View Full Version : Stifle Lock

08-10-01, 03:01 AM
hey all, can anybody help me out with some more info on this problem?

if a horse has it, how often does it occur?
can a young horse have it and "grow out of it"?
if it locks, then frees up can you work the horse?
should you even attempt to work the horse if it is a bit suspect?

i know the theory of what causes it i think, ligament catching that prevents the stifle from flexing???? then it slips off and the leg shoots up??? or have i got that completely wrong?

thanks in advance..

eMa (Guest)
08-10-01, 06:59 AM
sorry it is the patella that catches not a ligament... and i take it excersize can strengthen the stifle joint and the problem may indeed disapear with the correct strengthening excersizes :-)

M&M (Guest)
08-10-01, 09:45 AM
I have had a young horse with locking patella/stifle. They can grow out of it - mine has - bothers her more when she is in a growing period. Our vet suggested not to stable - and light exercise (5 -10 mins) lungeing everyday.

chess (Guest)
08-10-01, 03:19 PM
Sorry to be a party pooper but I don't know about going out of it I havn't heard that. We had a pony mare with stifle lock that was supposed to be my new show pony however this condition kind of limited what she could do.
As far as I know it is supposed to be a ligament catching on the patella which stops the leg moving normally. The vet we used at the time recomended operating on it. It is a fairly simple procedure where they just trim the tendon so it grows back in the right spot I think. It worked well for our pony we ended up selling her and she became an excellent alrounder, I have also heard of others who have had horses operated on and it worked out fine.

09-10-01, 03:32 AM
hi eMA

Unless the horse has it bad (ie leg locks completely and needs to be snapped back into postion - usually by scaring the horse into backing up suddenly!), most vets will no longer recommend the medial patellar desmotomy operation (cutting the ligament).

Remy has locking stifle...yes it does limit his flexibility and he can get a bit stiff in the hinds and not come through as much as I'd like.

But the good news, is that it can be managed. Hillwork, elevated trot poles, correct dressage - anything that asks the horse to bring the hocks under is beneficial. Circles can be a bugger, especially small ones (I don't lunge much for that reason).


09-10-01, 03:47 AM
I forgot to add the bad news to my previous post!!

Locking stifle does tend to bring on joint degradation in the affected area so arthritis can be a big issue for the neddy over the medium to long term. :-(

Ali (Guest)
09-10-01, 06:01 AM
There is also an injection that can be used which is said to be very good, best to try this before surgery. The horse has to be fully grown before using this, which can be quite late in some breeds. Exercise to get the horse nce and fit will help most cases to varying degrees.

eMa (Guest)
09-10-01, 08:17 AM
thank you to everyone who responded :-) .. it is not a horse i own, but one of the horses i am training for someone.. i have never owned/ridden a horse with this problem before and was curious as to what i should watch out for..

the first day i went out to ride she almost kicked me in the head when i picked up the hind leg as the stifle stuck and freed up.. then she had problems with it.. it seem to free up after that.. but i did not work her... the next ride there were no problems evident at all.. well not with the back end anyway! hehe

i have done a little bit of reading up on it, and it appears that it can be due to either a ligament problem - either ligament too short/tight, or from an inflamed ligament... OR from a weekness in teh hindquarters.. and it is this second reason that allows for complete recovery once the horse has strengthened up the hind end.. but if due to ligament then you can improve it with hindqtr strength but never get rid of it..

anyway.. thanks again :-) .. evidently this horse is not chronic but it does come and go.. we will see..

so do i avoid picking out the hind feet i wonder????

Been There, Done That (Guest)
09-10-01, 02:10 PM
I had a shetland that locked both legs. It first appeared in 1 leg when he was a foal then dissappeared until he was a 2 y.o. with both legs locking. Upon talking to the vet he recommemded cutting the ligaments in both legs, which was quite a simple operation with only a inch incision made into the leg up near the flank. Within 2 minutes of them being cut the problem was solved. The pony has gone on to be broken to saddle as well as harness with no ill effects. This to me is the easiest and less cruel way of fixing the problem. It was terrible to look out into the paddock of a morning and see him in the same position he was in the night before, and everytime you had to back him to get them unlocked caused greater pain and distress. Hope this answers a few of your questions.