How Horses Compensate With Limbs For Pain

During the annual American Association of Equine Practitioners meeting in early December in Seattle, Wash., Michael Weishaupt explained how horses dealing with pain redistribute the load between forelimbs and hindlimbs without causing an overload situation. Yet the equine veterinarian at the University of Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland, says higher work speeds that lead to higher stride frequencies, shorter stance and reduced swing duration can actually limit the possibility for limb redistribution.

“As a result, compensatory overload in the other limbs can’t be ruled out,” he says. “In more severe lameness conditions, the horses will be forced to change to another compensation mechanism entirely, reducing the stance duration of the affected limb. This will obviously disturb the continuous cadence of the gait and may induce compensatory overload in the diagonal and contralateral limbs.”

Now, Tell Me The Bad News!

Jeff Pauley says he gets a lot out of attending farrier clinics and conferences, but learns even more if he can get the clinician one-on-one. If he does get that chance, he takes a unusual approach. “I’ll ask them to tell me about their disasters,” says the farrier from Burnsville, N.C. “I want to know how they handled it when something really went wrong.” Pauley admits that sometimes a clinician is taken aback a bit by this approach, but he says once that passes, he’s found most of them will open up and share very valuable information. “You can learn a lot from mistakes,” he…

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