Trotting your horse up for the vet for a lameness assessment can be an anxious time, so we asked Fizz Marshall, H&H blogger and manager of the Equine Therapy Centre at Hartpury College, to share her top tips for getting it right.
Standing the horse up
“First of all you want to get the horse nice and square,” says Fizz. “This is so that the vet can walk around the horse and look at it from every angle, looking for asymmetries or any difference in muscles or posture.
Walking the horse
“Next we move onto walking the horse up and down. You want to make sure you walk the horse away as straight as you can, keeping a nice even rhythm and allowing the horse to have its head so that the vet can see any abnormalities with the way it’s walking or moving,” says Fizz.
“When you come to turn the horse you should always turn the horse away from yourself. This is a safety thing apart from anything else.
“The trick is to pull the horse slightly towards you, swing it out and then turn it around. You then end up walking back in the same line that you started.
“Then when you’re walking back towards the vet you want to keep yourself really nice and straight and aim for your target.”
Trot up the horse
“The same applies to the trot-up,” explains Fizz. “You need to keep a really nice, even pace and not go too fast when you’re trotting.
“If you go too fast the vet won’t be able to see enough and actually they’ll probably just tell you to slow down.
“Again, give the horse its head so that you can see any head nods or tilts or anything that might give clues to how the horse is moving.
“When you come back up towards the vet, don’t run them over! Lots of vets will actually want to see the transition from trot back to walk, so make that very obvious.”