Why would a horse dislike going downhill?

Orangehorse

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My horse is 18 now and in good health. One ride we go on has quite a steep downhill, and back up again!

He always seems very reluctant to go down and I wonder what part of his anatomy might becoming a problem. This morning he actually stopped at the top of the hill which he has never done before, but after a bit of encouragement he went down, although slowly, stepped onto the verge about 2/3 down and walked down quite nicely then. He is fine coming back up no problem at all, although I don't force the pace. He trots up to about 1/3 up and then I let him walk the rest.

1. Feet? He is exactly the same whether barefoot, hoof boots or metal shoes (has been barefoot/boots, recently re-shod).

2. Saddle. I wondered if the saddle was pressing into his shoulders, so had a fitter look at it. It was OK but as his back did look very slightly "dippy" behind the withers, added a prolite (memory foam) pad, which has worked very well and his back looks like normal again, no dippyness after about 12 months of use.

3. So could it be hocks, knees, shoulders? Any bright ideas? Oviously it it gets worse I will get the vet.
 

SullivanB

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could be elbow arthritis, there often appears to be a double elbow moventent going downhill. best bet is to get your vet out though
 

HashRouge

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Definitely speak to your vet. It could be one of a number of things - in my sister's horse the cause was bone spavin (hocks), in my mare it was sacroiliac pain, in another horse I know it is navicular. It might be none of those things. But given your horse is older, a touch of arthritis somewhere wouldn't surprise me at all.
 

Equi

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My old loan was ever so slightly reluctant down hill. Eventually after spending 10000s on tests (saddler, vets, back people, hoof people etc etc) he had navicular.
 

ihatework

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It could be a variety of things.
I'd be getting a good vet check done.
Given the age my money would be some arthritis somewhere
 

Silmarillion

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It could be a variety of things.
I'd be getting a good vet check done.
Given the age my money would be some arthritis somewhere

This. Both of mine dislike steep hills. One is 10 has an old sacroiliac injury, the other is 20 and almost certainly has arthritic hocks (never investigated as he only hacks and we avoid making him uncomfortable). The 10 year old actually refuses to go down one particular hill near home, it's really really steep and we just avoid it. They're happy enough about most hills just not really steep ones.
 

FfionWinnie

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Could be so many things it would be hard to pin it down without a veterinary work up. Symptomatic PSSM horses struggle going downhill too as the muscles must be more painful in that position.

Second opinion on saddle would also be a good idea.
 

BailingTwine

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Hi. I had exactly the same problem with my cob. He was also 18 when he started disliking going downhill. He was very very forward but when there was a hill started slowing down. Anyway, it turned out he had arthritis in both front feet. He had a course of Cartrophen and was back to normal within a few weeks.
 

Archiepoo

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my horse was reluctant to go downhill before he was diagnosed with ulcers -it was a very gradual change . now hes fixed he will go downhill again quite happily
 

Izzwizz

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More than likely arthritis somewhere. As others have said get your Vet to check your horse out. My older mare is 21 and has a daily bute, this helps her no end. Younger gelding at 15 has just starting having a daily bute as arthritis has been diagnosed in 1 hock and front opposite pastern. He came from Ireland and had tough beginnings which seem to have now caught up with him .
 

catembi

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Mine wouldn't go down a steep hill & turned out to have KS. He is 10 months post surgery, but we haven't tried that hill again, so I can't say whether the surgery has fixed the problem or not... He also had ulcers.

T x
 

teddypops

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My old pony has arthritic hocks, he's not keen on going down hills. Also a friends horse had a bad back and she really struggled going downhill.
 

poiuytrewq

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So many ideas!
Mine dislikes going downhill and I can agree with a variety of the above, which is no help to you!
I was going to say navicular as that would be the obvious to me but think it needs a vet opinion really.
 

PolarSkye

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Well - the sheer number of possible issues should be a clue - it could be anything - get the vet out. I know you posted looking for reassurance and ideas . . . but no'one who has given you a possible answer is a) a qualified vet; or b) in the privileged position of having examined your horse.

I hope you figure it out :).

P
 

katherine1975

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I had a horse who became reluctant to walk downhill, she was found to have coffin joint arthritis and side bone. My other horse was reluctant to go down hill when her saddle became too tight. As others have said get the vet to check, it could be almost anything!
 

eggs

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My old loan was ever so slightly reluctant down hill. Eventually after spending 10000s on tests (saddler, vets, back people, hoof people etc etc) he had navicular.

Ditto this. The first sign with my horse was a reluctance to go downhill and he would try and 'crab' his way down.
 

AdorableAlice

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Not a rediculous comment at all, the neck is out of alignment, pinching the nerves that travel to the front legs. I'm sure you will have heard people referring to their back/neck being out!

I have, and anyone who thinks the skeleton of a horse can be manipulated needs to think again. Certainly massage, exercise and stretching can ease muscle pain and the hi tech machines now available in equine hospitals, can identify nerve and ligament issues, but anyone who tells you they have put the back or neck 'back in place' is in fantasy land.
 

SusieT

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If he is actively stopping it is time to suck it up and pay the vet to assess him - if you were sore going down hill you wouldn't be happy to ignore it - he may need a bit of pain relief or lighter work.
 
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