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"Knuckle-cracking" sounds

From: Rita Creitz

Good morning, Jessica!

I'm not sure what's going on with Ms. Daisy--and I have an appt w/ the vet next Saturday, but I thought I'd run this by you to see if you've heard of such a thing.

Here's the "thing": When I ride Daisy at the trot, I hear this cracking sound coming from behind. I've had several people watch her, including my trainer, who said that the noise is not coming from her forging/striking her front hooves. I was told that some QH have a double-joint, so that what I'm hearing is her joint cracking. She doesn't seem to be bothered by it, and I have no difficulty moving her forward. And, after she gets warmed up, the cracking lessens considerably and sometimes stops completely. However, since this is a recent development, it concerns me. She did have a little sprain a week or so ago (with a little swelling in her left hind that developed a couple of days AFTER the apparent sprain) and I didn't ride her for a week. It was odd, though, that even with the swelling, she didn't limp at all at the walk. Then I jogged her, and she still didn't limp. The swelling is all gone now. I notice the cracking only when I ride her.

Have you ever heard of this double-jointed cracking business or any ideas of other things I could look for before the vet comes out? Is this worth a vet- check or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?


Rita :-)

P.S. She's shod on the front and is overdue for new shoes, so I don't know if that may be contributing. Could shoeing all around help? The farrier is coming on Tuesday, and I'll talk to him as well about this.

Hi Rita!

It's definitely worth having the vet out to check on your mare. Don't be too surprised if he gets a laugh from the "double-jointed" theory, though -- it's not something you should take seriously.

Your trainer is probably right -- the noise of a hoof striking a hoof makes more of a tapping or clacking sound. I'm not sure that I would shoe her all around -- ask your vet what he suggests, but with winter coming, it might be a good time to pull ALL the shoes and let the mare go barefoot for a few months.

Often, the kind of noise you're describing comes from the horse's stifles - - specifically from the patella and the patellar ligaments. Upward fixation of the patella can be a cause of "clicking" or "popping" sounds, as there will be a noise each time the patella is released. Your vet can check for this, and tell you more about it.

Fetlocks can be another source of "clicking" or "popping" sounds -- but again, what you really need here is a veterinarian who will stand and watch and listen while you put Daisy through her paces.

Some young horses seem to go through a stage when they make "popping" or "clicking" sounds, generally when they haven't yet achieved full growth and solid musculature. When they fill out, the sounds go away. I've noticed the same thing, on occasion, with an adult horse that's been off work for some time and is put back into training.

Have the vet out, talk it over with him, find out what he thinks -- he's going to be your best source of information, and he'll give you the best advice on the matter. And don't worry that you're over-reacting -- if there's no problem and nothing to worry about, you won't have to listen to any bizarre suggestions. And if there IS something that needs veterinary attention, you'll be glad you made the appointment.

Let me know what happens, please.


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