Skylla Update

AlexHyde

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I thought this might be an interesting thread for anyone with a less than typical equine :). Plus Topaz had an update not long ago so it should be the little grey ones turn!

Since moving yards Skylla has determined that this was a bad idea and she apparently doesn't like change just one little bit :rolleyes:... She became spooky, nappy again and unbelievably anxious in certain situations. I sorted out the stabling and field so she deemed it suitable (privacy screens helped loads), I also started her on ulcer medication asap (Abler are very good!), and booked her in to be scoped. First scope showed a couple of grade one glandular ulcers, which fit in with a stress=ulcer response and the fact I had (naughty) started her on medication already.

Now when we were at the vets they also did a small work up/ gait analysis where the vet declared her bi-laterally lame behind :eek::eek::eek:, hadn't seen it coming as I was only there for the scoping! After I'd come down off the ceiling and politely refused to go straight into medicating the joints of a 7 year old, I suggested that she was tense (starved and in a new place), in pain (ulcers) and weak behind due to her conformation and she is getting stronger all the time, so maybe I should treat her ulcers first and she was anyway already booked in to the Equine Veterinary Wellness Clinic...

Treatment going very well for the ulcers and normal chilled out behaviour re-instated we went off to see Angela Holland. I explained about the move, ulcers, scoping and lameness diagnosis and told Angela to see what she thinks would be a good starting point in going forwards (we both agreed there are things that can be done before injecting joints). Angela assessed her by trot up, lunging and a physical examination. Agreed she is weak, not using her core efficiently and didn't seem to believe in using her back as a flexible body part... She then adjusted her, looked at her movement again and the difference was amazing, so we came home with a work programme to follow (Equiband for posture and core strength, plus stretches and in-hand work for mobility).

As I might do this a diary thread here is a before picture, with the camped out stance behind that was one of the reasons that had caused me to book in with Angela in the first place:


We are two weeks in now and from the first ride the difference was incredible, she feels more balanced, even in the hand and relaxed over the back. So we are to continue and see how she goes, she will either continue to improve (and potentially need a couple more minor adjustments to maintain her) or start to struggle again and then we can look at investigating to see if there are any issues going on that need more clinical help.

Skylla after treatment, she is now consistently standing better which is pretty cool :cool::


I feel slightly concerned to 'ignore' one vet for another, but I feel equally strongly that steroid injections should not be the first treatment offered when surely there must be other steps you can take first. I'm happy to see if bio-mechanically we can adjust how she moves and holds herself to try to help her use herself better and improve performance that way.

She has been re-scoped and is now clear of ulcers, and is so sensitive I'm pretty sure I will know if they come back (she is not subtle about it lol), so fingers crossed we can build her up and have a happy useful horse that's not quite so weird behind!
 

Pinkvboots

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It sounds very positive physio can do such amazing things especially the rehab stuff they give you, one of my horses went lame at 5 and the saddle made his back sore, his whole body posture changed and we had loads of physio with pole work stretches and getting him to lift his back properly, it took time but he looked so much better for it and his ridden work really came on.

I hope she continues to get stronger she definitely looks better in the last picture.
 

AShetlandBitMeOnce

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It would be very interesting to follow the journey you are embarking on, so please do keep on updating.
I certainly think you are doing the right thing, it's makes more sense to me to start at the bottom with the least 'harsh' treatment and escalate it if need be, than to go straight in with steroid injections and then should they not have the desired effect, you have nowhere to go.

Good luck with it all OP.
 

Wheels

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she is looking so much better and happier in the second photo

I would be very interested in a progress diary and photo updates.

What kind of exercises are you doing with her at the minute?
 

Tiddlypom

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Very interesting, thanks for posting.

As I’m sure you’re aware, Angela isn’t anti joint injections per se. She recently recommended that my wonky (PSSM/PPID/bilateral hock arthritis) mare has her SI joint medicated as it is sore and tight. This has now been done by my regular vet, and Angela will be back soon to treat my mare again to try and get more mobility in it.

Vets and chiro vets working together in the best interest of the horse - great stuff.

ETA I had an Equiband which I bought new but was languishing in its packet - Angela showed me how to fit it and it will be part of the on going rehab process from now on!
 

Bernster

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Wow that’s interesting. Good luck with that. I suspect it’s partly the angle but she does look weak behind in that first pic and not what you’d be expecting for her level and workload etc. Fingers crossed.

It’s so hard though if they are weaker or wonky, as imo sometimes unlevel doesn’t equal lame in need of treatment. Sometimes it can be strength and schooling instead.
 

milliepops

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She does look more comfortable in your "after" photo :) Her stance before was quite noticeable but I wondered if it was just the way she was made. But it sounds like you are definitely on the right path, no point in going off on 10 million tangents right at the start and the feedback you get from the horse herself will tell you if you need to change direction anyway. Fingers crossed for a positive 2nd half of the year :D
 

AlexHyde

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It sounds very positive physio can do such amazing things especially the rehab stuff they give you, one of my horses went lame at 5 and the saddle made his back sore, his whole body posture changed and we had loads of physio with pole work stretches and getting him to lift his back properly, it took time but he looked so much better for it and his ridden work really came on.

I hope she continues to get stronger she definitely looks better in the last picture.
I've used physio loads over the years but never had an outcome as good as this, Angela is a Chiropractor and it seems for my horses the best approach I've used so far. every horse is different though and physio's definitely have their role too. It's quite amazing how quickly she has changed her posture, so fingers crossed I can keep her on the right track now!

It would be very interesting to follow the journey you are embarking on, so please do keep on updating.
I certainly think you are doing the right thing, it's makes more sense to me to start at the bottom with the least 'harsh' treatment and escalate it if need be, than to go straight in with steroid injections and then should they not have the desired effect, you have nowhere to go.

Good luck with it all OP.
This was my thought, joint injections are the end point for a lot of horses and she's only 7 and not a full on competition horse so I'm happy to spend some time doing more holistic things first! Plus Skylla is so sensitive if she was really 'lame' behind I think she'd have let me know by now lol.

she is looking so much better and happier in the second photo

I would be very interested in a progress diary and photo updates.

What kind of exercises are you doing with her at the minute?
I think photo's will be quite telling with showing how she builds up over time, well hopefully!

She does 10 mins per day in the Equiband over poles in walk, then whatever ridden work I'm doing if it's a ridden day. The idea being to get her to use herself correctly, maintain it without the Equiband on but not let her get too tired and revert to what is 'easier' for her. She also has stretches and I ask her to back up with her poll level with her withers to encourage correct movement.

Very interesting, thanks for posting.

As I’m sure you’re aware, Angela isn’t anti joint injections per se. She recently recommended that my wonky (PSSM/PPID/bilateral hock arthritis) mare has her SI joint medicated as it is sore and tight. This has now been done by my regular vet, and Angela will be back soon to treat my mare again to try and get more mobility in it.

Vets and chiro vets working together in the best interest of the horse - great stuff.

ETA I had an Equiband which I bought new but was languishing in its packet - Angela showed me how to fit it and it will be part of the on going rehab process from now on!
I hopefully made that clear in the OP that both of us are definitely not anti-injections, and they are very useful things, just maybe not as the first port of call in a young horse. Having the right team to get your horse back on the right track is so important! Hope your mare continues to improve, the Equiband is an excellent bit of kit just wish it had been a touch cheaper!
 

AlexHyde

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Wow that’s interesting. Good luck with that. I suspect it’s partly the angle but she does look weak behind in that first pic and not what you’d be expecting for her level and workload etc. Fingers crossed.

It’s so hard though if they are weaker or wonky, as imo sometimes unlevel doesn’t equal lame in need of treatment. Sometimes it can be strength and schooling instead.
She is very weak behind compared to other horses, however so was Topaz at her age and in our ignorance at the time Topaz just got worked until she improved... Not the done thing now I gather ;):p. Skylla has been following the same pattern as Topaz so I wasn't concerned until I was told she was bi-laterally lame and that was why she was so weak, however I still think it's just how she's built and it's just taking her longer than other horses just like Topaz did. Not a great picture but Topaz at 6:

So we shall see how she goes, I'm more than happy to investigate but my gut feeling is she just needs time.

She does look more comfortable in your "after" photo :) Her stance before was quite noticeable but I wondered if it was just the way she was made. But it sounds like you are definitely on the right path, no point in going off on 10 million tangents right at the start and the feedback you get from the horse herself will tell you if you need to change direction anyway. Fingers crossed for a positive 2nd half of the year :D
I have always put her stance with just how she was, and to some degree it was, her conformation led her to move and develop so she used her hamstrings more than her gluts so to rest she will stand camped out to rest her hamstrings I guess. Now we've unlocked her SI and back and encouraged her to use her core and bum she's not seeming to need to stand so camped out.

Fingers crossed for the second half of the year, she can take as long as she likes and she is very loud at telling me when there's a problem somewhere!
 

Tiddlypom

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I hopefully made that clear in the OP that both of us are definitely not anti-injections, and they are very useful things, just maybe not as the first port of call in a young horse. Having the right team to get your horse back on the right track is so important!
Sorry, yes, you had, I was just adding my two pennorth about when she has recommended joint injections as being in the best interest of my horse. She will refer back to the regular vet if she think something needs more investigation by conventional means.

I agree completely that getting the right team together is so important. Also, that the Equiband is eye wateringly expensive, eek.
 

Pinkvboots

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I think in general physio, chiro and osteo all have there uses I have used all of the above you just have to go with what works for your horse.
 

AlexHyde

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Sorry, yes, you had, I was just adding my two pennorth about when she has recommended joint injections as being in the best interest of my horse. She will refer back to the regular vet if she think something needs more investigation by conventional means.

I agree completely that getting the right team together is so important. Also, that the Equiband is eye wateringly expensive, eek.
Oh of course just didn’t want anyone to think I was putting words in her mouth 🙈.

I think I need to get a second job, they’re determined to spend my entire pay check lol.

I think in general physio, chiro and osteo all have there uses I have used all of the above you just have to go with what works for your horse.
100%, I’ve seen physio been amazing for some horses, but Angela feels like the missing link for mine ☺️
 

Northern

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Really interesting, I am going through something similar with my TB mare, who is also quite weak behind. Vet has declared her sound enough to start working her (alternative is xraying every single joint behind...) and I am about to crack on and start building her up. Interesting to see what happens! Will be following Skyllas progress with interest :D
 

AlexHyde

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Really interesting, I am going through something similar with my TB mare, who is also quite weak behind. Vet has declared her sound enough to start working her (alternative is xraying every single joint behind...) and I am about to crack on and start building her up. Interesting to see what happens! Will be following Skyllas progress with interest :D
Will keep my fingers crossed for your mare! Skylla is interesting as she has always been (from a 2 year old) this sort of shape, much stronger in front and not as big behind. I'm sure if I did investigate every joint at the back I would find 'something', but I really think, looking at the big picture she actually just needs time much like Topaz did, and some core focused work...

Will be really interesting to see her progress - thanks for sharing
Happy to oblige :), I got my dates wrong so we're 10 days in now, this was last night and as she's brought her hind end more underneath I will now shorten the Equiband round her bum!

 

ycbm

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I've been watching your progress with Skylla with interest for years because of her unconventional shape. As you say, she has always had a front end so much bigger than the back. But your latest pictures are far and away the best she has ever looked, and seem to me to be huge progress. Your slow and steady approach seems spot on to me.
 

SEL

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I'll be interested to follow your diary. My mare with less than perfect shape has pretty much been written off by the vets due to hind end lameness. She's just turned 9. I did have her hocks injected based on x-rays but hasn't helped and now indications are its SI. We'll probably try and scan but no point right now as risk of laminitis is too high if it needs injecting.

When I was regularly using the Equiami she was much better. Stopped when she tweaked the suspensory being silly and I think without work the 'good' muscles weakened. PSSM didn't help I imagine either.

I avoided injecting the hocks for 2 years and I'm not entirely sure that was the right call. Maybe if I'd done them earlier it would have reduced the stress elsewhere. Not sure - but if you feel her get to a level where she doesn't keep improving then don't rule them out.
 

AlexHyde

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I've been watching your progress with Skylla with interest for years because of her unconventional shape. As you say, she has always had a front end so much bigger than the back. But your latest pictures are far and away the best she has ever looked, and seem to me to be huge progress. Your slow and steady approach seems spot on to me.
Thank you, yeah it’s always seemed the right approach for her and it worked for Topaz, so fingers crossed there isn’t anything sinister going on 🤞. She feels much better after the move and getting her hacking round the hills here, so I hope this year we should see slightly faster progress.


I'll be interested to follow your diary. My mare with less than perfect shape has pretty much been written off by the vets due to hind end lameness. She's just turned 9. I did have her hocks injected based on x-rays but hasn't helped and now indications are its SI. We'll probably try and scan but no point right now as risk of laminitis is too high if it needs injecting.

When I was regularly using the Equiami she was much better. Stopped when she tweaked the suspensory being silly and I think without work the 'good' muscles weakened. PSSM didn't help I imagine either.

I avoided injecting the hocks for 2 years and I'm not entirely sure that was the right call. Maybe if I'd done them earlier it would have reduced the stress elsewhere. Not sure - but if you feel her get to a level where she doesn't keep improving then don't rule them out.
Rubbish to have so many issues going on, makes it so much harder! It makes sense that everything needs to be working well to keep the balance. Definitely won’t rule out injections at all, if she needs them she’ll get them ☺️.
 

Ambers Echo

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Really interesting update. Hope the treatments work well and injections aren't necessary. I always prefer horses who are unsubtle about telling you they have an issue!
 

Tiddlypom

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As a matter of curiousity, which areas did Angela manipulate on Skylla that have made her so much more comfortable?

Heading niggles off early can really help prolong the sound life of a horse. We’ll never know, but Tammy’s bilateral hock arthritis could have been triggered if she was moving crookedly to avoid the discomfort of her PSSM. Her musculature was (still is) very asymmetric. There is an old saying ‘lameness leads to lameness’ which makes sense. If a horse moves wonkily to avoid pain in one area, it puts pressure on other areas which can then react adversely, such as the hocks and the SI joint.

Having a good body worker helping to keep a horse niggle free and happy in its work is invaluable :).
 

AlexHyde

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Really interesting update. Hope the treatments work well and injections aren't necessary. I always prefer horses who are unsubtle about telling you they have an issue!
Lol Skylla is loud and proud at saying "nope, don't like it", which is fine with a pain issue, less fine when she just doesn't fancy doing as she's told :p:rolleyes:.

As a matter of curiousity, which areas did Angela manipulate on Skylla that have made her so much more comfortable?

Heading niggles off early can really help prolong the sound life of a horse. We’ll never know, but Tammy’s bilateral hock arthritis could have been triggered if she was moving crookedly to avoid the discomfort of her PSSM. Her musculature was (still is) very asymmetric. There is an old saying ‘lameness leads to lameness’ which makes sense. If a horse moves wonkily to avoid pain in one area, it puts pressure on other areas which can then react adversely, such as the hocks and the SI joint.

Having a good body worker helping to keep a horse niggle free and happy in its work is invaluable :).
She focused over the lumbar and SI area and also adjust her Hyoid area, I think releasing her back and SI area has meant she can bring her hind end under more and the Equiband encourages her to continue to keep this posture.

'lameness leads to lameness' makes loads of sense and definitely what I'm trying to avoid, I think if Skylla wasn't corrected (either just through work, or now by using Chiropracty) then something would give as the way she wants to move puts extra strain on various parts.
 

SEL

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Heading niggles off early can really help prolong the sound life of a horse. We’ll never know, but Tammy’s bilateral hock arthritis could have been triggered if she was moving crookedly to avoid the discomfort of her PSSM. Her musculature was (still is) very asymmetric.
Interesting. Vets aren't convinced but I suspect PSSM is behind the juvenile arthritis in mine. She may well just be unlucky but no way should a horse of her age be presenting with the joints of an OAP!
 

milliepops

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She looks more horse shaped and is starting to develop her bum, I think a visit to my saddle fitter will be in order before too much longer!
haha, was just thinking before i read to the bottom of your post... i reckon your saddle might not be balanced correctly soon ;)
She is def looking less like a ski jump.
 

AlexHyde

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haha, was just thinking before i read to the bottom of your post... i reckon your saddle might not be balanced correctly soon ;)
She is def looking less like a ski jump.
Haha definite improvement! This is her from 2017 :oops:

Hidden by tack but she literally has no bum at all here!
 

ycbm

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Day 14, going well I think she looks stronger:

She looks more horse shaped and is starting to develop her bum, I think a visit to my saddle fitter will be in order before too much longer!

This is beginning to look like you're putting up photos of a different horse, the change is so great and so quick!

You must be thrilled.
 

AlexHyde

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This is beginning to look like you're putting up photos of a different horse, the change is so great and so quick!

You must be thrilled.
Lol not that again! Promise it’s the same little horse!

I think the change is fast too, just goes to show with young horses, given the right feed and training progress can happen 🤷🏼‍♀️.
 

ycbm

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I wasn't trying to suggest you were, I hope you didn't think that? It's just so fantastic. I'm hoping the bilateral lameness diagnosis from your vet is just a big mistake, it looks like it.

.
 

AlexHyde

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I wasn't trying to suggest you were, I hope you didn't think that? It's just so fantastic. I'm hoping the bilateral lameness diagnosis from your vet is just a big mistake, it looks like it.

.
Sorry I definitely missed an emoji out there! I didn't think you were really thinking that at all, there was just a thread a while ago where a poster did accuse me of putting up pictures of different horses and trying to pass them all off as Skylla lol.

Me too, keeping everything crossed that she was just weak rather than lame!
 
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