Your horse is limping and looks to be lame. The signals might be subtle. You're not sure which leg to inspect more closely for a potential problem because there's no noticeable swelling, no warm region, no cuts or other visible injuries. However, you must choose which leg to cure or which foot to inspect. Here's how to identify whether your horse's front or hind leg is lame.
How to Tell If Your Horse Is Sore in a Foreleg or Hind Leg
First and foremost, keep an eye on the horse while it stands motionless. If it is limping and clearly resting, but avoids putting weight on one leg, it is most likely the damaged limb. It may stand with its foot tipped up on the toe, or it may stand with its pointing ahead of its typical standing stance. It's termed pointing when the horse stands with one forward. This might be a sign of a condition or lameness farther up the leg. A horse will occasionally try to point with both hooves. This indicates that both are problematic. Horses with founder or navicular syndrome will point, and they may point more than one foot at a time, and they may look to be in pain.
Identifying Forequarter Lameness
Keep an eye on the horse when it is ridden on a slack or trotted in a straight line in hand on a loose on hard, flat ground. The horse will lower its head if one of its front legs is lame. The lameness is in the hindquarters or rear legs if the horse's hip snaps slightly upward. There may be no head bob if a horse is clearly lame on both front and back legs. Their strides will almost certainly be choppy and brief.
When a horse is lame in the forequarters, you may tell which leg is lame by paying attention to when the horse's head rises and which leg lands first. As the sound leg strikes the ground, the horse's head will fall downward, then elevate as the hurting foot or leg strikes the ground.
Identifying Hindquarter Lameness
If the lameness is in the hindquarters, the horse will gently lower the hip on the lame side. with both hindquarter stiffness will have stilted gaits and may not be able to bob their heads. The horse's head bob suggests that it is seeking to shift its weight away from its leg.
Start with the hooves and work your way up while looking for the injury location. A horse might become lame due to stone bruises, painful soles after a trim, and injury or tension anywhere up the leg. A horse might get lame because to minor punctures or even an extensive disease of thrush in the hoof. Tendon or ligament tension farther up the leg might produce minor lameness. Lameness can be caused by bone chips in the joints, arthritis, and a variety of other issues.
Causes of Lameness
Stone bruises on the sole of the foot, mild puffiness or edema anywhere on the leg, or sensitive places that cause the horse flinch when palpated can all be found under detailed investigation. Swelling, heated regions on the skin, or a visible mark or wound where the horse may have harmed itself are all signs of damage. Any form of injury sustained while working, in the pasture, or in the stall might result in lameness. Inadequate food, poor farrier care, or microbiological illnesses like thrush and can all cause hoof issues.