I have a limping horse! Please help!
I am new to the horse world as I have only owned horses and have only been riding for 2 years. I have a 16 yr old gelding who when I bought him was in great health besides being a little on the thin side. We got him and within months he was filled out nicely. He had shoes on all 4 feet at the time but since we weren't going to be riding him as often as his old owner did we took off his back shoes and let him harden up. We never had a problem with that and his back feet were nice and hard within weeks. We then decided to take off his front shoes since he did so well with his back feet and because barefoot is healthier and better for the horse. He was a bit tenderfooted in the beginning but in about 3 months he was fine. No limping whatsoever. This was about 2 months ago. Now all of a sudden he is limping pretty badly on his front right leg. He doesn't limp at a walk but as soon as you try to trot he starts limping pretty badly. I have a friend who keeps telling me it is just his feet and that they are sore. We live in the desert and it hasn't rained in months so his feet are super hard. I don't think it is his feet because he went for 2 months rididng just fine after we took his front shoes off. Why would they all of a sudden start hurting him? About 6 months ago he banged his leg on his metal feeder and had a slight limp for a few days but that too went away. I have felt all up and down his leg and he doesn't flinch or anything and it isn't swollen. HELP!!!!! I just want him to get better but I haven't the slightest idea what could be wrong with him. I am going to call the vet out in a few weeks to check up on my mare who has mild laminitis so I will have him look at my gelding too but until then I would like to try and do what I can to fix this problem. Any ideas as to what could be wrong or how I could find out what is wrong? My friend say to put front shoes on him and if he stops limping then I will know it is his feet and if he doesn't stop limping then I will know it is his leg. That is fine but we have went all this time hardening up his feet and getting him to be barefoot and I really don't want to go and put shoes on him just to diagnose him. Any other ideas???
Check the leg with the limp for heat and take his pulse on that leg - is it faster than on a normal leg?
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Well, has the ground gotten harder? or has there been rain that would soften his hoof? Is there any heat in his foot or the bottom of his hoof?
When is he due for trimming? that farrier can hoof test for abcess, though if he is sound at walking, then this is unlikely.
We live in SE AZ and it hasn't rained here in ove a month. The ground is the same as always and his feet look beautiful. He is due for a trim in another week or so. He was just trimmed 5 or 6 weeks ago and here in the desert when there is no rain their feet don't grow as fast as somewhere that there is a lot of moisture. That is why I thought that it was his leg and not his hoof but like I said, I am a newby to horses so I don't have much to go on. How do you take their pulse in the leg? Thank you for all of your replies!
1.) If he is lame and you cannot figure out why, then you need the vet out sooner than later. A horse off on one front foot can cause the other front foot to founder and then you have real trouble.
2.) It could be an abscess.
3.) It could be a stone bruise.
4.) It could be a tendon or even something more involved.
Is there any swelling in the leg? Look at the sound leg and compare it to the unsound leg.. can you see any difference (swelling and so forth)?
Have you thought about riding him in easy boots or renegades....ole macs....or some sort of hoof boots?
That's what I do.....keep two of the three horses barefooted and ride them in boots. Our third horse has soft hoofs and we've kept him in shoes. The plan is to get him barefooted this winter and in boots in the spring. We'll see.
Is there any heat or swelling in that leg?
Do you feel any heat in that hoof compared to the other?
Once the front shoes were removed did he every go sound or was he ouchie from day one?
Was he fine one day and off the next or was it a gradual soreness?
Does he limp more on a sharp turn or smaller circle then in a straight line?
If you look at the back of the front hoofs, do they look the same? Is one any different than the other?
Have you taken his temperature?
What breed is the horse?
That's all my questions for now...
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