12 yr. old barrel horse begins tying-up

I have a 12yr old barrel horse that is in top condition. I rode him Mon night the 8th of Jan and he just did not seem to be traveling right tords the middle/end of the workout. I rode him about 30 min trotting to warm up and then loping ...I have a 12yr old barrel horse that is in top condition. I rode him Mon night the 8th of Jan and he just did not seem to be traveling right tords the middle/end of the workout. I rode him about 30 min trotting to warm up and then loping ...

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MSUniv. of GA School of Veterinary Medicine

Hello,

Thanks so much for having this page, it really helps out!

I have a 12yr old barrel horse that is in top condition. I rode him Mon night the 8th of Jan and he just did not seem to be traveling right tords the middle/end of the workout. I rode him about 30 min trotting to warm up and then loping around the whole arena. I did ask him to do some bending exercises to loosen him up. But I noticed that he got tighter and tighter feeling as I rode him to the left at a lope. He was also not wanting to tuck and give his nose to the inside. When I went to the right, he was better.

So I thought he was just tight and worked him more to the left. I finally decided to cool him off and trot him on the cement road. When I did, I saw no signs of lameness either way I troted him. I troted him straight and in a circle both ways. So I walked him to the trailer and unsaddled him.

By the time I was ready to load him up, (about 10 min), he did not want to walk. So when I got him to walk off, he would step normal with his right hind, bringing it up under him correctly and then he would brind the left hind up as if he was standing "square" then he would take a big step with the right hind again and so forth. He did not look like he was limping or putting his toe down 1st, just would not step up and bring it under him. After I walked him around a little, it looked like he would walk out of it.

He was much better the next day and feeling really good the day after. So, since he looked so good and was playing some when I walked him, I thought I would try and ride him Fri night the 12 of Jan. He felt really good, tracked good, and I even trotted him around the pattern twice and he felt good. Then when I stoped to put his halter on to switch horses, he walked off lame again just like I explained above. When I got him home, he was stiff again, but walked out of it.

When I put him up in the stall, I watched him a little and he would rest his other leg and put all of his weight on the hurt leg, and he would also roll over his hocks turning to the left like the leg was not hurting him. He just does not want to bring it forward. He does not drag his leg, just picks it up and puts it down as if he was going to "square" up. I was just asking for your help on what I should do and if you think it is serious or should I just give him more time off.

Thanks for your time,
Melanie

Melanie,

I think your horse is tying-up (having equine rhabdomyolysis syndrome) and should be seen by a vet. The typing-up episode will only get worse until he is treated. This disease has the potential to be serious. Have him examined.
Thanks,
Dr. Lowder

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