Hello Horse Moms,
I wanted to share with all of you a recent problem I had with my horse Penny during training.
Every time she runs, sometimes every time she moves her Joints Click… And they CLICK LOUD!
I’m hoping this post will provide other horse moms with the facts concerning this issue and the solutions to help this weird and quite frankly frightening clicking noise I keep hearing.
Sometimes when she’s in the round pen it’s so loud you can hear it across the arena. 🙁
So let me start by giving you some background info about my horse Penny.
Penny is half Rocky mountain and half American Belgian draft. She’s a big girl with a thick neck and big butt.
She’s six years old but can act like a two year old when she doesn’t get her way.
Not mean spirited but curious…my natural horsemanship trainer Kevin Clark says she is a pushy extrovert. Meaning she always wants to know whats going on and if you don’t keep her busy she’s going to do what she wants to do.
Kevin says that is a good personality in horse…it makes it easier to train a horse like her because they are always looking for the next thing to do.
She’s been in training since March and doing well. (Progressing a lot faster than me so I’m trying to catch up to her right now.)
I’m slower because of an injury to my hamstring that required surgery this past October. Yes it was PENNY related)
The injury was due to me working with Penny and my confidence has been non existent so Kevin started training her while I watched. It took a couple of months before I was ready to get in the ring with her again but with Kevin Clarke’s help I have accomplished that goal and hope to be riding again soon.
This past week during training Penny has been having a clicking noise coming from her body. Kevin was the first to notice the noise and tried to pinpoint it by examining her and moving her in different directions to try to find where the clicking was coming from. He felt strongly that it was coming from her front end.
He said she wasn’t lame
and she showed no other physical problems
So being a passionate horse mom I immediately went on the internet to find out as much as possible about clicking joints in horses. I read many different posts discussing:
- what the clicking noise meant
- what the possible causes are and
- how to help it
There were many different answers and solutions on forums concerning clicking joints. This also held true with vets because they had varying opinions too.
The most information I found about clicking joints was surprising not in equine articles but in human articles.
The information I found helpful to help my horse Penny is next:
Is cracking and popping of joints normal?
It is usually normal and most of the time nothing to be too concerned about. The exact reason joints pop or crack is not entirely understood. A few theories as to why the clicking happens is:
- by bony parts of a joint rubbing against each other
- a tendon snapping over or around a joint
- or a ligament getting tight rapidly when the joint is moving and clicking back into place
- One more theory is that nitrogen bubbles in the joint fluid are rapidly brought into or out of solution when the joint is manipulated.
What causes these clicking noises?
It can be related to immaturity, lack of conditioning, sometimes size or arthritic changes in the joint in older or high performance horses.
Do these noises need to be treated?
The recommendation of vets are:
“if there is no cartilage damage, lameness or inflammation, it is recommended to give your horse lots of turnout, conditioning and steady regular work. Any lameness should be checked out, but the noises themselves almost never correlate with injury. Most horses grow out of it, but many continue to click their entire lives.”
I didn’t read that too many vets were recommending joint supplements to help with this problem. But when I went on forums there was a lot of recommendations for different joint supplements.
When should you worry about the clicking and popping of a joint?
Doctors and vets agreed that the time to worry is if there is pain, swelling, lameness and lack of function of the joint.
So now that I found all this information concerning clicking joints in horses from vets and doctors….
I now have to decide what I should if anything to help my horse Penny. So I decided to be proactive to keep her healthy and well. I have a good starting place because I know she doesn’t have any swelling, pain or lameness going on after Kevin did a thorough job examining all four legs from the hoof to the shoulder and hip.
So my plan is too to give her joints extra support by giving her an organic plant supplement that is loaded with silicon to help keep her joints lubricated and working freely and use boots in the front for support when exercising and riding her.
I keyed in on the nutrient silicon because of the studies that have done promoting its benefits to keeping joints healthy.
Silicon can be found in many different substances but not all silicon can be utilized and absorbed readily in the digestive system of animals. What they found was that organosilicates a biologically form of silicon could be absorbed and utilized as essential constituents of connective tissue.
This would contribute to the integrity and stability of the aerial wall. This is the type of silicon I decided to give Penny.
In the research it named different natural sources of this type of silicon one being alfalfa having more silicon than chondroitin-4-sulphate. Alfalfa had 12,740 p.p.m. of dry weight and chondroitin-4-sulphate had 1,115 p.p.m. of dry weight. So I decided to use alfalfa as the ingredient to supply Penny with the natural silicon to help her joints.
The next thing I had to do was find out how much she needed per day to be helpful.
I looked in the National Research Councils Nutrient Requirements of horses 2007 guidelines and independent studies done with horses and the amount I could find was 150 mg a day. But I also knew of a supplement company that uses a liquid silicon just for bones and joints and they recommended 375 mg to 750 mg a day of silicon.
So I’m going to start on the high side and give Penny 750 mg a day using organic alfalfa powder to start and see if it helps the clicking. That means I would give her 59.5 g of organic alfalfa powder to get 755.65 mg of silicon.
I’ll post update next week to let you all know if it has helped yet at her next training session.
If you want to add any info or ask question please jump right in, I would be glad to hear from you.
Horse Mom Mary