Lameness in horses is well recognised, but interpreted differently by different people. It describes the horse’s gait being adversely affected by pain or a restriction in the normal range of movement and should never be ignored. This pain or restriction can originate in the hoof, in the leg or elsewhere in the horse’s body, such as the back or neck.
Lameness can range from a subtle change in gait, which is often missed by the untrained eye, to the horse being unable to carry any weight on the affected limb.
Lameness has been identified as the most common reason for older horses to be put down¹.
Causes of lameness in horses
Causes of lameness in horses are wide ranging and include, but are not limited to, the following conditions: