Too Much Work at Too Young of an Age is Major Lameness Issue

While there are a number of causes of lameness. California equine veterinarian Robert Miller maintains more than half of them are preventable. And he believes a major concern is training and working horses when they are too young.

Miller starts this interesting 93-minute DVD by listing 11 causes of equine lameness:

  1. Age at which a horse’s body just starts to wear out.
  2. Defective conformation, especially with the legs.
  3. Poor nutrition, mostly calories and a mineral imbalance, in growing foals.
  4. Lack of needed exercise due to confining foals.
  5. Injury to foals, and why owners need to give them as large a space as possible.
  6. Inappropriate ground surfaces, whether too hard, soft or deep.
  7. Improper footcare.
  8. Laminitis, with a discussion of its many causes and what can be done to prevent it.
  9. Infections from wounds or hoof abscesses.
  10. Genetic predisposition to lameness even with good conformation and why some bloodlines are more prone to navicular problems than others.
  11. Too much work by a horse at too young of an age.

A veterinarian since 1956, Miller is best known for his imprint training techniques that are used with young foals. He points out that reason # 11 is more important than all the others when it comes to the most frequent cause of lameness and that more than half of these situations are preventable.

Evaluation Is Critical

The section on determining which leg is lame is very thorough. As horseshoers, this is an item on which we probably don’t get enough information. He…

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