Worried about my horse...


10 Years
Jan 14, 2010
So about a month ago my horse went dead lame on her front leg. I mean the putting almost no weight on it kind of lame. I had the vet come out and x-ray it, and he told me it was broken, but it was not a weight-bearing break, and that it *should* heal on stall rest. So she has been on stall rest for a month now, and I decided to pick up her feet today (I check them once a week as the vet said I could) to make sure she was not getting any thrush. When I reached for her bad leg she half-reared, jumped back, and stood trembling, with her leg stuck straight out in front of her. Now it seems like she is back to square one!!! I am really concerned that I am putting her through 3 months of stall rest and then the bone will still not heal. She is 24 years old, and it would absolutely kill me to lose her right now.

Any thoughts? Should I keep waiting and hoping? I hate to see her in pain and so unhappy at stall rest, but I want to give her a chance if there is one.
Is she retired? When she's not on stall rest how big is her run? Does she share it with any other horses?

Do you have copies of the x-rays? What bone is broken? Is it an actual fracture? Has she been on anything during this time? Bute? BL Pellets?
She is a pleasure horse, but I have only had time to ride her 1-2 times a week at a walk for the last year. She has had some arthritis issues in the past, so she has been on a Glucosamine and MSM supplement and BL pellets for two years and has done well on it. The vet does not want to give her bute because he does not want her moving around too much. When she is not on stall rest, she shares a paddock with two other horses. I'm not sure how large it is, (I'm a terrible judge) but it's not overly large. I am trying to get a copy of the x-rays. I believe it is an accessory carpal fracture.
Only you can decide what you want to put your horse thru and how she is handling the fracture. As Im sure you know, she is at risk for laminitis in the other front foot. Is the fracture displaced? Ive had horses with fractures (non-displaced) and they healed just fine in the stall, but also were not in obvious pain. You may need another x ray to make sure she hasnt reinjured herself. A reaction like that is rather severe.
I would certainly be asking for a recheck at this point to see where you're at and make a decision from there.

What is her diet currently? That can make a big difference in her demeanor and ability to tolerate stall rest.

As halo pointed out there are a host of other problems that can potentially flare up in the opposite foot, not the least of which is laminitis. Because she reared when you tried to pick up her broken foot I would suspect the pain that caused her reaction may actually be in the opposite foot (when you pick up the broken foot she has to put her weight on the opposite side). When the vet comes out to check her break be sure to have him do a full workup on the other leg and hoof as well.
Yes, I agree. Her reaction seemed very extreme to me. I hadn't even thought about the *other* foot being affected,
. Oh dear. She is only fed grass hay. She is a quarter horse and is a very easy keeper, so I'm careful to keep her at a healthy weight. The only grain she gets is the little bit of senior feed to mix with her supplement. She has never been confined like this in her life, and she is not a happy camper!
One thing you can do to help the other leg, is wrap it, both if she will let you. This will support the other leg since she is likely putting more weight on it. Definitely get a second opinion or at least another x ray. I had a horse with a fractured stifle, the University recommendation to the original owner was to lock him up for 6-8 months, they turned him out in a 100 acre pasture and it got worse. When I got him not only was the stifle involved but it also affected his hock in the good leg, because of how he walked. I locked him up and used a supplement called Equine Leg Magic, I had x rays taken and my vet pretty much told me I had a Large Yard Ornament, he had 2 OCD lesions, one on the stifle and one on the hock. I did wrap all four legs for support, but he stayed in a stall for 6 months and then started on very limited turnout, I had x rays taken again and he was completely healed, no lesions nothing.

If you want to try the supplement you can email Kay at equinelegmagic @ aol.com , she has a website just google Equine Leg Magic . Kay is a DR and worked for the University of Florida and is an avid Horsewoman.
It sounds like she was holding the injured leg *up* after she refused to let you touch it? That woudl make supporting-leg laminitis seem less likely. (Feel that hoof and ankle if possible, though, for excessive heat or bounding pulse)

Definitely have the vet out ASAP. It is not impossible that it's some coincidental thing like a hoof abscess; but certainly it is possible that she has reinjured the bone and you would for sure want to know that. I have no experience with accessory carpal bone fractures (never even heard of a case) so I dunno anything bout prognosis.

Best of luck,

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Several years ago my horse suffered a fractured stifle. He was about 18 at the time. He was on stall rest for two months, and daily Bute. The way I see it, at that age I'm not all that concerned about the long-term effects of Bute. He recovered well enough to be a "lawn ornament." I would ride him at a walk occasionally, and we would go for long hand-walks. He coasted along for another two years before his tendons started to drop. I cold hosed him daily. One day, he couldn't back into the wash stall. His lips and eyes were drawn and wrinkled. He was obviously in pain. He had a double dose of Bute that evening. The following late August morning, with the dew still wet on the grass, I groomed him for the last time before he was put down. I scissored off his tail, which I keep coiled in a shadow box, and had him cremated. His cremains are buried in the woods behind our house, with my dog and cat to keep him company and a brass horse head nailed to a tree to mark the spot.

I wrote all of that simply to say that you know when it's time.
(IMO) If you feel your horse of twentyfour years is in pain and not acting right, you need to get the vet back out there, or get a second opinion. If it were my horse and has been stalled for a month and still seemed to be in that much pain I would get a second opinion. Good luck, I hope you can get her feeling better.

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