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Advice re long reining /driving & navicular


Well-Known Member
21 May 2010
You may have read some of my other posts, my mare (14) was diagnosed with navicular syndrome last July. Plus arthritis.:(
Vet gave her corticosteroid injections into the joint initiamlly, then I gave her a course of adequan.
she is also on equine answers premierflex plus.
She has been barefoot for 2 1/2 years, since being with me, and despite the vets advice to shoe her for the navi, my farrier advised me not to, he is a good farrier.
She became no longer lame, we have got her frogs weight bearing, nice hooves soles & frogs. so I have been back riding her since september ish (only walk mainly).
However two weeks ago she became lame again, but only when ridden, -not in walk or trot in hand- (by anyone-even my daughter who is only 45 kgs!) I thought the extra weight of me was putting more pressure on her leg, so asked daughter to ride her, but she was still slightly lame (though not as much as when I rode her).
I need to keep her moving for the arthritis, and have been walking out in hand, as I don't want to ride and make it worse.
I know navi could take a long time to 'recover' from, and she may never be totally right. However I don't want her to be a field ornament.

I have started long reining her (on quiet roads in walk). I think she's done it before, and wouldn't be surprised if she has also driven (I was told she was previously in a tourist centre). However, I have never long reined or driven before. She didn't mind any of the tack. Had to take a long whip though as she kept eating grass on the verges without it!
so far we've only gone down a straight lane, then turned round at the end and come back, so not done any other manoeuvres!
will keep taking her out to practice this.

My question is what does anyone think about maybe eventually trying to teach her to drive a small cart?
would this be too much for her 'navicular'? (I would only walk her with occasional trot.)

Unless anything miraculous happens, and maya becomes not lame in the future, it doesn't look as though I will be able to ride her again :(

I need to find something for her & me to do that is more interesting than walking out in hand.
I don't have a school or an area either I could lunge or school her either. The lanes where I live are very quiet, so I don't feel bad taking her out down them.

Also if this is not possible, would I be advised to put her in foal (she's an irish cob), not sure if she's foaled before either as I don't know her history.
I only have a small amount of land, but have a shelter & stable.

any advice appreciated, as this is a learning curve for me, after having a 25 year break from horses!


Well-Known Member
30 January 2011
What about teaching her tricks or horse agility or other groundwork? I have a lot of fun doing parelli online and liberty with my mare when we're not riding. I fully appreciate that it's not to everyone's taste - I'm just throwing out suggestions of some fun things to do on the ground. Also whether or not you are into parelli it is worth having a look at some of the online and liberty audition videos for ideas to incorporate into your own groundwork your way whether traditional or natural.

I would take advice from your vet on breeding, but my feeling is no. Someone I know had a navi mare and was advised not to breed from her as the additional weight she would gain during pregnancy would cause her pain. The vet also felt in that case that the navicular was caused by poor conformation and could therefore be passed on - I don't know if the same would be the case for your horse or not as you haven't said in your OP. However, as you have said that riding her causes her pain that suggests that pregnancy could be a no go. Sorry - you'll just have to think up even more fun groundwork instead.