This is a case of a 10 year old thoroughbred gelding which presented to Towcester Equine Vets for poor performance issues (lack of impulsion, unwillingness to work in an outline, poor jumping technique).
The lameness/poor performance examination consists of the following steps:
Step 1: Physical examination.
The horses conformation is assessed for abnormalities and asymmetry.
This horse had a poorly muscled topline with a dipped back. The horse was very sensitive to palpation of his back and pelvis.
Step 2: Trot up in hand.
The horse is assessed at walk and trot in a straight line.
A mild right hindlimb lameness was seen on a firm surface in a straight line.
Step 3: Flexion tests.
Flexion tests are performed on all four limbs. They are tools that help us further localise site(s) of pain. This horse was positive to both hindlimb flexion tests.
Step 3: Evaluate on lunge on soft and firm surfaces.
The horse is assessed on the lunge on a firm and soft surface. Certain conditions are more obvious depending on the surface.
This horse was bilaterally lame behind. The lameness was worse on a firm surface. In canter on a soft surface there was poor separation of the hindlimbs. The canter lacked forward impulsion.
Step 4: Ridden evaluation.
In poor performance cases we usually request to see the horse ridden. Under tack this horse lacked impulsion and was reluctant to accept the contact and work in an outline. In canter the horse appeared uncomfortable and tended to come above the bit and resist contact.