Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Best Valentines Gift Ever- A Real Diagnosis!

I am about as excited as I have been in a while!

First, I am getting to ride with the gals from the Central Wyoming Performance Horse Club this weekend for the first time.

Second, I am getting to ride at the clinic in July in MT, which was posted by Janet at mugwumpchronicles

Third, and probably most important, we finally have a real diagnosis for Sassy

Naturally it is an odd one. The vet says she has some sort of deformity or abnormality in her navicular bone, especially on the right.  What makes it odd is that she is only 5.

We do not understand why she would have this at such an early age.  The Vet asked if perhaps as a young filly she had been kept in a stall.  Of course I didn't have her as a newborn, I didn't get her until she was 3, but TC made a valid point. We do know that when she was just a few days old she went through a barbed wire fence.  She ripped her skin open on her shoulder which required many stitches.  It is very possible that while healing from that she was kept in a stall.  I was told young horses who are not given ample room to move around while forming these very crucial bones, can often end up with abnormalities. This also could be from genetics, we just don't know, which rules her out as a brood mare for sure. Actually I can probably find out the answers to the questions, as I still have the number of the gal I got her from, and I have her breeders name. Perhaps some research is in order.

If you look at the second picture with the arrows, he says the top line of the navicular is nice and clear but the lower line is not, and the marrow is not dark like it should be.  He showed me an xray of a good navicular bone and I could see the difference.  A lot of his explanation was wasted on me, as I'm not so good at retaining information anymore.  That bothers me, a lot!

Her left front, has the same issue but not quite as badly.   We also looked at the coffin bone chip on her left front, it has healed and is no longer an issue. She is not as lame on the left as she is on the right, so it makes sense.

He showed me some small bone spurs forming in her fetlock area,  which although are small enough not to be an issue yet, they are signs of stress and pressure being put on the area.  The shoes and trim will help with that. I didn't post all the xrays this time, as I am running short of time, but perhaps I will be able to do that later.

He also showed where the bones in her feet and the hoof wall are not at the same angle. They aren't real bad yet, but if left as is, they would get worse.  I know there are more technical terms for all of this, but I'm not a very technical person.  He did mention a lot of the same things that others have, about how deep the groove next to her frog is, and that area is very painful for her.

Interestingly enough, another farrier who is pretty much retired now, showed up while we were working on her.  He looked at her standing there for 1 second and noticed that she wears unevenly, and her heels are very under run.

The vet told me that horses with this issue generally have 5-10 manageable years where they can still be used, if managed properly. Sometimes it is more, sometimes it is less, depending on the horse, the owner, and the work load.  This means that Sassy is not going to have a long useful life compared to many horses. This is where the research in her history would come into play. If I could determine what her early life was like, how she was rehab'd as a foal, and whether or not either of her parents came down with navicular, it could help me determine if she is even a candidate for breeding.  If it is from poor breeding, then no, she cannot be bred. If it is from poor foal management and neither of her parents ever showed any signs of the condition at any time in their lives,  then maybe she could be, which would give her purpose in later years.

For now I'll be happy with just getting her healed up as much as possible, and then hopefully be able to use her for light riding.


  1. It's great that you have a diagnosis!!!!

    Honestly, I think that if you could get her sound for riding, you should do that and use her as your horse and put her down when her condition becomes painful for her. If she has 5-10 years of happy life left, give it to her! She has already made quite the impact on your life, I don't think she needs a purpose more than that of being loved and teaching a young boy how to ride. Plus, it's not like she'd be used hard since she's not a show horse (not that you couldn't take her to a few shows!) or a hardworking ranch horse. I think that she would probably stay healthy and sound quite far into her life if you can keep working with a good farrier!

    What good valentines day news!

    1. I think you are right, and seriously, although I considered the possibility of breeding her later, the likely hood of that happening is slim to none. There are too many unwanted horses in the world as it is, so why would I contribute to that? I wouldn't and I won't.
      Thank you for bringing me back to my senses!

  2. Yeah, I mean, it would be one thing if she had stellar bloodlines in her, but even then, there are a heck of a lot of horses who don't have homes! Plus, I think that she will get the best home being loved by you and your family, I don't think she would be loved and appreciated to her full potenial as a broodmare!

  3. Glad that you've got a definitive diagnosis. Always feels better knowing what you're dealing with, but it's a bummer. Seems like we can make all the plans that we want, but it comes down to dealing the hand we're dealt, one day at a time. I sure hope and pray that Sassy has a good, long and productive life ahead of her. For both your sakes. :)
    Happy Valentine's Day my friend!!
    Thank you so much for your kind comment on my blog. I really appreciate the support!!! From one horse crazy gal to another. :)

    1. Yes we really can only make the best of the hand we are dealt. Funny you should use that terminology- it is one of my favorites!
      Happy Valentines day to you as well.

  4. I knew a young quarter horse gelding with navicular issues that developed at age 6. The owners weren't exactly sure why but they were stunned considering how young he was. They were eventually able to use him for light riding.

    Sassy is lucky to have someone who obviously cares so much about her well-being.