Alternative answers to filled legs


Filled legs are caused when the water balance between the circulatory system and the tissue becomes upset. They are often brought on by too much protein in the feed and too little exercise, which upsets the balance between protein and blood salt.

Some people notice their horse’s legs fill more when they are fed haylage. This may be because haylage has a higher protein value than hay.

The filling is particularly noticeable in the lower legs where gravity creates more pressure in the blood vessels. It normally reduces with exercise, so turning the horse out as much as possible is likely to help.

Acupuncture can stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic system, as will massage, especially if combined with a massage oil or gel containing stimulating essentialoils such as rosemary, peppermint, spearmint, ginger or marjoram.

Alternatively, one or a combination of these oils in a gel base can be rubbed directly into the lower legs.

Feeding a combination of herbs, such as cleavers for thelymphatic and glandular system, and marigold which aids healing, can be effective. Also, witch hazel is an excellent astringent.

Magnetic boots work amazingly well on some horses but not others, for no apparent reason. The theory is that the magnets open up blood vessels and improve circulation.

Homeopathically, try Apis for horses that like the cold and Apocynum for horses which prefer warmth.

For traditional, alternative and practical advice on avoiding winter problems including COPD, mud fever, rain scald and lice, see the February issue of HORSE magazine, available in your newsagents NOW.

Click here to subscribe to HORSE magazine at a reduced rate and receive your copy through your door every month.