Like human athletes, the pounding and twisting that horses’ joints are subjected to, regardless of the type of activity they are doing, can leave them vulnerable to injury.
Joint injuries in competition horses are common. Different disciplines inflict varying stresses and strains on the horse’s vital hinges that give him the ability to gallop flat out, jump six foot and piaffe as if on air.
What problems are different horses prone to?
Racehorses are particularly prone to fetlock and knee injuries because of the
high-speed training they do on immature skeletons.
- Eventers are more at risk from sustaining traumatic injuries as a result of hitting fences – a fractured pedal bone or a chipped patella (in the front of the stifle) – for example.
- Dressage horses’ fetlock joints are put under enormous strain, especially in collected work.
- A showjumper’s coffin joints also have to tolerate substantial forces being put upon them.
- Even horses that don’t compete are not exempt from joint problems – arthritis of the hocks (bone spavin) is a common issue in older horses.
Read more about joint problems
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