X-Rays of Horse Hooves with Arthritis and Degenerative Bone Disease

 Why Is My Horse Off?

In a previous blog post we learned how to take care of a horse.  In this post we look a little closer at why the hoof care of a horse is so very important.  Today we look at the question that many riders fear to think,  “Why is my horse off?”  Ever say that to yourself or out loud?  Hopefully you never have to figure it out.  Take care of your horses feet and your horse will take care of you. You here it bantered about in the equestrian world in all disciplines, but unless it happens to your horse you really never know for sure what this topic is all about.

Odin is our Percheron Gelding, 17.3 hands, with an unknown history.  We bought him off a YouTube video(Yes, we now know that was a bad idea)  He is our big, black, lovable, goofy Odin, who never lets you know he is hurting.  He tries so hard to please us.  We love him so.  He is our first horse.  The Love of my life, she loves, “her baby” as she puts it.


Odin Our Percheron


After two years we moved Odin to the Dressage barn. There he had a wonderful pasture board, 24/7 except for the 6 hours a week he was ridden.   He also had a certified, farrier from Rolex,  as his farrier, but he still has osteoarthritis(mild as seen below) and ring-bone.

The art and science of taking care of you’re horses feet is not exact.  You do the best you can.  Odin had the best farrier money can buy, and he was on joint supplements, but sometimes a big horse has joint problems.  It is part of owning a very big horse.  Especially if that horse has short pasterns.

Radiograph: Right Front From Behind: 

Why Is My Horse Off




Notice the coffin joint is barely present as compared to the pastern joint. It is believed that the joint may be in the process of fusing and osteophytes are forming.

Odin is in the pasture and on Legend treatments and Butte.  Horses will go lame and sore as the joint is fusing.  Once fusing is complete(this happens naturally) then they experience no pain. This is what the Veterinarian is telling us.

Radiograph: Left Front From Behind: 

Why My Horse Is Off


You can see why having a base-line set of x-rays is very important.  As we said in the beginning of this post, we bought Odin, sight unseen from YouTube, from a farm in Nebraska.  I do not recommend anyone do that. We got darn lucky that we have had such a good experience with him.   He has a great head about him, and a goofy personality.  We trained him in good ground manners from day one, and he is practically bomb proof after some desensitization.

Odin had been a draft horse pulling in a team of two, and not working for a year and a half in the pasture before we bought him.  We had no x-rays of his feet and joints when we got him, and our first Veterinarian only took x-rays of his hocks, so we do not know the health of his joints prior to us owning him.

I recommend that you get x-rays of your horses joints before you buy your  horse.  This can be done in a pre-buy Vet check.  You know what they say, let the buyer beware!  They didn’t coin the phrase horse trader for nothing.


Radiograph: Left Front Side View

Why My Horse Is Off


Here, you can see the osteophytes starting to grow on the front of his coffin joint and very obvious, upper ring-bone on Pastern 2(closest to the coffin) and Pastern 1.  The Vet called this moderate osteoarthritis.  Odin is sore, and he is getting Weekly Legend and Butte. This of course was devastating news for a Dressage horse that Odin was becoming.  He was in training for Training Level 1, test 3.  We do not know the future of Odin’s competition in Dressage.  It will probably be two years before he is sound again, and that is not guaranteed.  It just depends on his recuperation.  Legend is supposed to increase production of synovial fluid of the joint that lubricates it naturally.

Radiograph:  Right Front Side View

Why My Horse Is Off


Here, the angle of the pastern bone is t00 far forward, because of the farrier’s trim.  He was attempting to back the foot up, as we were beginning more lateral work in Odin’s dressage training, but the pastern bone is not supposed to form a wide V with the coffin bone as you see above.  It is  supposed to line up with the coffin bone in a straight line.  This corrects itself as the hoof grows out, we have been told.

But, with Odin’s coffin joint fusing and the angle of the pastern slightly forward, that adds to Odin’s pain because of the angle being off.  The treatment will be to put a pad or wedge pad on his shoe to change the angle between the ground and the bottom of Odin’s coffin bone, raising the angle up and taking tension off the tendon that hold it up, allowing things to align again, properly, we hope.  This particular positioning of the pastern in a misaligned, forward position is called by the layperson, “broken back”  Vets will describe it in detailed terms too complicated for this article.

The ideas for this article came from my reading a great article at the following company  The Virginia Equine Imaging  Take a look at their website.  They have great articles about horses and taking care of them

Do you like riding?  Do you own a horse or want to?  I wrote this blog post about my horse Odin, because maybe it will help someone else prevent the pain we have experienced, if they know to take X-rays of all four of your horses feet before you buy him or her.  It will save you a lot of emotional pain.


Horses are one of my passions.  I get paid to write about my passions.  If you would like to learn how to write about your passions in life and get paid to do so, first know that you will need to learn some new things.  There will be an expense, just like in any business.  Click Here To Learn What I Use to earn a living online.  Your Last Job Ever will be to learn how to run an effective, efficient business in the network marketing, affiliate marketing, public speaking or authority figure niche.  Or, you may be someone with an idea for a product, but you do not know how to monetize and launch your product, all while having a life you love!  Your results will vary.  To see average earnings click here http://yourlastjobever/income



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