Signs of multi-limb lameness in horses


Deciphering multi-limb lameness can be highly complex, while trying to make an insurance claim may be even more so. So what are the signs?

If both forelimbs are affected…

…the horse may not move as freely as he did previously and he may feel restricted in the shoulders.

Look out for:

  • A dressage horse may feel perfectly normal in working and collected gaits, but may lose the quality of his extended paces
  • A showjumper may put in short strides on the approach to a fence, or stop uncharacteristically. He may find distances in combination fences harder to get
  • An eventer may be reluctant to jump drop fences

    If both hindlimbs are affected…

    …the horse will lose his hindlimb engagement and impulsion, falling onto his forehand. He may hold his back stiffly and be unwilling to work properly on the bit.

    Look out for:

  • A dressage horse may suddenly become resistant and there may be some hindlimb unlevelness in medium and extended trot. When asked to push more from behind, he may prefer to break into canter
  • A showjumper or eventer may lose power and find difficulty negotiating spread fences

    To read the full veterinary article about multi-limb lameness see the current issue of H&H (20 September 2012)

    Read more about lameness

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