How do I know if my horse's feet are hurting? - Page 2
 
 

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How do I know if my horse's feet are hurting?

This is a discussion on How do I know if my horse's feet are hurting? within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category

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        08-05-2014, 02:44 PM
      #11
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by greenhaven    
    ...

    ...So I guess, in answer to your original question, signs your horse's feet are hurting could include (but are not limited to):

    -reluctance to move about on her own
    -unusual stance, like leaning back away from forefeet or constantly shifting weight from one foot to the other, or pointing one foot more often than the other while standing.
    -heat
    -swelling
    -response to a farrier's foot tester
    -"walking on eggshells" on very hard or rocky surfaces
    -reluctance to pick up feet for cleaning, especially if a horse has already been trained to do this properly.
    -shorter strides than normal
    -changes in gait with a rider on vs. no rider
    -abnormal changes in attitude, like "depression" or crankiness
    Thanks so much!! This is exactly what I was looking for. :)
         
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        08-05-2014, 02:46 PM
      #12
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corporal    
    Yes! Hand walk and hand trot her on a gravel drive. Some horses just have sensitive feet and my Vet taught me this many decades ago to detect a lameness, which will exaggerate on this surface. Your barn's driveway is probably gravel. Try to do this on hard gravel with big, golfball size gravel. Pea gravel is softening, and a lot like sand, and can get lodged in the sole of the hoof, so it isn't a good surface to use for this.
    Some horses with sensitivity just do better with "corrective" shoeing, and are best shod for 9 months of the year, giving them the chance to go barefoot for the coldest months of the year.
    When in hand, and when working on sand, she's fine. I've had her evaluated by not only my vet but also my instructor who always keeps an eye on her when we work and then after work. It was just during my trail ride that I wondered if I might be feeling a difference in her. I just don't have the experience to know what to "look" for or "feel" for when on a trail ride to see if she's hurting.
         
        08-05-2014, 03:15 PM
      #13
    Weanling
    Don't forget to check saddle fit if every else looks good. Do some research on how a saddle should fit and how it should be put on the horse. This is not a slam, you would be surprised how often saddle fit is to blame for problems, even when people think the saddle fits just fine.

    A saddle also behaves different with a rider in the seat than just sitting on the horse, so enlist a friend of this continues.
         
        08-05-2014, 03:19 PM
      #14
    Yearling
    I've already gone through that process. I agree, it's very important. :)
         
        08-05-2014, 03:47 PM
      #15
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by greenhaven    
    So I guess, in answer to your original question, signs your horse's feet are hurting could include (but are not limited to):

    -reluctance to move about on her own
    -unusual stance, like leaning back away from forefeet or constantly shifting weight from one foot to the other, or pointing one foot more often than the other while standing.
    -heat
    -swelling
    -response to a farrier's foot tester
    -"walking on eggshells" on very hard or rocky surfaces
    -reluctance to pick up feet for cleaning, especially if a horse has already been trained to do this properly.
    -shorter strides than normal
    -changes in gait with a rider on vs. no rider
    -abnormal changes in attitude, like "depression" or crankiness
    I'd like to add "change in gait going downhill" to this list. That's the only thing we noticed with my mare that had heel pain... well, that and a toe-first landing.
    ecasey and greenhaven like this.
         
        08-05-2014, 06:27 PM
      #16
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RedHorseRidge    
    well, that and a toe-first landing.
    Oh yeah, that is another good one.
         
        08-05-2014, 07:09 PM
      #17
    Showing
    The most obvious signs are usually a shortened stride and a feel like they are moving "stiffly" on rough footing, but transition back to their normal stride when they get onto grass or smooth ground. A toe first landing usually accompanies the shortened stride.

    Like others have said, it's much easier to tell once you sort of have a feel for how she strides out normally. A change in stride can often indicate not only pain, but fear as well. My drafty boy, the first sign that he sees something scary isn't pointed ears or a raised head. He starts walking really slow first, then he pricks his ears and raises his head as we get closer.
    ecasey likes this.
         
        08-05-2014, 07:23 PM
      #18
    Yearling
    Yeah, see, she was scared at some points during the ride too, so pretty much the whole time she felt different than she does at the stable in the arenas. But I would say her stride seemed shorter and choppier and she seemed to be looking where she stepped more at the end of the ride when I noticed that other stuff.

    I'll put boots on her next ride.
    smrobs likes this.
         
        08-05-2014, 11:33 PM
      #19
    Weanling
    Then there are horses that can play the lame game heading out on the trail. Turn them back home, and the transformation is unreal.

    I do feel some horses hide pain well. Some people do to.

    Just know how your horse travels normally day to day Then you will pick up on the days she is off.

    Doesn't have to be only hoof issues. Every now and again I'll go to tack up and my horse just seems blah, or off. I brush him hand walk/graze and then put him away for another day.

    You just get to know your horse.
    ecasey likes this.
         
        08-06-2014, 01:23 PM
      #20
    Foal
    If you ride her in the boots and she seems back to normal, she might just be sensitive to the asphalt and gravel you've started riding her on. Doesn't mean she can't ever do it, just means you have to slow down and let her feet get used to it. Not sure her living situation, but if you can put some gravel in her paddock (around the water tank, through a gate she has to go through, etc.) that she is forced to walk over everyday, that will also help condition her feet.
         

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