• Lameness

    31/08/2016

    This can be described as a change in the gait a horse adopts when moving and trying to minimise his discomfort.

    It can be hard to notice lameness, but in some cases it comes on suddenly and very noticeably, or it can come on very slowly over a period of time which makes it difficult to identify. A change in the horse’s behaviour can also be a sign of lameness.

    The signs of lameness can be very varied. Sometimes the horse can have increased movement of the head when working to demonstrate his discomfort.

    The other signs to watch out for are:-

    • He may move noticeably better on one rein than another and in addition divert his head towards the outside of the circle when lunged.
    • A loss of impulsion is often the first sign of a hind limb lameness developing as is a tendency to avoid the correct canter lead.
    • The rider may feel a different way of going on one trotting diagonal as opposed to the other, indicating the horse is unlevel.
    • Difficulty holding a straight line on approach to a fence.
    • Knocking down show jumps that would normally have been cleared with ease and often choosing to include an extra stride on approaching the fence so that he takes off too close to the jump.
    • Always landing on one particular canter lead.
    • Shoes wearing unevenly.
    • Dragging of one or both toes of the hind limbs.
    • Sore back and resistance on being mounted known as cold back, often thought to be a back problem but frequently the back pain is due to compensatory changes as a result of a limb-originated lameness.

    If you are unsure about lameness call the vet.