - it sounds like he's doing better right now. But I am sending him some healing purrs just in case.

  9. My 18 y.o OTTB has/had stifle issues. Trainer long ago said (and our farrier as well) that cantering is easier for a stifle-y horse to do than trot, and for recovering, it was even best to warm up at a canter instead of a trot. Tight circles (lunging) are bad.
    On the other hand, Lyme disease often presents with vague, shifting lameness. Do you guys have ticks yet? I haven't seen them but I've heard they're out up here in SE Mass. Good luck.


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