Last night when I was getting Kat out and ready to drive, I ran my hand down his leg as the signal to lift his hoof so I could clean it out. Right below his right knee on the inside of his leg was a hard lump. It is not very big, but it is there. It almost feels like splint, but things are not adding up.
He seemed like he may be a little off or even gimpy on that leg in Paulden, but lunging him he worked hard and looked fine. I worked him last weekend and again, he looked fine, moved fine and when I was grooming him before harnessing up, there was nothing there. Now all of a sudden it IS there. But then there is no heat, he is not sore or off and the thing is rock hard.
I remember treating a splint on a young horse- long ago, far away, waaaay back in the day some 20 odd years ago. It was a weanling or yearling filly that was destined to be a halter horse. The area was shaved and twice a day I was to use a toothbrush and scrub a mixture of DMSO and furazone onto the splint. I don't remember wrapping it, but you can wrap it with plastic wrap and a stall bandage to sweat it out. Mainly you are trying to reduce any and all inflamation in the ligament between the small bone running down alongside the cannon bone. These used to be the horses other toes when they were Euohippus and the size of a dog.
More information here- Basic splint article or for more in depth look at things- This article from The Horse dot com. Equine Splints: Causes and Cures Sure you have to sign up to read the whole article, but what is there to lose?
Mostly though, it happens more commonly in horses under the age of 4, in heavy work, unprotected legs or working too hard on hard ground. None of which is anything that applies to Kat. Also splints are usually soft at the beginning as they are swollen or inflammed- again, this doesn't seem to apply.
Compare the splint on the buckskin and the chestnut. (I won't even go into any of the other things I see wrong here... Maybe later?)
Coming from barns with BNT's and dealing mostly with halter horses and young horses, I learned early on- ALWAYS wrap the legs. Splint boots were a MUST for pretty much everything and this was long before the SMB's and all the pro-tech rage swept in. GAWD Forbid a horse popped a splint because their days as a halter horse were pretty much Done! Judges look for 'clean', correct legs.
Even our old horses, even for trailering, I have been known to throw on splint boots if nothing else was available. My thought was and still is- Something is better than nothing. In the case of our older mares- if it hasn't happened before now, if it happens now- the boot is not going to do much at this point. It is only going to hold things together if it should all go horribly wrong.
Which leads us back to Kat.
-I have always used boots, polos or something to wrap his legs with. Check.
-He is now 13 years old- well above the age of being a young horse with still growing/forming bones. Check.
-I always run my hand down his legs and rub them before and after applying or removing any leg wraps or boots. Check.
-His legs were 'clean' the last time I worked him. Check!
-When I found the knot last night, I checked for heat, swelling, soreness- nothing, nothing, nothing. Check, check, check.
-It also was not soft as swelling or inflamtion generally is. Check.
-I worked him last night and he was not lame, sore or off at all. If he was, I would not have worked him, period. Check and check.
-I haven't been working him much at all lately, he has had the whole summer off for the most part so no overworking there. Check.
-Hard ground? Um, no! Not good for the legs and feet. If I am going through everything else so thoroughly, why screw up on this? Check.
Which leads me to the question of WTF?
Yes his feet are a touch long and need to be done, but he is not over reaching at the trot which is usually a good indicator for him that he is or is coming due, but he has been long before and over reaching and no issues to date....
The only other thing I can think of is one of the articles mention it being a bone in the lower portion of the knee being chipped or broken. But then again- there would be soreness, heat, likely swelling which would be soft or at least softer... and none of this is present.
I was going to start working him to bring him back into shape for the CDE in Sonoita next month and to also fix some of the things that have gone wrong by letting him have so much time off.. Right now, it is all on hold and shaky ground. I will not take him if he is lame or if things could really blow up and get horribly worse. I won't ruin him for the sake of the game and a ribbon.
I am going to have a look at him tonight and hubs will be looking closely at his legs too. If we are still at the point where nothing makes sense, I will be scheduling an appointment with our vet who specializes in lameness. If anybody knows- he will!