Having a horse with many issues is both heartbreaking and enlightening. Many athletic, healthy horses or extremely good natured, laid back ones put up with huge amount of training and management abuse without batting an eyelid. Now, if you have a horse with a plethora of problems who is unable to move in correct movement sequence when badly shod, when having side reins fitted, when saddle sits not quite where it should do, when you don’t sit straight…consider yourself lucky.
Horse with physical issues that are not a lameness and that eight different vets feels helpless in identifying opens your eyes so wide they never squint again. Even better, you start seeing a miniature version of those issues in horses that have no problems as such with their bodies but that are trying their best to communicate an issue without exposing themselves to danger…
One vet a few years ago told me that it’s interesting that we rarely see horses that “complain” upon a small physical discomfort like a person would. They get on with it, they adapt their way of going, way of holding their bodies so that whatever discomfort they feel is minimised. It’s a nature of a pray animal not to show its weaknesses and instincts often override thousands of years of domestication.
Over time they strain more and more structures until it’s no longer possible for them to hide the fact that something is “off”. By the time this happens though, the intricate patterns of compensations have become like a labyrinth with many twists and turns and it takes thorough veterinary examination to find the real centre where it all started and where the treatment will be the most successful.