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Re: RC: Michigan-don't knock it til ya try it

In a message dated 2/17/00 6:04:09 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

<<  if her response...right correct, I was wrong.  I thought it was 
 the right front.  Couldn't it be the right front though?  If a horse's head 
 is down on the left, it would be up on the right.... >>

Actually, Renee, from the verbal description, it could be either one.  When 
the "test question" does not give you the information that you could see on 
your own observation, the best you can do is form a "rule out" list, and both 
RF and RH would have to be on the list from the incomplete verbal 
description.  If it is the RH, the head will dip when the LF strikes at the 
trot to compensate and shift weight forward.  (Interesting concept--that 
weight can be shifted from one end to the other in the dynamic 
horse--especially since we were told by the very same tester that this 
couldn't happen to compensate for terrain...hmmm...but the very act of 
dipping the head is a way of shifting the weight to become more 
comfortable...)  If the pathology is in the RF, the head will also "appear" 
to dip when the LF strikes, although in reality the horse is putting his head 
UP when the sore RF strikes, so the "down" posture is relative.  Again, the 
horse is shifting weight to ease the painful limb.

Given the history, one would tend to think of a cramp--or actually a tie-up.  
I had the lesson driven home to me at a ride one time, though, that one NEVER 
assumes the obvious without confirming with a good exam.  My ex-husband's 
horse developed a very similar scenario at a ride--lame on a hind limb after 
a rest and no warm up--and the ride vet just said "He's tied up--you're out!" 
 Well, the horse likely did not deserve to go on, but the problem was the 
beginning of a plantar ligament injury--and the horse "warmed out" of it, 
went sound (did not go on on the ride), and continued sound for 6 more weeks 
with only one "off" incident before the thing finally got sore enough again 
to diagnose accurately...  I went on to complete the ride, and since the 
horse was sound when I got back to camp, I couldn't find the problem.  We 
could have saved the horse 6 more weeks and further injury if the vet had 
LOOKED at the horse when he was actually sore, instead of making the 
assumption that the problem was the most likely thing that it "appeared" to 


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