Gracie's Stifle Story

Equine Stifle Problems and Blistering


Good Morning! Did you remember to change your clocks this weekend?

I can’t believe it’s about to be winter. Although for some I guess they are already feeling like it is. This summer was so nice, I’m really going to miss it. I enjoyed the cooler summer weather and being able to ride all day and not sweat to death. I hope that we’ll have another mild summer next year.

But anyway. It’s been quite some time since I last wrote about Gracie and some new discoveries have come about. For those of you not familiar with Gracie’s story, here are quick links to previous posts:


Long story short, last year about this time, I came home to find Gracie acting very weird in the pasture. Still to this day I have no idea what happened to her but she ended up having major problems with her right stifle locking. After seeing different vets and getting different opinion, I ended up having 2 Equine Chiropractors come out. The first few visits seemed to help but she never was 100% so I tried a different Chiro. The second Chiro found a lot of problems the first one didn’t find and Gracie seemed to get a lot better. For a while, I thought she had made a complete recovery but then a few weeks ago, out of the blue she started showing problems with her stifle again. At this point, the Chiro and I were starting to think there was more wrong then what we could see because she was constantly needing to be readjusted plus we felt she shouldn’t still have problems with her stifle.

So at this point, I decided it was time to find a doctor that specialized in this type of lameness and see what could be done and what her chances of barrel racing were going to be. While researching equine rehab centers, I found an equine sports med vet about an hour from me and gave them a call to talk to them about her problems and see if it was something they could help with. As luck would have it, Dr. Hassinger has seen many cases of horses with this type of problem and has had a 95% success rate getting it fixed.

This past sat. was Gracie visit with Dr. Hassinger and let me say I am impressed and very hopeful that she’ll have a great career running barrels. First off, his facility is the nicest place I’ve been to yet. He operates his clinic and rehab out of his barn and the place was top of the line and very clean. The visit started out with him doing a lameness exam and right away he could tell what was wrong with her. Gracie’s problem was a very loose ligament around the patella. His recommended treatment for this was blistering her stifle and keeping her in work.

If you research blistering stifles you’ll find that the most common method is using iodine. Dr. Hassinger doesn’t prefer that method and instead opts to use Amikacin. Amikacin is basically an antibiotic that will irritate the problem area and cause it to tighten up. In Gracie’s case, he had to inject a few different places because her stifle area was so loose. Along with doing this, I’m also going to be giving her Estrone injections for the next few weeks and working her everyday which should also help to tighten the ligaments. He plans to recheck her in December to see how she’s coming along and if another treatment is necessary. Her prognosis is great though. He expects her to make a full recovery and not be limited in any way. He is 95% certain she can continue to have a barrel racing career and not have any more probs, as long as she stays in constant work. He said the biggest thing about horses with this type of problem is that they need be ridden consistently. Another thing I learned from the visit was – her hip constant being out of place wasn’t an issue on its own, it actually is a symptom of stifle problems. He said he often sees horses with stifle problems have problems with their hips because they are trying to protect the problem leg and move different from how they should.

It’s now been two days since she had the procedure done and she is doing well. I can tell she is a little sore but not so bad she can’t walk around. For the most part she acts like her normal self and nothing seems to bother her. There are no visible signs externally that anything was done and she hasn’t had any extra swelling or complications. Fingers crossed everything heals the way we want it to and we are able to start running barrels next spring.

I want to take a quick poll now. I’ve spent hours and hours doing research on stifle problems in horses and treatments. I’ve found lots of great information about what to do and read about lots of people who have done the blistering but I can’t find many after stories. I feel like there have to be more people like me that want to know how the horses that have had it done are doing afterwards and for that reason I thought I would continue to post updates on Gracie. Here’s what I would like to know from you though:


  1. Are you interested in reading how her recovery is going and what I’m doing with her? Let me know Yes or No in the comments below.
  2. If you are, then how often and how detailed do you want me to post about it? Do you want to know everything I do on a daily basis or quick weekly updates?


I really would love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts. Even if you don’t care one way or the other, just drop me a quick hello. 😉  If you’ve had a horse that needed his/her stifles blistered, I’d love to hear how it went and if your horse was able to continue in it’s career.

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  • Reply
    November 4, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I am glad to hear the vet thinks Gracie will make a full recovery! Please keep us updated. I would love to hear what you are doing,

  • Reply
    November 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Yes, please tell us about Gracie. Weekly updates sound good, I’ve actually never known a horse that has had needed this much work done on their stifles. Thank goodness Gracie has a patient mom like you!
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  • Reply
    November 6, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Great news on Gracie’s progress!

  • Reply
    November 6, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I would like to read updates on Gracie as I have a fellow border whose horse has had stifle problems so I’m interested in how this works for her. I’m not sure my friend’s horse has the same issue but learning about this stuff can’t make us any dumber.

  • Reply
    Post Stifle Blistering - Week 1 update on Gracie
    November 12, 2013 at 9:10 am

    […] « Equine Stifle Problems and Blistering […]

  • Reply
    Life Just Happens But Change is Coming
    June 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    […] do have good news about Gracie! Her stile problems are gone and she is doing great! Leading up to January of this year, I was having to have a chiro […]

  • Reply
    Kim Perdue
    March 15, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    I would like to know how your mare is doing now with the stifle issue, I have a mare that has had each stifle completely lock up, yesterday and today, vet recommend “cutting the ligament”.

    • Reply
      NC Cowgirl
      March 16, 2016 at 9:00 am

      Hi Kim,

      Gracie is doing really well now. It definitely has been a long road though. My vet did not recommend cutting the ligament due to the risk of it not healing right. We did blister it one time and that did help. She still has problems every now and again but I’ve found that a visit from the Chiro helps that. For a while I actually was having the chiro come once a month to make sure she healed properly and nothing got out of alignment. Now the chiro comes as needed which ends up around 2 times a year. As long as I keep Gracie in work she doesn’t have any problems with her stifle. It’s when she just is out to pasture for a while that she does. If you have any other specific questions let me know! Feel free to reach out to me by email too. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 10, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Were u having problems in ur runs? I have a mare that seems to b bucking around the barrel even tho she isnt. Vet said locking stifle and supposed to blister next week.

    • Reply
      NC Cowgirl
      February 14, 2017 at 7:21 am

      I haven’t been able to run Gracie yet. I’m hoping to start this year but I actually gave her a couple years off and had the chiro come out every few months to keep her body straight as she was still growing.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Hi there! So glad Gracie is doing so well. I’ll have to research… horse is 24yrs old now and on trail rides he kinda buckles on his back leg. They vet said this can be common in older horses. She will be coming out soon for spring shots and I will keep all of what you shared and see what she thinks when it comes to my horse and being older. Thank you for all your interesting and perhaps VERY helpful for me and my horse, Maverick!

  • Reply
    Bruce Whitford
    July 25, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    I’m very interested to hear how your horse turn out because i had my rope horse blistered this morning in his stifle, please let me know how it turned out did it stay good or n0 change what so ever

  • Reply
    Sue Miller
    November 26, 2021 at 11:34 am

    How long did it take to see permanent results?

    • Reply
      NC Cowgirl
      November 26, 2021 at 2:24 pm

      I would say a few years. It wasn’t quick but in the end it has been worth it.

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