When a horse suffers from a weak hind end, strength and co-ordination are compromised. Depending on which rear leg is most affected, the horse will shift weight to the opposite diagonal front leg in order to maintain balance, as it takes a minimum of three points on a plane to be stable. Think of a table or chair with one leg shorter than the rest. You can rock the table from one diagonal leg to the next, and three legs will always be on the ground. Just the same, horses with a weak hind leg will compensate by shifting more weight onto the opposite front leg - thereby stressing that front leg far more than usual. This front leg will often show lameness or tendon problems and often that hoof will be a flatter slew-like hoof and the other front hoof will be more erect and clubby.
Racing, jumping, eventing and dressage requires a lot of work off the hind end. Weakness in the hind compromises performance and can also be dangerous to the rider if the horse goes down.
We have found, in the case of excessive intestinal permeability/leaky gut syndrome, the hind leg most often first affected is the right rear. The cecum lies on the right side, and it has the thinnest walls of the digestive tract; so, it is more susceptible to first breaks in the intestinal wall. If the problem is not corrected (with a feed improvement, cleaner water and/or elimination of chemical exposures) the condition will progress to both hind legs over time.
A horse may stomp its hind legs as they hit the ground while simply walking down the aisle, trying to feel the ground, as the condition actually causes a type of numbness rather than pain. You can hear the difference in footfalls as they walk down a cement aisle - and it can appear the horse has a hard time sensing where the ground is in relationship to its hoof.
If a condition involving a weak hind end is allowed to progress, a horse can develop stringhalt or hiking of one or both hind legs. This is shown to be best corrected in combination with our Nutrient Buffer® HG and Equine Plus® Feed protocol.
It does not have to be the end of the world when you see neurological symptoms in the hind end.